With head coach Mike Krzyzewski and assistant Jim Boeheim ready to move on from international duty at the conclusion of the London Olympics, the question of who takes over as head coach hangs over USA Basketball.
While it isn’t a nagging issue for USA Basketball it is an important one, as the job requires not only the ability to handle a clipboard but to also mesh together the many high-profile personalities.
Some names that have come up include Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Greg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs.
But Sean Keeler of Fox Sports Kansas City makes a good case for another option: Kansas head coach Bill Self.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo’s name is getting a lot of traction for 2016 and beyond; so is San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, Louisville’s Rick Pitino and Kentucky’s John Calipari.
But Self’s name, curiously, not so much — which is strange, especially after the past six months. Gettys played on those great Phi Slama Jama teams at the University of Houston in the early ’80s and has been covering Big 12 basketball since the league was formed. He says he’s never seen a coach turn a patchwork into a masterpiece the way Self did with the 2011-12 Jayhawks.
“What he has done, historically, is Hall-of-Fame worthy,” Gettys continues. “What he did this year (is) absolutely off the charts. I’ve watched hundreds of practices, I’ve never seen a team with a better understanding of what it is they’re trying to do.”
Self definitely would be an interesting name to consider, and a look at his overall resume shows that he is a name to be considered for 2016 (and presumably the 2014 world championships before that).
In 19 seasons as a head coach Self has won 75.1% of his games, and that figure includes a 55-54 mark at Oral Roberts in his first four seasons as a head coach.
At Kansas Self has won 83.5% of his games and a national title, and as mentioned above his work with the 2011-12 Jayhawks was nothing short of remarkable.
Whether or not that would be enough to get USA Basketball to offer he job remains to be seen, but there’s little doubt that he should be on the list.