Kansas basketball coach Bill Self will be heading to Colorado Springs on Wednesday to run training camp for USA Basketball’s Under-18 men’s national team, which will participate in the FIBA Americas tournament June 10-16 in St. Catherines, Canada.
Self — head coach of the Under-18 squad — will be assisted by former KU hoops standout Danny Manning, head coach at Wake Forest, as well as Dayton’s Anthony Grant.
“I’ll enjoy meeting up with Danny and Anthony, as well, seeing what we can accomplish with this Under-18 team,” Self told The Star. “I think it’ll be exciting.”
Incoming KU freshman combo guard Quentin Grimes will be one of 32 players attending training camp Thursday through Saturday in hopes of making the team.
“I’m not looking at him like a KU guy, even though you always want your guys to do well,” Self said of Grimes, a 6-5 native of The Woodlands, Texas. “What we are looking at is trying to put the best team together that would give us the best chance to win a gold medal in the event and certainly the guys who play the best are the ones who will be on the team. I am absolutely looking forward to having Quentin be a part of it.”
Self added during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday afternoon: “I love Quentin and I certainly hope he comes and plays extremely well, but I am not approaching this he has an advantage over other guys because he’s coming to KU and he knows that. It’s going to be a situation he’s going to have to play (to make U-18 team).
“He’s had some great experiences himself whether it be the McDonald’s game or Hoop Summit. He’s played against some really quality guys. To have a chance to play in a setting that is not an all-star game type setting where you are playing for something that’s very important to a lot of people I think will definitely help him moving forward and certainly get him more prepared for when he gets here."
In all, 32 athletes will try out for 12 spots. Some players on KU’s recruiting list will be participating in tryouts, including Jeremiah Robinson-Earl of Bishop Miege, Matthew Hurt of Rochester, Minn., and Kira Lewis of Hazel Green, Ala., who was added to the list of hopefuls on Tuesday when Zion Williamson dropped out.
Training camp begins on Thursday night. The athletes will participate in two-a-days each day with finalists for the team announced on Saturday. The top four finishing teams at the Under 18 tourney will qualify for the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup for Men.
“I’m looking forward to working with these guys. It should be a lot of fun,” said Self, a member of USA Basketball’s Selection Committee from 2005-08, who is coaching a USA Basketball team for the first time.
Former KU assistant Joe Dooley, head coach at East Carolina, will be one of the court coaches during tryouts. So it’ll be a reunion of Self, Manning and Dooley, who all have worked together at KU.
“Danny and I will be together through the entire event,” Self said. “Joe is what you call a court coach when they come in training camp and help you and play a huge role during that time (but don’t go to Canada for the tourney). It will be great hanging out with both of them. Danny will probably get very tired of me. We will be together day and night over the next three weeks."
Self said he would not name an interim head coach at KU in his absence for much of June.
“I’ve never really thought like that,” Self said. ‘We’ve talked about responsibilities and what all needs to get done. There are a lot of important things going on because camp is going on (starting next week and running two weeks). Also you can work out with players four hours a week. That and being around the office with the team (in June) is very, very valuable.”
Self said if possible he’d return for a camp session or two, if not his assistants will run the entire show with help from former players who visit for the annual campers game on the Wednesday of camp week.
Self reported Tuesday that KU staff members Jeremy Case and Bill Cowgill would be part of the USA Basketball U-18 staff. Case will be video coordinator and Cowgill head trainer.
“For 20 days I am (going to be) focused in on basketball. Hopefully this experience will certainly help me become a better coach learning from other people,” Self said.
Late Night date set
The 34th annual Late Night in the Phog will be held Friday, Sept. 28, at Allen Fieldhouse, KU officials announced on Tuesday.
KU will play Oklahoma State in KU’s homecoming football game on Saturday, Sept. 29, at Memorial Stadium. Additionally, Sept. 28-29 is K Club weekend, in which former KU student-athletes, coaches and staffs return to the KU campus.
"Late Night is always a great way for us to kick off the season and with all of our new players, this will be the first time they will be in front of our fans in Allen Fieldhouse," Self said Tuesday. “With Homecoming, we hope everyone makes a big weekend out of Late Night on Friday and the football game on Saturday."