Kansas basketball coach Bill Self lounged in a lower level, Allen Fieldhouse bleacher seat on Thursday afternoon, his eyes focused on a 51-year-old point guard who used up his collegiate eligibility at George Washington University three decades ago.
“I think Joe is a much better coach than he is a player,” Self said with a laugh, assessing the current playing ability of former Kansas assistant/current Florida Gulf Coast head coach Joe Dooley.
Taking advantage of being in tip-top physical condition, Dooley served as player/coach for Team Chalmers, which fell to Team Robinson, 69-53, in the opening game of Self’s three-day fantasy procamp for men age 35 and up.
Dooley, who had come to Lawrence for the camp to help serve as a coach, looked comfortable wearing jersey No. 62.
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He was the only player without a name stitched above the digits on the back of the uniforms.
“I guess he had to fill in because of an injury. He did fine,” Self said of Dooley, who dished a handful of assists while making sure his four teammates on the court were involved on almost every possession.
He misfired on his only two floor shots — a pair of three-pointers left short.
Dooley also was 0 for 2 from the free-throw line.
“He told me the last time he played was when he was an assistant at Wyoming which was in 2002. It’s been a few years,” Self said.
Self said he did not think Dooley would be playing in fantasy procamp games Friday and Saturday, indicating a replacement for the injured Team Chalmers player would be found.
The other head coaches for Self’s sixth-annual fantasy camp included Fresno State assistant Jerry Wainwright, Fox Sports broadcaster Doug Gottlieb and ESPN announcers Miles Simon, Fran Fraschilla and Dino Gaudio.
“It’s a sad day for everybody at ESPN because those guys (ESPN’s Simon, Gaudio, Fraschilla) were obviously close to so many of those employees that got let go,” Self said. ESPN this week laid off several employees, including college basketball reporters Andy Katz and Dana O’Neil, who have been to Allen Fieldhouse dozens of times, as well as Eamonn Brennan.
“I feel awful,” Self said. “I’ve had relationships with them (various ESPN announcers who were dismissed in the cost-cutting move) for quite some time. I just talked to some of them very recently. I’ve reached out to some of them today.
“It’s sad. You look across America and there’s so many different things going on. Businesses are making cuts. You hate it because it’s been people that have been good to you and certainly you’ve been friendly with a long time.”
Entire roster eligible for exhibitions
Self said all of the players on KU’s roster — including transfers Dedric Lawson, K.J. Lawson and Charlie Moore — will be eligible to play in KU’s four exhibition games in Italy this summer as well as take part in the 10 practices in advance of the trip. Those three players will be able to practice during the season but not play in games until 2018-19.
Transfer Malik Newman, who is eligible to play in games during the upcoming season, and Sam Cunliffe, who will be eligible to play in games at semester break of the upcoming season, also can play in the exhibitions in Italy.
“It’s a good year to go (overseas),” Self said. The NCAA allows foreign trips once every four years. “We’ll try to do well in Italy (against yet-to-be-determined all-star or college teams). We’ll approach it more like everybody’s eligible just to see where we’re at. It’ll be good for us.”
No waiver for Charlie Moore
Self said incoming point guard transfer Moore, formerly of Cal, will not apply for a waiver that might allow him to play in games in 2017-18. In the past, some players who transferred in order to play closer to home (for family reasons) were allowed immediate eligibility. Moore’s dad, who lives in Chicago, recently suffered a stroke.
“There is no such thing any more,” Self said of such a waiver. Thus, Moore will practice all next season and play in games starting in 2018-19.
Cunliffe wearing boot
Cunliffe is wearing a bulky boot on his right foot. He suffered a severe high ankle sprain at a workout and is expected to wear the boot five days, then return to action.
“He sprained it pretty good,” Self said.
Six of 13 scholarships slots will be used on transfers next season: Dwight Coleby, Cunliffe, Newman, the Lawson brothers and Moore.
“The whole thing is in this particular situation with us, with what we lose next year, it’s going to be nice to have some guys with some experience be ready to step in and play,” Self said, noting there’s no change in his recruiting philosophy. He yearly tries to sign the best high school players, sprinkling in transfers and juco transfers.
KU coaches still looking for players
Self said KU is still pursuing players to sign for the upcoming season. Self will have one scholarship to offer if Svi Mykhailiuk remains in the NBA Draft. No scholarships are available if Mykhailiuk returns to Kansas for his senior season.
“Yes we’ll keep recruiting,” Self said. “I still think we have some work to do. We’re still actively recruiting some folks. So much of it depends on what others do. We’ll have to be prepared if in fact scholarships become available.”
KU is in the running for Trevon Duval, a 6-2 senior point guard from IMG Academy in Florida who has a list: Kansas, Duke, Baylor, Seton Hall and Arizona. Duke is considered the heavy favorite by many recruiting analysts.
Self is waiting to see if Mykhailiuk will be invited to the NBA Combine May 9-14 in Chicago.
“I would certainly think so and hope so. I haven’t gotten a word on that yet,” Self said. Players who do not sign with agents have until May 24 to remove their name from the draft and retain collegiate eligibility.
Jackson’s draft status
Self says Josh Jackson will be a high draft pick.
“I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t have a chance to go in the top three or four and hopefully if he performs well (in individual workouts with teams) he could be looked at seriously for the top spot,” Self said.
“It depends who is picking and needs. I think he’ll be in the conversation absolutely (for top pick).”