Jayhawks hope to have Bill Self back for NCAA title defense
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas hopes to have Hall of Fame basketball coach Bill Self, who missed the entire Big 12 Tournament after a medical procedure earlier week, back on the sideline when it begins its NCAA Tournament title defense next week.
Norm Roberts, who led the third-ranked Jayhawks to the championship game Saturday night, said that Self talked to his team before its 76-56 loss to seventh-ranked Texas and anticipates joining them for Selection Sunday.
“We plan on him coaching next week,” Roberts said. “He’s doing well.”
It remains unclear what caused the 60-year-old Self to visit the emergency room Wednesday night, nor what kind of procedure took place. Dr. Steve Stites, the chief medical officer at the University of Kansas Health System, only would say that Self did not have a heart attack, as some outlets had reported, and is expected to make a full recovery.
Roberts led the Jayhawks to four wins to start the season, while Self was serving a school-imposed four-game suspension, and guided them to tourney wins over West Virginia and Iowa State before the loss to the Longhorns.
“We’ve got a great staff,” the Jayhawks’ Dajuan Harris Jr. said. “Coach Self trusts them a lot, and we trust them too.”
Still, it’s hard to replace one of college basketball’s winningest coaches.
Self is 581-130 during his two decades with Kansas, and 788-235 in his 30 seasons as a head coach, which includes stops at Oral Roberts, Tulsa and Illinois. He’s led the Jayhawks to a pair of national titles, beating Memphis in 2008 and North Carolina last April, and the regular-season Big 12 title was his 17th in 20 seasons in Lawrence.
“Hopefully, we’ll see him tomorrow for Selection Sunday,” Harris said in a mostly empty Kansas locker room Saturday night. “Coach Rob did a great for us this whole week, but Coach Self, we trust him to lead us.”
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