Self Looks Forward, Not Back

KU coach Bill Self spoke briefly with the media Monday following KU's Elite Eight loss

Water under the bridge. No use crying over spilled milk. What’s done is done.

Those were the themes of Bill Self’s comments when asked his thoughts about Saturday’s 68-55 loss to UCLA after sleeping on it for a couple of nights.

“There’s no reason to talk about the game. The game’s happened,” Self said. “‘Why didn’t we do this? Why didn’t we do that?’ It’s over. You can’t get it back, and it’s not something we can watch and learn from for the next game – there is no next game. We’ll evaluate it when the time is right to evaluate it.”

But you can bet that tape will find its way out of the vault when the time is right.

“I think it’s best to do that after you’ve had time to digest everything and let everything pass a little bit so we can reflect back in a way that I think will do us more good,” he said.

Instead, Self focused on the coming weeks, Sherron Collins’ unexpectedly bad knee and possible NBA defections.

After every season, he said, the coaches step back and re-evaluate what occurred over the season and what needs to happen to prepare for next year.

Self explained, “First thing I want our guys to do is take at least a week off from everything and get their books together if, in fact, they’re a little bit behind from travel.”

The coach said the second week was time to get back into the weight room. “We’ll make a very committed effort in that area. That’s one area of improvement we can definitely have is get a little bit stronger and more mobile and more flexible.”

Finally, the team needs to heal. “We need to get healthy, Sherron more than anybody else,” Self said.

It had been reported that freshman fire-hydrant-with-a-bulldog-mentality Sherron Collins had tendonitis in his knee. The extent of the injury, however, wasn’t revealed until Monday. He’ll need an extended break from basketball, and even if Kansas had won Saturday, Collins may have been doubtful for the upcoming Final Four.

“We didn’t ever let on to Sherron’s situation, but Sherron played on one leg out in California. He noticeably limped and fought it the last three weeks, so we’ll do some tests on him to see what he’ll need to do to get his knee back to 100 percent. Hopefully it will not require surgery, but we do not know that,” Self reported.

He clarified, “It’s a little more serious than what we led everybody to believe. Certainly it’s a form of [tendonitis], but we’re hopeful it won’t require surgery.”

Self refused to speculate on the extent of the injury but said Collins would get test results and learn about treatment options later this week.

He cited strength as an area of emphasis for the off-season, being careful to say that strength was not a limitation of the team, but, “No matter how strong you are, you’re not strong enough.”

Self said his teams have gotten progressively stronger each season, and another good season in the weight room would certainly benefit the Jayhawks next year.

He did look back long enough to say that it was disappointing for everyone that such a successful season could end on such a sour note, but that’s simply the nature of the game when the stakes are so high. He did, however, find a silver lining.

“You’ve got to win a lot of big games to play in that game, and certainly that was the biggest game of the tournament for us that we played in. But we won some big games to get to that game.”

The topic of potential NBA defections was brought up, and even though players made some post-UCLA game comments, it is too early to tell, Self said.

“We’ll need to investigate and look into some scenarios, but I’m going to wait and talk to [the players] and their families before I tell you exactly what our game plan will be because I really don’t know right now,” he said.

“We do not believe guys’ minds are made up yet. We’ll approach it that way: do what’s best for your family and yourself and we’ll support you 100 percent, but don’t make a bad decision and potentially ruin a career. If these guys are top 20 picks or guaranteed first-round picks, then they may have something to think about. If they’re not, there’s actually no decision to be made.”


Self will be leaving later this week for the Final Four and coaches’ meetings in Atlanta.


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