Kansas basketball coach Bill Self spoke with Gary Woodland on the phone Sunday after the former KU golfer defeated Chez Reavie in a one-hole playoff to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale.
“I actually heard from him last night. I was as exciting watching … I can’t believe they played the Waste Management Open prior to the Super Bowl. That should have been after the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl was a warmup for that,” Self said Monday.
“That was exciting for anybody that supports Kansas and obviously supports Gary. For a guy that’s been through what he and his wife, Gabby, have been through … as much as they have in the last calendar year, I’m sure it was an overwhelming feeling of emotion that took place when he was making that 1-footer on the 19th hole to win it.”
On March 29, 2017, Woodland reported that he and Gabby had lost one of their unborn twins. On Sunday, Gabby and son, Jaxson, joined Woodland in Phoenix to celebrate Woodland’s first victory since the 2013 Barracuda Championship. Woodland refers to Jaxson as his “miracle” son, according to pgatour.com.
“We’re all proud of him and happy,” Self said. “I saw he went to 25th in the world (rankings) on that one win. He’s fifth in Fed Ex points now. He’s playing with house money now for a little bit. Hopefully he’ll keep it going.”
More on Mitch starting
Self on Monday night’s Hawk Talk radio show discussed his decision to replace Lagerald Vick with Mitch Lightfoot in the starting lineup for Tuesday’s 8 p.m. game against TCU at Allen Fieldhouse. Earlier in the day Self said it would be a “long-term” move.
“We can’t bench four starters or three starters, because we don’t have enough depth, so we’re just going to do one,” Self said. “Our effort (in Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma State) was very poor. You can blame that on me.
“The bottom line is we were actually going to make more wholesale changes. I’m just tired of starting guys who don’t put out and play with energy and enthusiasm. It’d be better with some of them coming off the bench.”
Self noted that changing the starting lineup, “is not punishment. It’s a business decision. That’s life. If you run a business, I don’t think you’ll keep your top employees in your business if they are your least-producing people. That’s business. We have to do some things to try to get some more production and energy.”
He said one thing he’s told his players in a season in which the Jayhawks have little depth is, “Hey don’t abuse the right to be a starter at Kansas. Don’t abuse the right to play 30 minutes at Kansas. Don’t abuse that because you know I can’t take you out.”
Self said he’s been pleased with seniors Devonté Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk.
“We’ve got two of the best leaders in the world in Devonté and Svi, but we need guys to be followers to them as opposed to guys leading that go against what those guys are trying to do,” Self said.
Graham one of 20 on Wooden list
Graham has been chosen to the Wooden Award’s “late season Top 20,” the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced Monday on ESPNU.
Other candidates for college basketball’s player of the year include Big 12 players Mohamed Bamba, Texas; Jevon Carter, West Virginia; Keenan Evans, Texas Tech; and Trae Young, Oklahoma.
The list also includes Deandre Ayton, Arizona; Marvin Bagley, Duke; Keita Bates-Diop, Ohio State; Trevon Bluiett, Xavier; Mikal Bridges, Villanova; Miles Bridges, Michigan State; Jalen Brunson, Villanova; Carsen Edwards, Purdue; Vincent Edwards, Purdue; Marcus Foster, Creighton; Tra Holder, Arizona State; Jock Landale, Saint Mary’s; Luke Maye, North Carolina; Collin Sexton, Alabama and Allonzo Trier, Arizona.
The Wooden Award national ballot of 15 finalists will be announced in March.
Graham on Monday also was announced as one of 10 candidates for the 2018 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced.
In March, five finalists will be presented to the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner will be honored at ESPN’s College Basketball Awards on April 6 in Los Angeles.