Kansas coach Bill Self is no stranger to the hard recruiting sell. The coach's remarkable run of success at Kansas -- 2012 was the eighth-straight season his Jayhawks have earned at least a share of the Big 12 regular-season title -- has often come thanks to squads loaded to the gills with the elite talent, drilled to perfection in Self's hi-low motion offense.
Self doesn't have a top-five class in 2012, but he does have a five-player group, including top-100 prospects Perry Ellis and Andrew White, ready to take up the torch passed by Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson, who led Kansas to its impressive runner-up run in the 2012 NCAA tournament.
But just in case that group of players isn't enough, this week Self got a commitment from a sixth prospect, one that required no flattery or promises of playing time or long-term designs on NBA riches. All he needed was a nice, quiet dinner with his parents in a Mexican restaurant, and his mind was soon made up. From the Lawrence Journal-World:
“It was my mother, him and I eating dinner at a little Mexican restaurant. I said something like, ‘I want to play.’ They were both kind of surprised. I think they both said, ‘Really?’ at the same time. It was pretty funny,” said Tyler [Self], a 6-foot-2, 160-pounder who told the Journal-World on Monday he’d decided to become a non-scholarship walk-on player on Bill Self’s KU team.
Indeed, Tyler Self, Bill Self's 18-year-old son, decided to take up the unique offer presented by his father -- to join him on the bench at Kansas as a walk-on. No offense to Tyler, but the move means next to nothing basketball-wise; Self's son is but an undersized 6-foot-2 guard who averaged just 3.9 points and 1.3 rebounds a game during an injury-plagued senior season at Free State High in Lawrence, Kan. But he will have the chance to spend almost every day of the next four years with his dad, and his dad will have the chance to coach his son for the first time in his life:
“I don’t know if he has ever officially been my coach,” Tyler said of his dad. “Growing up, he’d help me all the time. He’s been way in the background. He doesn’t want to interfere with anybody else or anything like that at all. We’re always talking after the games about different things.” [...]
“I have never tried to pressure Tyler athletically,” Bill Self said Monday. “In high school, junior high, I always let his coaches coach him. This time, I actually get to do it. [...] It’ll be great. I haven’t had a chance to spend as much time with him as I’d like, but this is a great opportunity."
The Selfs aren't the only father-son KU duo in the program. Evan Manning, son of former KU assistant coach (and star) and newly hired Tulsa coach Danny Manning, will be a freshman walk-on this season, and Niko Roberts, son of assistant coach Norm Roberts, will be a junior this fall. Which means if and when the elder Manning returns to Lawrence, the Jayhawks absolutely must organize a father-son game of 3 on 3. Losers run wind sprints or something. Really, the possibilities are endless.