How many times, how many different ways, how many different reasons has KC Confidential laid out the past couple years to make the case that there really was a good chance KU basketball coach Bill Self would bolt to the NBA sometime in the not too distant future?
For starters, Self’s gone about as fer as he kin go in Lawrence.
Which as we’ve noted, is like living in a tiny fishbowl, especially for someone with the stature of Bill Self. Probably the worst case scenario of that went down a year and a half ago when tongues were wagging all over town about an alleged affair Self was having, with uh, somebody that lives really close to me. And no, not my wife.
That Self had been kicked out of his house and was holed up for weeks at a ritzy, big bucks condominium project in the burbs. My electrician friend here swears that construction buddies of his saw Self’s black SUV rolling out of the garage there every morning.
Plus college basketball isn’t what it used to be.
The days of Dean Smith and Jon Wooden appear over. Recruit a super talent like Danny Manning or Andrew Wiggins and keep them on the team for four years while your build a Final Four team? No way.
The new paradigm?
Build multi million dollar luxury apartments for recruits likely to stay just one year, rinse and repeat, ad nauseam. Or, recruit good but not great players who will stay all four years and place your bet on experience over raw talent and ability. Kinda like Wichita State.
But how much fun can either of those be, once you’ve tasted the forbidden fruit?
And trust me, when you’re taking down $4 million a year, there aren’t very many fun places to spend that money in Lawrence…or Kansas City, for that matter.
Not when you’ve got the appetites and the ego of Bill Self.
Why not just coach in the bigs?
So it comes as little surprise that Self admitted to having talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers about the team’s head coaching vacancy. Why wouldn’t he? And why wouldn’t he downplay it now since he didn’t either take it or get it?
Of course he’s going to downplay the story now, he’d be a dummy not to.
And trust me, you won’t find two news organizations more obliging than the Kansas City Star and Lawrence Journal World to politely report the story for KU and Self, that allows him the most wiggle room and comfortable spin.
I can tell you from my years at the Star, sports section places the highest value imaginable on its relationship with KU athletics. Ditto the Journal World, although its exhibited a lot more bite in past years than the Star.
Seriously though, if KU stopped or seriously dialed back its advertising in the Journal World, the newspaper would have to either go out of biz or convert to a weeklyprint and online format like The Pitch.
Hence headlines like this one last May:
“Bill Self wants to watch NBA, not coach it”
Careful how you answer that because Cleveland’s on a huge roll right.
They’ve got basketball’s best Lebron James, college football’s best Johnny Manziel and the town just landed the 2016 Republican Convention.
When’s the last time KC put the grabs on a Triple Whammy like that?
However when Self danced his dance with the Cavaliers, he had no idea about any of that or that his prize KU recruit Andrew Wiggins would be playing there for certain.
Makes you kinda wonder what Self’s really thinking right about now?