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Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Kansas' Self buys into Selby hype


Quick hits for Wednesday:

• Kansas coach Bill Self isn't messing around regarding the hype of incoming freshman point guard Josh Selby, a one-time Tennessee commit. "He's the most talented player I've ever recruited, definitely the highest-rated kid,'' Self said. "He's going to be a terrific player. He's my kind of player. I know that.''

Self is convinced that the addition of Selby takes the Jayhawks to another level. Kansas was losing the heart-and-soul of its top-rated team in point Sherron Collins as well as freshman wing Xavier Henry and junior big man Cole Aldrich. But the return of Marcus Morris up front and now the addition of Selby at the point (as well as plenty more than competent role players) makes KU a threat in the Big 12 yet again.

"Josh is athletic, fast, can score, and he's ornery,'' Self said. "We just have to harness that energy. But he'll be terrific.''

Self said Morris is as talented a returning player as any in the Big 12. He said Morris and Selby will be two lottery-like picks on the squad. "I like our team; we'll be more athletic this year, but we won't have the anchor inside like Cole,'' Self said. "We needed a personality and a presence. [Selby] is that. If he's able to come in here and adjust quickly, he'll have as much impact as any player we've had as a freshman since I've been here.''

• Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski turned down the best job in the NBA -- coaching the Lakers. He didn't pursue the Celtics gig. He was reportedly offered $14 million to go to the Nets, so he's not going to take the money.

Coach K gets his NBA fix by coaching the Olympic team. He doesn't need to coach LeBron James, an aging Shaq and role players. He gets the best of the NBA every summer. He doesn't have to go to Cleveland. There is no natural pull.

His family is completely woven throughout the Duke program, with his daughters working on various aspects of his program.

Coach K won a national title, his fourth, last season. He can win a fifth and create some distance from any of his rivals in years past. He has 868 wins and is within 35 of breaking his mentor Bob Knight's all-time record for wins in NCAA Division I (703).

He doesn't need the NBA. If it were burning in his heart, he would have gone to the Lakers. It's not. I would be stunned if he ever left for the NBA now that he's going for a second Olympic gold medal in 2012 with NBA players. There has been no indication that he has any interest in leaving Duke for the NBA.

• Chris Collins could have joined his father, Doug, with the Philadelphia 76ers, but he decided to stay at Duke, where he has been for the past decade. Collins' next move is to become a head coach with his own program, like former Duke assistant Johnny Dawkins. Expect Steve Wojciechowski to do the same soon, too.

"I love the niche in college,'' Chris said after his father's news conference in Philadelphia this week. "I get to do the NBA thing with the Olympic team [as a scout for Krzyzewski on opposing teams at the events]. I feel like I want my own program at some point. That's my next step, not jump to the NBA. It wasn't even discussed with my father. He knows where I'm at and how much I love it here.''

Coach K, Collins & Co. are the favorites to win the national title in 2010 with the return of Kyle Singler, who wouldn't have gone ahead of Nevada's Luke Babbitt or Butler's Gordon Hayward in the NBA draft (so he made the right call to come back), guard Nolan Smith and incoming teammate Kyrie Irving and Liberty transfer Seth Curry.

• Big East coaches voted to get rid of the double-bye in the conference tournament at their coaches meeting earlier this week outside of Jacksonville, Fla. But the athletic directors have to agree to do it as well. This would mean there would be no byes in games played, but the top four teams would play on Tuesday and then the winners not again until Thursday. Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said that nine of the 16 Big East schools are on spring break so missing a week of classes won't be as big a deal (they essentially go only on Mondays in the old format, with the rest of the teams arriving Tuesday). What will be interesting is to see how the Big East schedules the previous Saturday or Sunday with the top teams playing Tuesday (if it passes). It will also put more meaning on those Tuesday games if Syracuse is playing, let's say, Rutgers in a 1-16 game rather than South Florida-DePaul, which was the opener at noon last postseason.

Mike Rosario, formerly of Rutgers, had to finish school and couldn't make it down to his new destination, Florida, for the first summer session. But coach Billy Donovan said he'll be down there by the middle of June.

Rosario might end up being one of the most important transfers Donovan has had in his career. Rosario, who won't be eligible until the fall of 2011, will push Kenny Boynton in practice every day.

"Last year we didn't have enough competition for those guys [the perimeter of Boynton and Erving Walker],'' Donovan said. "They needed more of a competitive atmosphere.''

Donovan said Rosario spent quality time with Boynton and Walker on his recruiting visit and informed them that he simply just wants "to win instead of coming here to steal shots.''

The Gators return all five starters from last season's NCAA first-round loser to BYU. The return of Alex Tyus, who wouldn't have been drafted, was a huge coup, so there is stability on this team, which wasn't the case when the Gators went two straight seasons without the NCAAs as well as losing players to the NBA draft (Marreese Speights and Nick Calathes).

But now the Gators will have to deal with expectations that they haven't had since winning the national title in 2007. This Florida team will be projected to win the SEC next season. "It will be a different challenge for these guys,'' Donovan said. "And our new guys will have to come in with a level of humility since they didn't go through what Chandler [Parsons], Tyus, Walker, Boynton and [Vernon] Macklin did the past two years. They had to endure some stuff.''

• Florida has a challenging schedule with Ohio State at home, at Florida State, Kansas State in Miami (home game for Wildcats coach Frank Martin), at Rutgers and at Xavier.

• Nassau's Atlantis will hold quite a junket for four teams in December. Tentative matchups are Richmond versus Georgia Tech and Mississippi State versus Virginia Tech in a doubleheader at the well-publicized hotel (side note: not sure they'll get a chance to go down that pyramid-like water slide, which my children would love).

• New Central Florida coach Donnie Jones said he understands the questions about his former Marshall player Hassan Whiteside in the NBA draft. Whiteside looked incredibly thin at the Chicago draft camp in comparison to other big men.

"He's got an NBA skill, the ability to block shots,'' Jones said. "He's definitely a guy with a lot of talent. He can shoot the ball, too. He's 20 years old, and I know that the NBA gets caught up in the age thing. But he's someone that you can coach.''

• Duke goes to the White House on Thursday for the annual champion visit. Not sure if senior guard Jon Scheyer will be able to make it to D.C. Scheyer is battling mono and couldn't attend the pre-draft camp in Chicago last week. Scheyer was so sick he couldn't attend graduation, either. If Scheyer doesn't get selected in the NBA draft next month he's almost assuredly going to get a deal in Israel, according to his representation.