Lost in the news of Tom Crean’s decision to go to Indiana is the possibility that the Kansas Jayhawks are once again going into the Final 4 with rumors that their head coach is going to leave them. The last time they were here in 2003, they went through this with Roy Williams, who initially denied any interest in the open position, but left Kansas anyways a week later. With Sean Sutton’s resignation after his ill-fated attempt to succeed his father Eddie, there is an opening in Stillwater for one head ball coach.
Although Bill Self, an OSU alum, has stated that he is not running in the running to be the Cowboys next head coach, his press conference left us less than convinced that he is definitely staying in Lawrence. As Seth Davis noted last week (scroll to bottom), OSU has some serious Boone Pickens money to throw around. That and the chance to go back to his alma mater (potentially ending their ceaseless requests for donations) may be enough to convince Self to leave the Jayhawks empty-handed once again.
I would have a hard time understanding why Self would leave Kansas. I know that he is an OSU alum and maybe I went to a school with absolutely no school spirit (stupid city campus), but it just seems like Self has fewer reasons to go from KU to OSU than Williams had to go from KU to UNC. I would consider KU and UNC to be on the same level in terms of historic significance and about the same in terms of ability to recruit (slight edge to UNC), but KU absolutely destroys OSU in any objective or subjective measure (other than number of fans in Stillwater).
I just hope the Roy Williams tearfest this week isn’t interrupted by this. Seriously though if Self leaves for OSU, who would Kansas trust after getting screwed over by 2 coaches who hadn’t won a title yet and left their team after/during (depending on your level of cynicism) a trip to the Final 4? Danny Manning?
I am sure this will hang over the heads of Jayhawk fans during what should be the best week of their year (unless they beat UNC/Roy and the winner of UCLA/Memphis) as will the memory of Roy high-tailing it out of town for Chapel Hill. The thing that should really bother them is that Self has a history of this having left a big-time basketball school (Illinois at the time) for another school (Kansas). The thing is that he may be leaving them this time.