Kansas Jayhawks’ Bill Self full interview

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LAWRENCE, KS (KELO)- University Jayhawks men’s basketball coach Bill Self was supposed to be the guest speaker at the 2020 KELOLAND Media Group Sanford Pentagon All-Star Banquet, however the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on any gatherings of more than 10 people.

That led to the 2020 KELOLAND Media Group Sanford Pentagon All-Star show on KELO-TV on Friday, April 17. 

Self was still the guest speaker who did an interview with KELOLAND’s Travis Fossing. You can watch the full video above and read some of the highlights from the interview below.

As the pandemic goes on, what does a day in the life of Bill Self look like?

“I think a day in the life of me, is a lot like a day in the life of a lot of people. I’m bored to tears, I’m enjoying being at home with my wife, but I’m certain that she is ready to get me back to work,” Kansas Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. “We all have to make a conscious effort to follow the CDC guidelines and maintain social distancing and things like that.”

“I’m doing all of my work from home. I’m watching a lot of Netflix, if anybody hasn’t seen the show Outlander, I think it’s one that I may be watching since there are 56 episodes,” Self said.

Your team was 28-3 and ranked number one in the country, how tough was it to tell the guys ‘season over’ prior to the NCAA tournament?

“It was tough, but I wish I could’ve told them. It was a strange day for everybody and I know that everybody’s story is different and ours is that we were getting ready to play in Kansas City on Thursday (March 12) against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Tournament,” Self said. “I got a text from one of my coaches saying ‘coach, they canceled the tournament,’ and I said ‘I know they canceled the Big 12 tournament,’ and he said ‘no coach, they canceled the NCAA tournament.”

It’s been about a month for you to regroup, what are you telling your players that are coming back, your recruits, what do you have them working on and what’s the message to those kids right now? 

“The recruits that we’ve signed and our returning players, we’ve gotten information to them based on what they have available to them,” Self said. “Some may have a goal (basketball hoop) in the driveway, some may not. Some may have a place where they can go to a park and shoot by themselves, some may not… Some may have as little as a towel in which we can do different types of strength exercises.”

I saw that you came out of Twitter retirement recently to live tweet the rebroadcast of the 2008 national championship. What was it like to relive that a dozen years later?

“It was fun. I think going into that, I had tweeted like 250 times in my lifetime and of the 250, I think 220 of them were done by somebody else,” Self said. “I’m not a big Twitter guy, but this is a time where I need to become more tech savvy because it works well for recruiting and communication.” 

How did you fall in love with basketball growing up and what helped lead you to coaching? 

“We had a real iron goal, nailed to the bathroom door in a very small house that I was born in. By the age of 1, I was putting a ball through the hoop and I was at every practice and every game that my dad had,” Self said. “To me, it’s the greatest game, the best exercise and there is so much about it that is so positive to so many.” 

“I had a passion for it, like many kids had across the land, but I don’t think very many people exceeded the passion that I had for it growing up,” Self said.

We’re unable to have a banquet and unable for the kids to meet you this year. What would your message be, not just for the ten finalists, but for all the kids in South Dakota and beyond?

“I wish I was there with you and I wish we were all in the Pentagon tonight. Paul Seville has been on me to bring my team up there and play a game and we would love to if our schedule allowed it,” Self said. “I know there have been some really good players to come out of the state (South Dakota) over time.” 

“I just want to congratulate everybody. You don’t get to become a top five finalist either on the mens or the women’s side unless you put in a lot of time,” Self said. “I hope they don’t let this pandemic tarnish what they’ve been able to accomplish this far. I feel so bad for seniors who won’t get to play in state tournaments, track and field, baseball, graduation, senior prom; there are so many things that happen at that time that last with you a lifetime.” 

“If you truly love this sport. If you truly want to be the best that you can be. If you truly have a dream or a vision that nothing is going to get in your way to stop you from giving yourself the best opportunity to achieve that dream or vision, you have to be self motivated,” Self said.

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