After yesterday's news that Olek Czyz was no longer interested in Kansas, today we are informed of C Tyler Zeller's decision to leave Kansas off of his final list. Is this becoming a trend? After years of Self's seeming invincibility on the recruiting trail, he has repeatedly missed this offseason from DeAndre Liggins to Olek Czyz to Tyler Zeller. While there still remains hope that Self can turn it around, Self's reputation as one of the best recruiters in the country is no doubt taking a hit.
However, Self's reputation aside I'm not so sure that losing out on these recruits is necessarily a "bad" thing. Sure, they are all talented players and would no doubt contribute at some level for the Jayhawks. However, I have come away unimpressed with both Czyz' and Zeller's games, especially Olek's. Add that to the success of Self's most recent recruiting classes, and it is clear we are far from desperate in acquiring talent.
Bill Self has brought in talent his entire time at Kansas, I trust him to do it again with the 2008 class. Kansas, being the powerhouse program it is, has enough tradition to be put on nearly all of the top prospects' lists, if for nothing more than to leave the door slightly ajar. Many of the prospects we are rumored to be interested in either have already chosen not to go to Kansas, or are not seriously considering it. And even more, some even interested in Kansas, have merely caught Kansas' eye and aren't going to receive a scholarship offer. So while 30+ recruits had been rumored at one point or another to be interested in Kansas, there likely was mutual attraction around 15 times. And even once we have cut it down to there, the prospects remain interested in other big time programs and are far from a sure thing to attend Kansas. This is why the recruiting game is such a tricky one, as hard as it is to find a mutual attraction between program and prospect, it is even harder to bring that attraction to a point of commitment.
So, while it seems that Bill Self has seemingly failed thus far in his recruiting, he is merely sorting through all of the faux interests (on both sides) and finding the player he really wants to come to Kansas. And once he has decided on the players he "needs" for this team to be successful, he will actively pursue. And once Bill Self actively pursues a prospect, makes it known that Kansas "needs" you and you are the key to success down the line, it is hard to say 'No'. Willie Warren is likely on this list and I hope J'Mison Morgan is as well. Philip McDonald is also likely on it, as are a few other players. Until we know who those players are, it will be difficult to judge whether a player choosing another school over Kansas was merely a long accepted fact or a blow to the '08 class, and even harder to judge how well Bill Self is doing.
For now, all we can do is trust Coach knows who to recruit for this team.