Self understands 'heavens are falling' but remains focused on KU getting better

Kansas head coach Bill Self casts a look at his players during the second half on Friday, Nov. 24, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self is smart enough to sense what's happening with KU's beloved fan base, even though he has spent very little time interacting with them of late and spends basically no time on social media sites and message boards where thousands of Jayhawk fans are happy to let their feelings be known.

Following Roy Williams, coaching at one of the country's true blue-blood programs and being entrusted as the current caretaker of a product that has produced names such as Naismith, Allen, Chamberlain and Manning has a way of providing you with that sixth sense of sorts.

But while the fan base is up in arms about the way these Jayhawks have played of late — losers of three of their last six games and now ranked No. 13 in the nation — Self is operating with the same kind of cool, calm and collected demeanor that has resulted in 13 consecutive Big 12 titles and a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

“Whether our fans (panic) or not, hey, welcome to the real world,” Self said Monday when asked if he thought his players experienced the same kind of panic that KU fans are currently going through. “I mean, good God. Hey, Duke feels the same way. North Carolina feels the same way. That's life.

“This is what's unbelievable to me with our fan base, because I love them and they're great. But for 13 years we've got a T-Shirt whenever we win the league. I mean, it was that big a deal and we got a T-Shirt. And now that we're a game behind, it's the heavens are falling. I certainly understand that and I get that. And we deserve to be a game behind because we haven't played well enough to be better.

“If this is how they're feeling, then they should understand that they should appreciate all the emotions that fans have to go through. Because it's going to be a struggle this year. It doesn't mean it's over, but it's definitely going to be a struggle and we probably need them more than we ever have needed them and they've got to rally around that, as well.”

Asked if he liked the late-season sneak peek at the NCAA Tournament bracket, which was unveiled on Sunday, Self made it clear that he had spent very little time thinking or talking about it.

“I saw something that we were a 2 seed in Purdue's region,” he said. “I don't even know when that was done. … From a fan base standpoint, that would be awful to be a 2 seed. Now, from my standpoint, I don't think we deserve that. I don't. I think that we need to play well from this point forward to be in that conversation and we haven't done that yet.”

Svi's OK

Self said Monday that the shiner that may or may not have affected guard Svi Mykhailiuk during last weekend's loss to Baylor did not have any lasting impact on the senior sharp shooter.

“Svi's fine,” Self said. “We did X-rays and stuff when we got back and there was absolutely no structural damage. But what happens when you get hit in the eye is you can't stop the eye from watering. And he said, 'Coach, every time I ran and bounced it was blurry the whole time.' It messed with his head. Now, he's got to be tougher to play through that, but I would think that would probably mess with anybody that bases their game on being a marksman and was probably a little blurry shooting the ball.”

No lineup decision

After changing his starting lineup in each of the past two games — Mitch Lightfoot in place of Lagerald Vick last week against TCU and Lightfoot and Marcus Garrett in place of Vick and Newman versus Baylor — Self said before Monday's practice that he was unsure who would start Tuesday night at Iowa State.

“I haven't really decided yet,” Self said Monday afternoon. “I know what we need to do to win, at least in my opinion. Now how do we get that? … We'll see how today goes.”

Vick bouncing back

After spending the past two games coming off the bench instead of starting — yet still playing 30 and 32 minutes in those games — Self said junior guard Lagerald Vick has started to show more of the effort and urgency that was missing and led to the decision to bench him.

“I really feel like Lagerald's attitude, in my opinion, has been very good,” Self said. “It's just, you know, he didn't make shots and sometimes when you don't make shots it doesn't look like you play as well or (against Baylor) when you tip in a ball for the other team or you get a rebound and you throw it out of bounds... It was a good pass, Devonte' just happened to turn his head at the wrong time. So he (Vick) just hasn't caught any breaks, but I feel like he's on an uptick.”

Comments

Daniel Kennamore

If I were Self, I wouldn't be so dismissive of the fan base.

After all, those Big 12 t-shirts were nice...but there isn't a KU fan on the planet that wouldn't trade each and every one of them for a couple more national titles during that stretch.

If you fail to win the Big 12 AND keep failing to even live up to your seeding in the NCAAT...that fan base can and will turn on him permanently.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Gerry Butler

Thank you for NOT BEING Coach self

2 months, 1 week ago

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Marius Rowlanski

Oops...

2 months, 1 week ago

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Marius Rowlanski

And thank you for KNOWING NOTHING about the KU fan base.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Matthew Coleman

I can only hope Self isn't hearing comments like those of Mr. Kennamore. I would take Hall of Fame Coach Self based on only this seasons success. His consistency of excellence is matched only by the likes of maybe Coach K and one or two others. To say that our fan base would turn on Self because he doesn't win the NCAA, is to suggest that we have lost our collective minds. Any school in the country would be delighted to have Self - and yet we aren't happy? Let's get a grip.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Andrew Foster

We are spoiled and unfortunately this years team lacks depth and talent that previous years have all had.
Coach Self is doing what he can with a short bench and a team that consists of one big and 4 guards and is and has been challenged to win the battles on the glass the entire year.

Ultimately the lack of depth / size up front, the inability for our guards to rebound, coencide with an off night and we get beat. Not to mention that this team lacks the defensive intensity that so many of our teams have had in the past. Do we have to like it...No

But get over it and realize that Coach Self is doing what he can with what he has...

2 months, 1 week ago

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Jeff Foster

AND, doing pretty good. With the Big12 this year, we could even be 2 or 3 games out but we played great at WVU and KSU. If we would have not laid an egg vs OSU and Baylor, two bad teams, we would be a full 2 games up most likely and nobody would be saying anything. Both KU and TTech have really tough schedules to finish but we can still win this again. Now that would be a huge success for Self to win this year's league with this team!

2 months, 1 week ago

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Armen Kurdian

Yes, we aren't as good as we have been in past years, and I do get that. It's disappointing, but yes, I am definitely spoiled as well, freely admit it, though also, yes, I do believe we should have had at least one more national title in the last 21 years than we do now. Doesn't mean I'm a fair weather fan, I'll be watching tonight, even though I hate these 9pm EST tip-offs, I have to DVR it and watch the 2nd half in the morning while getting ready for work.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Craig Carson

@Armen..2011 was KU best shot at a 2nd NC...all they have to do was take care of business and beat Mid Majors VCU and Bulter and they most likely would have beaten UCONN

2 months, 1 week ago

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Craig Carson

@Andrew..this team isnt lacking in talent, they just arent a complete team..they have shooters and they have leadership..what they dont have is a bench that can score consistently, a 2nd big man to help rebound and defend, a true slasher and a lock down defender..

2 months, 1 week ago

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Marius Rowlanski

So basically we need 3 new players and a longer bench?

2 months, 1 week ago

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Brian Conrad

Probably not the best team to coach. And not 2 seed tech a 2 seed ku 3 at best

2 months, 1 week ago

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Dirk Medema

Unless of course we beat TT there and win the conference, but you've already determined that we will lose because you are an entitled loser and a quitter.

Fortunately, Coach and the team are not.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Bryce Landon

One of the most idiotic things I have ever seen on this message board. Brian is an entitled loser and quitter because he thinks KU deserves a 3-seed? Because he thinks KU won't beat TTU? Look at us! We have 4 conference losses and have looked very bad in all four of them. We already got our asses kicked by Tech in our own building! We have lost 2 out of 3 in decisive fashion! What about the way we are playing right now suggests to you that we can that coveted 14th title, beat a Tech team that is more talented and hungrier than we are, or that we deserve anything higher than a 3 seed?

Brian is not a loser or a quitter. He is a realist. And so am I.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Henry Joseph Hofmeister

everyone makes mistakes when trying to get better and be the best. maybe all these transfers weren't a good idea. maybe we'll win it all next year. i for one can't think of a better coach. do what you do Mr. Self.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Joe Ross

This season makes me miss Perry Ellis. Just sayin'...

2 months, 1 week ago

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Dave Miller

or... Thomas Robinson, Nick Collins, Wayne Simien, and a whole slew of KU bigs... Just sayin', also... :)

2 months, 1 week ago

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Dirk Medema

Thomas was my first thought.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Andy Tweedy

Right? Ellis' ten years in Lawrence were awesome!

2 months, 1 week ago

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Marius Rowlanski

Makes me wish Preston was a better driver...

2 months, 1 week ago

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Barry Weiss

I was thinking the other day how we need a warrior under the boards like Jamari Traylor. Man that guy would grab multiple put backs until he got that sucker in the hole!

2 months, 1 week ago

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RJ King

I miss KEVIN YOUNG.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Craig Carson

Perry would be a beast playing along side Azibuike..hell, I even miss Landen Lucas..he was a good rebounder, defender and he had a good bball IQ

2 months, 1 week ago

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Marius Rowlanski

That would be awesome Craig... Bill Self would be shredding the BIG 12 with his preferred HI/LOW offense.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Brad Watson

Bill Self is the very best coach in the country and I have complete and total confidence in him....PERIOD!

http://www2.kusports.com/users/photos...

2 months, 1 week ago

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Rae Bricil

“This is what's unbelievable to me with our fan base, because I love them and they're great. But for 13 years we've got a T-Shirt whenever we win the league.

I think you also got millions upon millions of dollars in addition to the t-shirt.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Dirk Medema

We not I.

And yes he is absolutely right. Way too may entitled whiners.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Bryce Landon

Millions upon millions of dollars that he no longer deserves. Bill Self is making, what, $5,000,000 a year? For the results we have gotten in recent years in the NCAA Tournament, he is way overpaid. If I were his boss, I'd cut his salary down to $3,000,000.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Craig Carson

@Bryce..Self deserves every big of that 5 mill a year..annually he has KU in the hunt for a FF or NC..there are only a small handful of teams that can make that claim since Self arrived at KU..and yeah sure, he hasnt gotten us more NC than we would have wanted, but dont be a baby and whine about it..we could have wound up like Indiana when they lost a HOF coach (when Roy left)..they have been irrelevant for darn near 25 years...dont act so entitled

2 months, 1 week ago

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Marius Rowlanski

Serious Bryce? He has the highest winning percentage plus the highest number of wins since coming to Kansas. We've never been seeded lower than a 4 seed in the NCAA during his tenure.

In the end, Self has to coach the team he has not the team he might want (a little Donald Rumsfeld reference) and I believe he has done a great job just keeping this team in the hunt.

He runs a clean program, a proven top recruiter, and a very capable game coach. He has never personally been involved in any type of scandal.

Obviously, I think he deserves every bit of his salary.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Bryce Landon

Exactly. He has never been seeded lower than 4th. But for all those high seeds he's gotten, he's only been able to parlay that into two Final Fours and one national title. He's been seeded way too high to only have two Final Fours and only one national title. He should have six Final Fours and two national titles!

2 months, 1 week ago

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Matthew Coleman

If you dont think HOF HCBS is worth what he is making, you dont deserve him either. Perhaps you would be better suited to be a Red Raider this year and follow Chris Beard whose claim to fame before this season is one NCAA tournament win.

Here's their website to get you started: http://admin.texastech.com/index.aspx...

2 months, 1 week ago

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Tony Bandle

How about a mandatory 10% annual deduction of every Division One Coach's salary if he doesn't win a National Championship. You could cut that to 7.5% if he gets to the Elite Eight and 5% if he makes the Final Four.

I'll tell you who would then be the big motivator.....Mrs. Head Coach!!!! :)

2 months, 1 week ago

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RJ King

Because all wives are gold-diggers?

2 months, 1 week ago

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Bryce Landon

Not all, but probably 95% of them...

2 months, 1 week ago

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RJ King

Bitter? Flyover Bubble? or just a Pig?

2 months, 1 week ago

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Steve Zimmerman

Aim higher, coach. You've been sitting too comfortably for too loooong. Wake up, get up and rise up. It's about time to reward your loyal fan base something better that they deserve.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Dirk Medema

They deserve better? Why? Because they buy a ticket and a t-shirt. Why is anyone here more deserving than fans at any other school?

And it is a rare moment when Coach sits at all. More likely than not Coach is working to make the program and the roster better and better.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Steve Zimmerman

Why? Because we are the Kansans! I still believe in coach BS, I believe that he will once again (maybe more) bring a national trophy to Lawrence. I have believed in him for 13 years. I'm sorry, Dirk, but please tell me what NC, Duke, Nova, MSU, Michigan, have that KU does not.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Bryce Landon

NC, Duke, and Nova each have national titles more recent than KU's last one.

MSU and Michigan each have more recent appearances in the title game than KU's last one.

That's what they have that we don't. I'm tired of hanging our hat on the 2008 title and the 2012 Final Four.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Gerry Butler

Why Dirk? - - Why? - - don't you get it?- -these are Kansas fans. and like some have mentioned in the past, they are very spoiled and losing is unacceptable. They don't want to hear and or at least reason or accept logic like Coach said, OMG do you realize what the fans of North Carolina - - -& Duke and especially what the Kentucky fans are saying this year? - - - stop the presses, we have lost games - -that can NOT happen. I'm with you Dirk these fans don't deserve anything, - -exactly what has the fans done to help win these 13 straight championships? - -well other then whine we DO lose.and be typical arm chair Coach with their hoagies I one hand and beer in the other spewing vulgarities at the tv during the game when we do lose, but yet if you were to ask them what they would do different you would think they were the 2nd coming of John Wooden - - - Don't try to question their reasoning Dirk you will be crucified banished lmao - -you just HAVE to understand - - losing games at KU just DOES NOT happen, you see this is unacceptsble. - -ALL FUTURE KU COACHES now please step forward and verify your intelligence with your rants and raves I mean you can do sooooo much better hope you can find the address to the athletic dept's office to fill out your app for the Coach's position I'm sure they will be more then happy to take your application - -I'm with you Dirk

2 months, 1 week ago

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Steve Zimmerman

"-ALL FUTURE KU COACHES now please step forward.." -- wow, really, one bad season, and you already giving up on coach Self? I still believe in BS.
You should, too.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Gerry Butler

OH Steve you showed your intelligence - - -or lack of - -or maybe just your inability to read and comprehend. - -- I'm a huge Bill Self fan - - -WTH are you talking about? - -please go back and read the ENTIRE message again, I am talking to the arm chair Coaches who think they are such better coaches then coach Self - telling them to show us their qualifications as our next coach - - jumpin gee hossa fats man read more slowly and not jump to conclussions let me break it down for you - - I'll go slow - -I'm - - - - - in - - - - - Coach - - - - -Self's - - - Corner - - did that sink in? - -I hope so - -hope you have a great day

2 months, 1 week ago

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Steve Zimmerman

gotcha!

2 months, 1 week ago

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Justin Kruse

I’m thinking we win out and I get myself a new t-shirt.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Dennis Strick

Don't take this wrong. I love me some Bill Self. He is by far the best coach Kansas has had in my 35 years of following the program. His ability to out coach and out motivate his opponents is unprecedented. At times he makes them look downright silly. i.e. Coach Weber.

However, this entire situation this season can and must be laid at his feet. He and his staff were the one's who did not do enough due diligence on Billy Preston. Maybe Italy got in the way maybe they didn't want to know the "whole story". They were the reason there was a long delay on De Sousa. They knew he was coming to Kansas and past experience has shown them what it takes to clear a foreign player to NCAA standards. But the most glaring reason why is we could be just fine if Dwight Coleby was still in a Jayhawk uniform. He is averaging 12pts, 8 boards and .6 assists per game for Western Kentucky a tourney bubble team in C-USA. He left because Self told him playing time would be very limited for him. Are you kidding me!!! He would be averaging double-doubles on our team this season.

Self got star-struck with his incoming Mickey-D's and lost sight of the gems he had right in front of him. I hope and believe that Daddy Smooth, and his Hilltoppers will make the tourney and he will showcase what we could have had underneath with Dok. Bill this season and probably a lack of 14 in a row (a ungodly and unrealistic feat) is on you sir.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Marius Rowlanski

Sorry, you lost me at " I love me some Bill Self.".

2 months, 1 week ago

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RJ King

"... Self told him playing time would be very limited ..."

How do you know this for certain? Were you at their meeting (If there even was one)? Self's M.O. is honesty. So of course, it's plausible. Self's other M.O. is that he trusts and plays his upperclassmen. So, even at that time it was plausible Coleby could've played a lot of minutes.

Many factors contributed to the Coleby-Self relationship. His coming to Kansas as a transfer. His injury. The uncertainty of this year's roster. But calling Self "star-struck" with McD's??? If anything, from day one he makes his top players earn every one of their 4-5 stars right back.

Imagine Self back in 2016 telling us, "Billy Preston was interested in playing at Kansas, but we already had Dwight Coleby, so we didn't offer Billy a scholarship." Better now???

2 months, 1 week ago

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Craig Carson

@RK KING...exactly..upperclassmen are nice and all, but you dont turn down a shot to land a IMPACT freshmen that can transform your team..Coleby was no offensive threat, and he never would have been..he was just another body..We complain about the OAD players, but if Self signed a class full of 3 and 4 * kids and we sucked for 2-3 years we'd get upset..not every 3 and 4* player is gonna develop

2 months, 1 week ago

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Craig Carson

@Dennis..what did you want KU to do, hire a P.I to investigate every player that gets recruited by them? Preston had ZERO red flags before his commitment..it would have been different if he had issues and question marks before hand...Self or his staff arent to blame for how the Preston situation played itself out..besides, it isnt Selfs responsibility to look into a players background, they have an actual compliance department that does that

2 months, 1 week ago

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Brad Watson

The problem is not our team...its just the league is so good this year....the competition level is off the the charts in the Big 12 ....every team is good enough to make the the Big Dance and the Big 12 tournament is setting up to be the best sporting event in the area in years and worth attending......get you tickies. for all the sessions.....Don't miss it ...We need the 6th man this year. in big numbers.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Ed Noyes

Beat ISU, OU beats TT and then beat TT...a path to glory...lol

2 months, 1 week ago

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Gerry Butler

that is the way I see it too. - -We just have to take care of our business. - -get a little help from Oklahoma tonight - -which is very possible, then we need to beat Iowa State . - -We have a tough road though we have Iowa State - - -- then West Virginia -- Oklahoma - -- Texas Tech - -and Oklahoma state -we HAVE GOT to take care of OUR END and it can be done

2 months, 1 week ago

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Ed Noyes

I still say to play Silvio until he fouls out or adjusts.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Craig Carson

I think if the games werent always so tight then his leash on DeSousa and Cunliffe wouldnt be as short..but when those guys come in and immediately turn the ball over, foul someone or get scored on, its hard to keep them in for longer than a few seconds

2 months, 1 week ago

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Dillon Davis

Bill Self is a great coach but he does deserve a lot of the blame for how this season has gone, and those two things aren't mutually exclusive. Every coach has down years. Kentucky went to the freaking NIT just a few years ago. We are still fighting for the title, we are still going to be at worst a 3 seed. So yes Bill put us in this situation by not putting together a competent roster, but he's also still doing pretty damn good with this not-so-great roster.

We'll see what happens the rest of the way but everyone has down years. And yes we don't exactly look like a Big 12 Champion or Final Four team, but we still have a chance. And it's because of Bill Self.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Dennis Strick

Mr. King. I know it because I read it. KC Star Direct Quote From Coleby as written by Gary Bedore May 18, 2017. Self totally evaluated Preston, Dok, Lightfoot, and Whitman as taking most of the playing time from Coleby if he stayed. He's a great at evaluating talent. He got this one wrong. If he is only wrong one time this season he's way ahead of me in my job. His mistake will likely cost him and us a 14th title though.

2 months, 1 week ago

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RJ King

Coleby IS putting up numbers this year. HOWEVER, Western Kentucky's Strength of Schedule is #56 non-conference and #84 overall. Kansas' non-conference is #9 and #1 overall. Dwight's numbers are to be expected, but wouldn't automatically translate into the same at KU.

It was clear that Dok was going to be the focus of the 5 spot - and that he would be Coleby's main competition for minutes. It looked like Preston would start at the 4. Nowhere did the article state that Self "totally evaluated Preston, Dok, Lightfoot, and Whitman as taking most of the playing time from Coleby." In fact, based on Self's M.O., Coleby (if healthy) would've had more minutes than either Mitch or Whitman.

The article reads, “(Self) said he DIDN'T WANT ME TO LEAVE, but he agreed it was probably best for my future. If I could put up the numbers it probably would be the best thing I could do.”

To me, this shows Self cares about his players and wants the best for them - even if it might be to the detriment of the team. Meanwhile $h_t happens. And hindsight is probably in play BOTH ways.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Yolanda Gay

I think losing Coleby hurt KU a lot. Towards the end of last season, he was getting more comfortable with his knee. I just remember the game where the players gave him a standing ovation in the locker room. We could have used him.

Also, I just don't see the talent on this year's team to get title #14. If I heard Self say the team needs tweaking, I'd be happy. But that's not the case. It's February and the team is not gelling. We don't even have a regular starting lineup.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Raymond Wright

14th in a row coming. Go ahead and print the shirts

2 months, 1 week ago

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Doug Aitken

Does anyone forget he was counting on Billy Preston? Duh. I wish people with computers would have to pass an intelligence test. There would be far fewer comments from ignorant Cheetos-eatin', bean bag chair sittin', slow leak morons.

2 months, 1 week ago

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