Tyler Self snags opportunity with the San Antonio Spurs

Kansas guard Tyler Self (20) smiles as he listens to his dad talk about him during the Senior Night speeches following the JayhawksÕ 73-63, comeback win over Oklahoma.

Tyler Self is headed to the NBA.

But unlike his former Kansas teammates, Josh Jackson and Frank Mason III, who will be donning the jerseys of their new teams, Tyler Self will be wearing a suit and tie.

This spring, in the weeks that followed the end of Tyler’s five-year playing career at Kansas, the son of Kansas coach Bill Self learned that an opportunity to work for the San Antonio Spurs was available and, without hesitation, he jumped on it.

Officially, Tyler signed a one-year deal to be a Basketball Operations Quality Assurance Assistant with the Spurs. His first day is set for Aug. 14 and it won’t be until he gets down there in early August that he’ll know exactly what the day-to-day duties of the job include.

One thing he already knows, however, is that the NBA is the place for him.

“I don’t really know when I thought I wanted to get into the NBA and I’m not sure what made me make that decision,” he recently told the Journal-World. “It’s something different and gives me an opportunity to get out and make my own way a little bit and get out from under my dad’s name somewhat.”

Fully aware of his desire to join the highest level of the game, Tyler visited the organization for Game 2 of the Spurs’ playoff series with Memphis in May.

“I went down and got to check out the organization and meet a bunch of people and it just seemed like an amazing organization that I’d love to work for,” Tyler said. “And it’s all kind of fallen together from there.”

With his specific role with the team still to be discovered, Tyler said he thought his five years on the bench at KU have positioned him well to handle whatever it is the Spurs ask him to do. If he gets to work with the players on the court, that’s something that will come naturally to him. If it’s more front-office type stuff off the court, that’s something he’s eager to learn. Either way, he believes the experiences of the last five years will aid him in whatever situations arise.

“I do think my time at Kansas will definitely help me in working with the guys, whether that’s on the court or away from the court,” Tyler said. “Just being around the game and being around the great minds that my coaches have has taught me so much.”

Having close ties to Spurs general manager R.C. Buford, who worked with Self at Kansas and whose son, Chase, was a walk-on at KU from 2007-10, Tyler’s father said he was thrilled to see his son land such a sweet gig after graduating.

“Landen (Lucas) and Frank are going to continue to play professionally, which is awesome,” said Self of the two other members of his son’s senior class. “And Tyler has an opportunity to stay in the business and work with an organization that’s as good as there is in professional sports. I know he’s excited to go down there and work with those guys.”

As for whether this could be the first step on a path that one day leads to coaching, the father-son duo have slightly different perspectives on that at the moment.

“That would be so far down the line that I haven’t even thought about it and it’s a little far-fetched to think about right now,” Tyler said. “But you never know what can happen.”

Added his dad: “I think he’s got the bug.”

Still working on his KU Masters degree in Business Administration — he’ll finish that about the same time he finishes with the Spurs — Tyler said the last month or so was spent working camps and preparing for the big move.

“I’m not gonna be picky about what I want to do or what they ask me to do, but coming into it I definitely think that more management stuff is something I want to do long term,” he said. “But I also would have no problem being on the court more and interacting with players, too. I kind of feel like that’s something I know better as of now. But whatever happens, happens, and I’m just really thankful and looking forward to the opportunity.”

Comments

John Fitzgerald

I think it's fair to say when the Spurs coaching job opens up we should be worried Bill may be interested.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Marius Rowlanski

I have wanted to be able to disagree but I'm sure that Self will at least consider the opportunity to coach in the NBA. Not sure about San Antonio but it is a team with a lot of talent.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Harlan Hobbs

Bingo, John. With R.C. Buford and now Tyler Self associated with the Spurs, you have to believe that Bill Self would be high on their list to replace Gregg Popovich when he retires. Might not be too far down the road either.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Kurt Eskilson

We've seen how giving a job to the father helps recruit the son. So does giving a job to the son help recruit the father? Here's hoping not. That aside, great news for Tyler!

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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John Kelso

I think your reading way too far into this article, there's no hidden agenda for Bill Self in Tyler taking the job with the Spurs.
Do you remember the Gregg Popovich spent time at KU with Larry Brown? Pop has always had a connection with the Jayhawks.
Wiki:
"During his time as head coach at Pomona-Pitzer, Popovich became a disciple and later a close friend of head coach Larry Brown at the University of Kansas. Popovich took off the 1985–1986 season at Pomona-Pitzer to become a volunteer assistant at Kansas, where he could study directly under Brown."

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

And Popovich faced off against Brown in December 1987 when Kansas beat Pomona-Pitzer 94-38 in Allen Fieldhouse. I guess back then Division I schools were allowed to schedule Division III schools.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Marius Rowlanski

Turned out to be the key game for us in winning the NCAA 1988 championship.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Gerry Butler

I think guys are right, I think this is just another step from R C to help persuade Coach when the opening comes up. The San Antonio job is the one NBA job we need to monitor very closely. When Pops retires, you can bet they will come after Bill

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Nathan Anderson

Nepotism, again.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Lawrence McGlinn

My thought exactly. D-2 ability - Jayhawks - Spurs. Life is good for Tyler Self. The nepotism aspect will fade if he works really hard and becomes an excellent coach.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Humpy Helsel

Really? Where I come from it's called "not what you know, but who you know." Many, if not most people have taken advantage of this principle at one time or another, especially in their young, "getting started" years. They still have to produce. If they do not, it won't any difference anyway. Good luck, Tyler.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Lawrence McGlinn

Where I come from the most successful people have superior knowledge and ability. People who got their positions by nepotism are usually a drain on the business or organization, but they have to be accommodated because of who they are. Which is not to disparage Tyler Self, just a general comment.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Aaron Paisley

Tyler got the job because of connections, his keeping the job and getting promoted in the future will be determined by his ability to perform his job well. The Spurs aren't the model franchise they are because of promoting people who are unqualified for their job. Tyler's current role hasn't even been defined yet, but it sounds like he'll basically be a gopher in the video department while he finishes up his masters.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Ben Berglund

Maybe the Spurs will be satisfied just taking Tyler. **Stretches collar out a couple times**

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Suzi Marshall

San Antonio and OKC are the two jobs that worry me the most with regards to losing Self. If we win another National Championship this year in SA, that will even more solidify an already solid/warm feelings Self has for the area. SA is a really cool place and Tyler will love it over there, especially where the Bullet Trains to Houston and Austin/Dallas become operational (http://www.texascentral.com).

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Aaron Paisley

Those trains aren't coming any time in the near future because people aren't selling their land for the tracks.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Suzi Marshall

There is a lot of crazy opposition hype, which I really don't understand. I have not yet heard anything close to being a reasonable objection. Most of the track will be elevated so lands are not split. http://www.texascentral.com/rumors-vs...

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Gary McCullough

Tyler will be following on R.C. Buford's path. General Manager is in his future.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Steve Corder

A great opportunity for a fine young man....MBA...intimate knowledge of a first class operation at KU....and a product of great coaching and mentoring. What organization (in or out of the sports world) wouldn't jump on a hire like Tyler? Nepotism? Give me a break from the envy.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

The moment I saw this headline, I just knew the friendship between Bill Self and RC Buford was what made it possible for Tyler to get this job.

I still remember the family portrait from the 2003-2004 KU media guide of the Self family showing Tyler as an 8-year-old boy. The kid has come a long way since then.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Sean Swindler

There are two additional milestones available for Self at KU-

He will of course never catch Allen in years coached or in wins.

But...

He has a shot to be #2 in wins and #2 in years coached - matching the 19 years of Owens.

And...

NC #2

If he has NC #2 and his 19 years, I imagine he'd consider the NBA

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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