Kansas basketball coach Bill Self said Tuesday after his squad’s 85-69 loss at West Virginia, and again Wednesday on his weekly radio show, that his starters appeared a bit fatigued down the stretch against the Mountaineers.
Senior guard Frank Mason, who scored 15 points on 6-of-16 shooting with three turnovers and two assists in 39 minutes, had to exert extra effort with a pair of Mountaineer defenders blocking his way to the lane much of the night.
Meanwhile, an old problem resurfaced for junior guard Devonté Graham, who scored 17 points with three assists and four turnovers in 34 minutes.
“Devonté was cramping. He was not a factor, bless his heart, the last 10 minutes or so,” Self said, noting in general, “I thought (as a team) we got tired.”
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Self said Graham, who had cramping problems in several games earlier this season, hadn’t suffered from that malady in a while.
“Devonté did do some good things early,” Self said. Graham had 13 points in the first half, and four in the second.
“We thought we had his cramping stuff under control. Everybody has their own remedy. He’s been seen by the best. We flew people from San Francisco to Hawaii (where Graham was cramping before the season opener against Indiana after experiencing the problem in the exhibition season).
“There are companies who do all kind of tests on guys to get exactly what you need in your system. This is the first time we’ve run into it (cramping) in quite some time.”
Self on Huggins’ bonus
Self was asked how he feels about West Virginia coach Bob Huggins earning an extra $25,000 for regular-season victories against KU.
“I haven’t negotiated many contracts. I’m sure Bob, when he tried to figure out a way to milk the school for any penny he possibly could back in the day …” Self said with a laugh. “That’s the way a lot of contracts are written in sports. A lot are incentive-based. Others are base salary and that’s basically what you get.
“I don’t know what Huggs’ incentives are. I know he’s been able to take a nice vacation each of the last four years (after beating KU in Morgantown). He’s so tight I doubt he does anything.”
Brown to watch practice
Former KU coach Larry Brown will be back in town Thursday.
“Coach will watch us practice a couple of days and hang out with us a while,” Self said.
Former KU guard Sherron Collins was in Lawrence a few days last week and practiced some with the team.
“He’s already gone,” Self said. “I believe he may be down (in Miami) working out with Mario (Chalmers, former KU guard). Mario has recovered from his Achilles (injury) and is trying to get in shape. Sherron went there to spend two or three days with him to have a workout partner, which is good.”
“He (Collins) likes our players. He loves Frank. “I said, ‘Sherron, no disrespect, he (Mason) is gaining on you big time.’ He said, ‘Coach he’s good. You can’t guard him.’ ”
Self on dealing with team issues
Self was asked on his Hawk Talk radio show to speak in generalities about handling crisis situations.
“I haven’t watched the game (tape of Tuesday’s loss). I’ve had some other stuff I’ve been dealing with,” Self said.
University of Kansas police have been investigating the reported rape of a 16-year-old girl at McCarthy Hall, which houses the KU men’s basketball team and other male students.
Self has acknowledged that several of his players were listed as witnesses in the police report.
“I would recommend the best way to handle things like that is head-on, don’t skirt it, handle it as matter of factly as you can. No reason to pick sides. You can support, but don’t pick sides,” Self said. “Let everybody know how you feel and stand.
“There’s also an element what happens in house stays in house, too, as much as it possibly can. What is frustrating about so many things, some things you want to address in a certain way, you can’t. Because the reality of it is it doesn’t make any difference how I feel or doesn’t make any difference what people say. There are professionals who determine these situations.
“Sometimes you don’t like how you have to deal with certain things. Sometimes you have to be patient. Running from it or hiding is not the best way to handle any problem.”