I don’t post as often as most here and I certainly don’t generally start topics because most of you are vastly more knowledgeable about the game of basketball than I.
But, I was thinking this morning about the possibility of sanctions against KU basketball and how that has certainly had an effect on recruiting. Yet, it occurred to me that in a weird way having a few “down” years by KU standards might actually be a blessing in the long run. Now, before you inundate me with the “what are you smoking” replies just hear me out.
This year we have what, by all accounts, amounts to a group of fringe guys, with no true superstars, that Bill Self has been able to mold the way he sees fit. He has taken a non-vintage team and has whipped them into a near 20-win team in one of the toughest conferences in the country, and has them firmly in the running for a #3 or, dare I say #2 seed in the tourney.
Meanwhile, we see Duke and Kentucky, with their hyped up recruiting classes barely keeping their heads above the .500 mark in Duke’s case and a win percentage of 35% in Kentucky’s case.
So, it stands to reason that if Bill Self can take this group of guys and get them to perform reasonably to standards then he is showing the world that he can, in fact, develop talent. Development, it seems, is one thing I’ve heard recruits discuss in regards to coaches and the programs they lead - that they want to go to the NBA and Coach “X” is the guy who can do that. Doesn’t this year and our recent “down” years drive that point home to any potential recruit?
On the other hand, if Coach K and Coach Squid get their usual crops of 5* talent and don’t even sniff the tourney, what does that say about their ability to actually develop talent? To me it shows they have been a product of their recruiting and not their coaching. The fact is, if you start with top talent it’s hard to gauge whether or not there has been improvement during a player’s tenure. Coach Self is showing he can take “inferior” talent and still get them to the promised land and challenge for conference titles amidst a pandemic, no less.
So, my argument here is that the threat of sanctions has actually shown potential recruits that Self can and will develop their talents if they come to KU - as long as they are willing to put in the work.