Bill Self’s had a run at Kansas few coaches can imagine. Seven straight Big 12 titles, never missed an NCAA tournament and a title in 2008. The last two seasons, his Jayhawks have gone 68-6 and been among the game’s most efficient offenses and defenses.
Yet it’s never enough. Winning, that is. It’s a never-ending job at Kansas.
Take this season. Self loses at least six significant players from his roster for the second time in four years. So he’s spent nearly the last two months recruiting like mad, and with some success. Braeden Anderson, Jamari Traylor and Ben McLemore all signed with Kansas recently, and star win DeAndre Daniels also might be in Lawrence next season.
That’s made recruiting by far the hottest topic whenever Self runs into Kansas fans around town, wich is often. That begs the question: Does he ever long for days when he can stop recruiting and just coach?
Like in the NBA?
“I don’t know,” Self said, asked if he thinks he’ll ever coach in the pros. “I wouldn’t think so, but I learned through past experiences never to say never. I’m not interested in that right now at all. I’m a college guy. I think my job at Kansas is better than some of the jobs in the NBA. I love it here. I can’t envision me being anywhere else right now. I am not interested in any other job. There’s not many places like this.”
Self — he said he really likes new athletic director Sheahon Zenger — ”I think he’s going to be great” — right now is focusing on adding another piece in recruiting then try for league title No. 8 in a row.
“I am real excited about the challenge of next year, trying to figure out a way to lose seven guys and not take a step backward at all. That’s my challenge right now that I’m going to enjoy.”
It’s a familiar challenge. Self did the same back in 2008-09 and ended up as the national coach of the year when the Jayhawks finished 27-8, won the Big 12 and reached the Sweet 16.
That kind of finish in 2012 isn’t out of reach. Kansas will have enough talent and experience and certain positions to be among the nation’s top 15 teams. And as long as it’s a team he likes and enjoys coaching, it’ll be a gratifying year for Self (though he is smart enough to say he’ll never rule out taking another job).
Sounds like more than enough reason to stay put.
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