University of Kansas

Self’s Big 12 player of year vote went to Tech’s Culver: ‘a coin-flip type deal’

KU’s Bill Self on Dedric Lawson’s Big 12 player of the year chances

KU basketball coach Bill Self spoke on March 9, 2019 about Dedric Lawson's chances to be chosen Big 12 player of the year.
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KU basketball coach Bill Self spoke on March 9, 2019 about Dedric Lawson's chances to be chosen Big 12 player of the year.

Unable to vote for one of his own Kansas Jayhawks, Bill Self — as well as a majority of his Big 12 coaching peers — on Sunday voted Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver the conference’s player of the year.

“I think it was a coin-flip type deal between he and Barry. I love Barry Brown (of Kansas State). The bottom line is I did vote Jarrett primarily because of numbers. I just felt Jarrett’s numbers were a little bit better,” Self said Monday night on his Hawk Talk radio show.

While stressing he felt KU’s Dedric Lawson was “the best player in the league,” Self abided by conference rules that forbid coaches from recognizing their own players.

“He had a big game in a game they had to win to get the title. That was my reason for that,” Self said. Culver scored 31 points in Texas Tech’s 80-73 victory over Iowa State on Saturday in Ames — a victory that assured Tech a tie for the league title with Brown’s K-State Wildcats.

“They both play both ends. They both are well-rounded. They both did a great job,” Self stated of Brown and Culver, offering the opinion that “the Big 12 player of the year should be best player in the league during conference season.”

In league games only, KU’s Lawson ranked first (18.7 points per game), Culver third (17.6) and Brown fourth (16.1) in scoring. Lawson ranked second (10.2) and Culver 10th (6.8) in rebounding. Brown ranked first (2.1) and Culver fourth (1.4) in steals. Culver was 10th (3.2) and Brown 11th in assists (3.1).

“Jarrett was voted second-team Sporting News All-American with Dedric yesterday. From a national scene, Jarrett probably has a better chance to make the All-America type teams,” Self said of the sophomore guard. “I personally think Dedric is the best player in the league. I think there’s more that goes to picking player of the year than who is best player obviously. Team success has to do with a lot of it.”

Self was not pleased the league coaches voted KU freshman point guard Devon Dotson third-team all-league. Self felt he was a certain second-teamer.

“To be honest, yesterday kind of upset me because Devon Dotson is not a third-team all-league player in this league. He should have been on the second team hands down in my opinion but he wasn’t voted that,” Self said. Dotson ranked 14th in league games only in scoring (12.3) and fourth in assists (3.8). He was sixth in steals (1.3).

“That is the one thing that kind of disappointed me. We only had two recognized on the whole (coaches) team. Devon was third team and Dedric first team and not even one other player made honorable mention. I think we performed better than that to at least have our guys get a little more recognition in my opinion,” Self added.

Lawson did pick up a player of the year honor on Tuesday, however, when the U.S. Basketball Writers Association honored him on its all-District VI team. Lawson was chosen the top player for the states of Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South and North Dakota. K-State’s Bruce Weber was district coach of the year.

Joining Lawson on the 11-player all-district team: teammate Devon Dotson, K-State’s Barry Brown and Dean Wade, Creighton’s Ty-Shon Alexander, Iowa’s Tyler Cook, South Dakota State’s Mike Daum, Oklahoma’s Christian James, Drake’s Nick McGlynn, Nebraska’s James Palmer and Iowa State’s Marial Shayok.

Self on De Sousa case

Self was asked on his Hawk Talk show if players such as KU’s Silvio De Sousa — ones that are seeking reinstatement via appeal after initially being declared ineligible — ever win their appeals cases with the NCAA.

“Absolutely. It happens all the time. It does happen,” Self said of winning an appeal.

KU elected to appeal the NCAA’s Feb. 1 decision to have 6-9 sophomore De Sousa not only sit out this entire season but also the 2019-20 season as punishment for his guardian allegedly receiving payment from an Adidas representative and allegedly agreeing to receive additional funds from the same person.

Self went on to comment a bit on the De Sousa appeal.

“Obviously a decision was made initially. It’s our responsibility as an institution to combat that and fight that. We are doing whatever we can,” Self said. “The thing I will say is this … people can say, ‘Why is it taking so long?’ Well, if it has taken this long, then why do we need to push it, because this season is over for him to be able to be ruled on and play. We’ve conceded that for a while. The best thing we can do is put our best foot forward. I know we are doing that.”

The NCAA announced its two-season suspension of De Sousa on Feb. 1.

“I am not discouraged at all by the time that it’s taking,” Self said, “because we anticipated that whenever they made their initial decision … we hoped for a quicker appeal process but it hasn’t happened that way. That’s where that is.”

De Sousa, a 6-9 forward from Angola, practiced but has not played in games this season because of the NCAA’s eligibility review that took place prior to the Feb. 1 decision. Self originally announced Oct. 24 that De Sousa would be held out of competition. At the time, De Sousa and his recruitment had been discussed during a federal trial relating to corruption in college basketball.

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Gary Bedore covers all aspects of Kansas basketball for The Star — the current team as well as former players and coaches and recruiting. He attended KU and was born and raised in Chicago, as well as Lisle, Ill.