When Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey log their first NBA minutes this fall that will give Bill Self 16 players that he recruited while at Kansas that have played in the NBA. After years of producing NBA lottery talent, eight to be exact, while in Lawrence, could Self be another Jayhawk ready to make the jump to the NBA?
Maybe not now, but on Monday after being inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, Self didn’t rule out the possibility of coaching in the association.
“It hasn’t really tempted me because I haven’t had that many people talk to me about it,” Self told Michael Baldwin of The Oklahoman on Monday night. “But at some point and time, sure, I think it would (tempt me). It would be great to be able to match wits with the best athletes in the world, but I’m certainly happy where I’m at.
“I’m not saying I never would (coach in the NBA) but I’m locked in.”
By locked in Self, 50, literally means locked in. He signed a contract extension to stay in Kansas through the 2021-2022 season. The new deal bumps his annual pay up to $3.856 million a year, and he has added bonuses if he stays with the Jayhawks through particular seasons. Match that with the success he’s had in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail it will be tough for an NBA franchise to uproot him from KU.
“Yeah (the money is good), but the biggest thing is you will never be happy as a coach unless you know you can attract good players,” Self told Baldwin. “I’m fortunate to coach at a place where the product is so good we’re always going to get, at least I hope so, some pretty good players.
“I love it at Kansas, and they love basketball there. I’ve been very fortunate to coach at such a tradition-rich place.”
It’s no secret that many college coaches have struggled in the pro game. Self holds one of the premier coaching positions in college sports. A place where he is averaging 30 wins a season through his first 10 years, and has made two trips to the Final Four, winning a national title in 2008.
Sure he says he’ll never rule out an NBA head coaching job, but it seems like a long shot.