If there was ever any lingering animosity between Kansas coach Bill Self and San Diego State coach Steve Fisher, it appears to have subsided as the two veteran coaches prepare to face off on Sunday at Allen Fieldhouse.
That was not the case back in 2011, when Fisher criticized Self and Kansas for signing power Kevin Young, a transfer who had previously committed to San Diego State. Self has always maintained that his staff didn’t pursue Young, who started for KU last season, until he told San Diego State that he’d be reneging on his verbal commitment. But that didn’t stop Fisher from saying that he was “disappointed in a program and coach I’m very fond of to pursue a player who made an eight-month commitment.”
On Friday, Self recalled how the incident transpired.
“Kevin had committed to them, and then we got a call saying that he wanted to come with us,” Self said. “And I said: ‘Well, we can’t mess with him until he contacts San Diego State and tells them that he wants to decommit.’ And we didn’t mess with him. And he did that, and then we got involved.”
That sort of thing, Self says, is not uncommon in recruiting.
“I hate to say this: But I think that’s probably happened to Coach Fisher on the other side, too, where he’s gotten somebody that was maybe leaning towards … another school,” Self said. “But when you’re going through it, it always hurts.
“They deserved to get the kid. But that’s not how recruiting works.”
Despite the dust-up, Self said he still has great respect for Fisher, and he added that the scheduling of the home-and-home series with San Diego State had nothing to do with the recruiting battle. Fisher had expressed interest in the series for years, and Self thought a return game in San Diego would be beneficial for his program.
“That does not, in the least way, shape or form, affect our relationship,” Self said. “If it does, then obviously we didn’t care much for each other to begin with. It’s certainly hasn’t affected my thoughts of what I think of him, because I think he’s a first-class guy.”