Asked about next season, KU coach Bill Self jokes he wants last year's stars back
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self has been busy fielding phone calls from NBA front office personnel peppering him with questions about former Jayhawk guards Josh Jackson and Frank Mason as the June 22 draft nears.
“It’s getting down to basically time where decisions are going to have to be made,” Self said.
Self gave a short draft update to media members Friday afternoon after blasting a long drive on the first tee at Eagle Bend Golf Course — site of his 14th-annual Bill Self/Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department Golf Classic.
“The feedback we’re getting with Josh is there’s a lot of talk out there about the Celtics right now maybe shopping their pick or potentially throwing Josh’s name out there,” Self said of Boston, which currently has the No. 1 pick in the draft.
“I think he’s got a good chance to go (No.) 2 for sure (to Los Angeles Lakers). If he does fall, I think Philadelphia has a great chance to pick him up at 3. I shouldn’t say for sure (but) he’s going to be a top-five pick with I think an outside chance of being No. 1, but a realistic chance of going in the top two.”
Self also had good news to report on the draft status of consensus national player of the year Mason.
“We’re hopeful Frank can sneak in the first (round), but if not, I think he can go in the top 40 picks, like the first 10 of the second,” Self said of the 5-foot-11 point guard. “Frank has done himself well (in workouts with teams). People that are picking early second (round) are hopeful he can be there. I think there’s a chance he can sneak into the late first. I don’t know if that’s the percentage play.
“I talked to Frank this morning. He’s hopeful for that. The reality is I don’t see anything stopping him, though. Regardless of where he gets picked, I think he’s going to be right there.”
As far as former KU forward Landen Lucas, who has worked out for several teams … Self was asked if he might go in the second round.
“I haven’t heard that,” Self said. “We’d want that for ‘Lando,’ but I haven’t heard that. I would think his best bet would probably be as a free agent. That’s not all bad. If you are not going to go early second, sometimes you are better off not getting drafted so you can pick and choose where you go as opposed to being locked into a situation that may not even have a contract available.”
Self said he would attend the NBA Draft, to be held Thursday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“Yes. There’s an NABC event Wednesday night, the draft on Thursday. We’ll definitely be there,” he said.
Self has started his two-year term as president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Ford says Celtics like Jackson
ESPN.com’s Chad Ford reported Friday that Boston is considering taking Jackson No. 1 overall. Most analysts have had Boston choosing former Washington point guard Markelle Fultz.
“We’re in dialogue with Boston. We’re very respectful of them,” Jackson’s agent, B.J. Armstrong, told ESPN. “They have the No. 1 pick and can select whoever they choose. We just need to see how things play out over the next week.”
According to ESPN.com, Jackson as of Friday had worked out for the Lakers twice and Philadelphia once. ESPN says he’s also scheduled to work out for Phoenix.
“We like him a lot,” a Celtics source told ESPN.com. “But we like several guys a lot. We’ve got a week to figure it out.”
Self raves about Josh
Philly.com contacted Self for a Friday story on the Sixers possibly taking Jackson at No. 3.
“He’s the best overall recruit that we ever signed and I’ve ever been around when you combine athletic ability, talent, IQ, thoughts, maturity … I’ve never been around anybody that had that many things going on like a 25-year-old man should have. He was just way above his years,” Self said.
KU’s coach added: “I think Josh will fit in with any team, because he’s a guy that does the things that allow a team to be great. Everybody needs somebody that not only can score and rebound and produce, but also make the game easier for the other guys on the court.”
Early summer workout report
Self was asked what players have stood out in summertime workouts.
“I think our perimeter is in real good shape physically with Lagerald (Vick) and Devonté (Graham) and obviously Malik (Newman),” Self said. “It’s good to have ‘Doke (Udoka Azubuike, sophomore center) back out there (after recovering from last year’s wrist surgery). It’s too early to talk about that kind of stuff. I do think it’s nice to have Devonté back (for senior year).”
Practice slate for Italy
Self explained details on training camp for the Jayhawks’ July 31-Aug. 8 trip to Italy where the team will play four exhibition games.
“We are going to do it differently. We are going to go twice a week for five weeks,” Self said of practice time.
Stanley picks up KU offer
KU has offered a scholarship to Cassius Stanley, a 6-5 junior shooting guard from Sierra Canyon High in Chatsworth, Calif., he has reported on Twitter. Stanley, who is ranked No. 13 in the recruiting Class of 2019 by Rivals.com, also is considering Stanford, Arizona, Duke, Kentucky, Alabama, UCLA and others.