The Jayhawk Nation has much to be excited about regarding the upcoming college basketball season. Of course, Kansas hoops fans have not had much reason to despair in recent years. Bill Self, the Jayhawks head coach, has been the model of consistency in recruiting top-level talent, and by winning big.
Self and his staff have shown the ability to recruit top talent to lend their services to Kansas basketball. The Jayhawks seemingly lose three, four and five players every season, yet there has not been a drop in production or the incoming talent level. It may sound cliche', but Kansas truly does appear to "reload" on talented players.
The 2013 recruiting class for Kansas ranks second in the nation behind Kentucky. Self must replace all five starters, four seniors and one second-year freshman. Coach Self has managed a serious haul of blue-chip talent again, and just yesterday gained a pledge from bruising power forward/center, Tarik Black, a transfer from Memphis.
Black's addition comes on the heels of the announcement last week by highly touted recruit Andrew Wiggins that he was coming to Kansas as well.
The 6'9" transfer, Black, according to NCAA rules, is eligible to play immediately because he has already completed his degree and has a year of eligibility remaining. The Jayhawks recruiting haul includes No. 1-rated Andrew Wiggins, a 6'7" guard from Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, No. 12 Wayne Selden (G, 6'5", 205, Tilton (N.H.) School), No. 25 Joel Embiid (C, 7-foot, 220, Rock School, Gainesville, Fla.), No. 29 Brannen Greene (F, 6'7", 200, Tift County High, Tifton, Ga.), No. 34 Conner Frankamp (G, 6-foot, 160, Wichita North) and No. 76 Frank Mason (G, 5'11", 180, Massanutten Military Academy, Petersburg, Va.).
Coach Self and his staff have excelled at preparing players to play as a team, leaving behind the me-first attitude generally attributed to most top recruits. Because his mastery of the recruiting process helps to restock the pantry, it gives Self the flexibility to implement his system and style of play, with no fear of not having the players to pull it off.
Since his arrival at Kansas (2003), Bill Self has amassed a coaching record of 300 wins and 59 losses, which is a winning percentage of .836. The Jayhawks have won nine consecutive regular season Big XII conference titles and six conference tournament titles.
The span of 10 years since Self came to KU also includes 10 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, with two Final Four visits and one national championship (2008).
Further, Kansas has had seven consensus All-American (college) players since 2005. The NBA is also littered with former Jayhawks. There are 15 players that have played for Self since he came to KU that have matriculated to the NBA, 10 of whom are on current NBA rosters. That number will swell by two, when recently departed sensation Ben McLemore and shot-blocking ace Jeff Withey are drafted in this year's draft as expected.
Jayhawk fans have many reasons to bask in the glow of Bill Self's success. It appears that KU hoops is following the yellow brick road of success, and has discovered their own "Wizard" in the process...