Bill Self reacts to the Jayhawks’ No. 4 seed in NCAA Tournament
You’ve probably heard the rumor. It goes like this: Bill Self will leave Kansas for the Chicago Bulls. Many KU fans are talking about it. Even people who don’t care or don’t like Kansas are talking about it.
The rumor is hot among some KU donors, particularly after a gambling expert — the one Matthew McConaughey played in a movie! — reported it. Which was weird, but it happened, so we thought Self should be able to address it.
“The Bulls thing is as far-fetched ...” he told the Star on Monday. “I don’t know where that came from. I’ve never talked to anybody from the Bulls about any employment opportunities. They have a coach and I’m not a candidate for that position and will not be.”
So ... that’s a no. But it’s also true that Self’s name is often connected to NBA rumors this time of year. Makes sense. He’s accomplished plenty at Kansas: national championship, Final Fours and the longest conference title streak in the sport’s history. The NCAA is investigating KU, too, so maybe now would be a good time to get out and go to the next level.
The next question, then: Are you 100 percent sure you’ll be at Kansas next season?
“I don’t think you can ever say that, because if they decide to go a different direction I guess I won’t be,” Self said. “So I can’t say 100 percent. But here’s what I can say. I’m certainly not at all motivated to be anywhere else than right here, especially during these times.”
By “these times,” he means the NCAA’s pending investigation related to a federal probe into corruption in college basketball recruiting.
“I wouldn’t run from that at all,” he said. “Not at all. And I look forward to visiting (with the NCAA) and certainly the conclusion (of the investigation), and seeing it through. You can quote that.”
This has been a rough season at KU. The 14-year conference championship streak ended, Udoka Azubuike suffered a season-ending injury, Silvio De Sousa was suspended by the NCAA, and Lagerald Vick left the team in February to address personal matters.
But when Self answered the phone on Monday, he seemed eager to not just shoot down the Bulls rumor but to quiet any other potential talk of an NBA job or the NCAA investigation driving him out.
“My motivation is as strong as ever to be the Kansas coach, to further this program, and to see the situation with the NCAA through,” Self said. “Totally through. Never say never, because you don’t know how both parties may feel, but that is my stance and I look forward to being here for a long time.
“I want to add something else, too. I said years ago that I didn’t know if I wanted to coach forever. But this past year has motivated me to remain in this business for a long time. I want it on record that I want to coach for a long time.”