Bill Self has often said he’s proud of the streak of Big 12 championships his University of Kansas basketball team has won. And for good reason: It’s a heck of an accomplishment.
Then why did Self act like a $5 million-a-year spoilsport after the Jayhawksclinched sole possession of their 10th straight
Big 12 title Saturday night?
To hear Self’s excuse, his team (and my alma mater) didn’t deserve to celebrate after losing to Oklahoma State, 72-65, in a hard-fought game on the road.
So the Big 12 championship T-shirts and hats weren’t passed out by the team’s managers.
Self said: “I told them, ‘Put them under the damn bus,’ because to me, we missed our opportunity to celebrate.”
But those student athletes have worked hundreds of hours this year for Self and their fans, getting the team into the position to win the title.
Yet when the players got to the mountaintop, Self proclaimed they couldn’t even enjoy the view for a little bit.
They could have blown off a little steam, taken a bit of time to look back at what they’ve accomplished so far. After all, as KU fans and Self himself know, winning conference outright is a pretty big deal.
It’s the least Self could have done for his players, the ones he supposedly cares so much about.
UPDATE 4 PM:
After a few (OK, a lot of) KU fans have complained about my treatment of Self, let’s read his own words on when he would “let” his players celebrate the Big 12 title.
It wasn’t last week,when KU beat Oklahoma, 83-75, to just clinch a tie for the title
“The players didn’t stay out (on the court) to celebrate, and I told our guys we will celebrate whenever we win it,” Self said after that victory.
That time came Saturday night.
Yet, once again, in Self’s eyes —no celebration for you
Sure, some of the players on Saturday night said they saw things Self’s way. We didn’t play well enough, they said.
But what else were they going to say? Self would have exploded if any of his team members had dared to challenge his decision to be a party pooper.
I agree: KU can have a wonderful celebration when the Jayhawks play Texas Tech at Allen Fieldhouse Wednesday night before home fans.
Still, spare me the winning-is-everything attitude that this is what coaches do, teaching players lessons after they play poorly.
Well, I didn’t see Self volunteering to give any of his $5 million salary back after what he thought was a poor performance Saturday night.
Remember, this is a coach who makes a great deal of money off the backs of these student athletes. He gets to call all the shots. He decides when they celebrate, when they don’t.
And I’m sure Self will be ready to bring up the fact that he led KU to all those consecutive Big 12 crowns if and when his next salary negotiations occur.
Self blew his chance Saturday night to be a human being, not an ultra-control freak.