Do college coaches actively try to keep one-and-done talents on campus for sophomore seasons? Sure. Do they do so by sabotaging a player's draft stock with minimal playing time and off-the-record rumor generation? If so, it's rare. Coaches want to be the guy that gets elite prospects to the NBA; if there's one reason Kentucky coach John Calipari has been so successful as a recruiter, this is it. No coach wants the opposite reputation. The short-term gain isn't worth the long-term damage.
Which is why Bill Self took to the airwaves in Kansas City this week. The Kansas coach was eager to dispute a HoopsWorld report that claimed Kansas "did everything they could to keep him for one more season," including "convincing others that Selby wasn't nearly as athletic as people thought."
Self's response? Hooey:
"You shouldn't use certain words over the airwaves, but that's absolute crap," Self said. "Josh is a very good athlete. Josh is one of the ones that we thought was one of the more athletic kids on our team. That's how rumors get started. A coach's responsibility is to promote his players, to put them in the best light they can possibly can be. If anybody were to ask me about Josh, they would hear nothing but positive things out of my mouth or anyone in our program's mouth.
"It's amazing to me when other coaches and staffs are bright enough not only to be experts on their own programs but on mine as well," Self said. "People use that against you. People use he's never had a one-and-done. Well now that Xavier and Josh have left, at least we've had the two one-and-dones."
The gulf between what's said on the radio and what is said behind closed doors can be vast, but in this instance, the Self-defense (sorry) rings true. He may have wanted Selby to stay for another season, but it appears the top recruit always had his heart set on leaving for the pros due to his family's difficult financial situation. If ineligibility, injury and minimal playing time didn't keep Selby in the college game, a slight dip in draft stock wasn't going to do the trick. Surely Self would realize as much. And, as he notes, there's little benefit in taking the opposite tact.
Meanwhile, Selby continues to impress draft scouts with his athleticism, and one college hoops writer's prediction that the Kansas guard's struggles could be a major first-round steal is looking better and better by the day. And yes, if Selby has a breakout rookie season, I'm going to bring that prediction up about five times a day. I apologize in advance.