Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, whose wife, Cindy, was hosting a wedding shower at their house in west Lawrence, needed to make a quick exit after speaking to several thousand KU freshman Saturday at Traditions Night in Memorial Stadium.
“I’ve got to roll. You’ve got to walk this way quick, c’mon. Real quick, take some selfies,” Self said, smiling in response to group of five students who asked him to pose for pictures as he raced toward his car.
The KU newbies had waited patiently for Self to complete an interview with media — a 10-minute session that, as usual, covered a variety of topics.
After the confab with reporters broke up, he spoke to the Star about Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine’s recent Tweet regarding the possible resumption of Border War basketball and football games.
Here’s the tweet, as reported recently in The Star:
“Yes, this Kansas-raised, Mizzou-educated VP candidate will broker a deal to reinstate the Border War!” Kaine wrote on Twitter.
Kaine rooted for KU’s basketball team while growing up in Overland Park. He attended Rockhurst High School and Mizzou.
“I guess if you are vice president of the country, you will have some juice. I would think he probably would have more important things on his agenda than to worry about that,” Self said with a big smile.
Self, who has never met Kaine, was asked whether he would schedule Mizzou just because the senator from Virginia wanted the game to be played.
“No. No,” Self said good-naturedly. “If somebody tells me I have to, we’ll do whatever. I don’t think there’s too many people hung up on that any more. Not at KU,” he added referring to fans.
KU and Mizzou have not met in basketball and football since MU left the Big 12 for the SEC in 2012. Missouri coaches and officials have said they would like to schedule KU again; the Jayhawks have balked at any such talk.
Kaine, by the way, tweeted his opinion on the matter after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said after a recent Kansas City Chiefs practice: “When he’s the vice president, he can finally melt the ice between the Jayhawks and Tigers and have them willing to play us again. … He’s stuck right in the middle of it. It’s not the most important issue he’s facing right now. …We just need to start playing again.”
KU Day at the K
Some of Self’s KU basketball players, who are flocking back to Lawrence for Monday’s start of first-semester classes, will attend Sunday’s Royals-Twins game at Kauffman Stadium. Self said some players won’t be back in town until about 4 p.m., thus won’t attend the ballgame.
Senior Frank Mason will throw out the first pitch.
“I don’t think Frank has ever thrown a baseball. I don’t think he’s ever played before,” Self said. “I kind of hope he throws it (and) it goes to the backstop. I think that would be pretty funny. They wanted Frank to throw it and Devonté (Graham) catch it. Heck, I don’t know if either one has played catch before. I don’t think we’re going to do that.”
Self on Sunday’s gold-medal men’s basketball game between the U.S. and Serbia at the Rio Olympics: “We only beat them by three the first time but we controlled the game,” Self said. “They came back. I really felt if they (USA) got past Spain they would win it. I thought Australia would beat Serbia and they got it handed to them. I think it’ll be a tough game but I will be very surprised if the USA doesn’t win by at least 15.”
More Jayhawks news
Self said he thought junior guard Svi Mykhailiuk had “slimmed up” a bit since the end of last season. He also reiterated junior forward Dwight Coleby will be ready to play in pick-up games and practice two hours a week in accordance with NCAA rules.
▪ KU athletics will sponsor 3-on-3 men’s and women’s tournaments for members of the student body with the championship games to be played at Late Night on Oct. 1. More details will be available soon at KUAthletics.com.