NCAA Tournament

Manning blocks out Tulsa talk

Asked about reports that he’s the next coach at the University of Tulsa, Kansas assistant coach Danny Manning talked only about the Jayhawks.

“I’m here to give my full effort to help this team win a national championship,” Manning said upon arriving Wednesday night at the team’s Final Four headquarters.

Manning wouldn’t address reports by and ESPN, citing unidentified sources, that said he had accepted the position, replacing Doug Wojcik.

It would be Manning’s first head coaching job after spending nine years on the KU bench, the last five as a full-time assistant.

Tulsa’s athletic department issued a news release that put the brakes on the reports.

“The University of Tulsa has not reached an agreement with any candidate for the head basketball coaching position at the school. As stated when the coaching search began on March 11, TU officials will not discuss any candidates until an official announcement is made by the university.”

Bill Self told a group of reporters in New Orleans that Manning had interviewed for the Tulsa job and was excited about the prospects. “But it’s not done,” Self said.

If Manning is Tulsa-bound, he would be the second member of the Kansas staff to depart.

On Wednesday, Barry Hinson was introduced as Southern Illinois’ next coach. Hinson, 50, had been Missouri State’s head coach during 1999-2007 and was Oral Roberts’ head coach the previous three years, replacing Bill Self after he went to Tulsa.

About 9 p.m. Wednesday, Hinson arrived at the Kansas’ headquarters with his Saluki lapel pin and a necktie in the school’s maroon and white colors.

“It was great,” Hinson said. “They’re really hungry for a winner there.”

Hinson said he would be with the Jayhawks through the Final Four weekend.

“I’m going to work with the University of Kansas until Monday night at 11 o’clock,” he said.

Hinson, who owns a 205-140 career record, replaces Chris Lowery. He had taken the Salukis to six straight NCAA Tournaments — pushing Kansas to a three-point game in a 2007 Sweet 16 in 2007. But Southern finished 8-23 this season.

At Kansas, Hinson has served as director of basketball operations and among his duties was to plan the team’s travel. Such a job might seem beneath a coach with as much experience as Hinson, but he said in an interview last month that his approach to the job was no different than coaching.

“It’s like going from the CEO of a company for 11 years as a head coach back to the mail room,” Hinson said.

KU coach Bill Self called Hinson “a huge asset to our program.”

“Everyone within the university and department has enjoyed him being here so much,” Self said, “but his goal was always to get back on the sidelines as a head coach.”

Related stories from Kansas City Star