Some coaches are known as tacticians with the ability to adjust and create a game plan. Others are known as recruiters who master in sitting in living rooms and whispering what these kids and their families want to hear. Coach Self is (luckily for us) able to do both. Let's take a look into Bill Self's recruiting career while at Kansas. We'll go position by position and look into McDonald's All Americans, star totals, and the top 5 players HCBS has had at that position since his start in Lawrence.
We’ll begin with arguably the most important position on the floor, the point. Aaron Miles is excluded since he was recruited by Roy Williams. Since 2003, Kansas has had the following:
-Four McDonald's All Americans: Mario Chalmers, Russell Robinson, Sherron Collins, and Josh Selby. (What a cautionary tale Josh Selby is for all you just looking at stars and accolades.)
-Four Five-stars: Russell Robinson, Mario Chalmers, Sherron Collins, and Josh Selby.
-Six Four-stars: Tyrone Appleton, Tyshawn Taylor, Naadir Tharpe, Conner, Frankamp, Frank Mason, and Devonte Graham.
-One Three-star: Jeremy Case
(I didn't include Tyrel Reed and Brandon Rush, even though they say PG in rivals.com, for obvious reasons.)
The obvious high percentage of five-stars materializing into integral members of a team is there, but it seems that Self has a knack of finding the right four-stars to fit into his philosophy. Appleton and Frankamp might not have worked out, but he struck gold with Taylor, Mason and Graham. Tharpe, in my opinion was just asked to do too much. He was a solid backup point guard on a contender, but not a starter. Mario, Russ, Sherron, Taylor, Tharpe, Mason, and Graham were all hits. Selby, Appleton, and Frankamp were misses with Selby being the most disappointing prospect I have ever seen. Case did what he was expected and didn't have or wasn't expected to have a major affect on the rosters. I can't consider that a miss or a hit. Frankamp would have been considered a hit if he had stayed and worked his way toward more minutes, but he wanted an extended run immediately. If my math is correct, that is 70% of his recruits becoming positive players in the program. I'll take those odds.
Now, I'd like to throw in my top five Kansas point guards under Bill. My rankings are based on their time and production at Kansas, not their potential in the NBA nor their production in the NBA.
1.Sherron Collins- He became everything Self wants in a point guard. He had leadership, mental toughness, the desire to want to take the key shot, and the ability to hit the key shot. He started out as an overweight and out of shape Chicago kid. He ended up leaving as the winningest Jayhawk in Kansas history. He refused to lose.
2.Mario Chalmers- My love and respect for Sherron is the only thing holding Mario from one. Mario was one of the best off-ball defenders I've ever seen. Also, you can't mention Mario Chalmers without the words "Chop" and "The Shot".
3.Russell Robinson- The starting point guard on a National Championship team will move you up a list. He was a New York pit-bull with offensive leadership and lockdown on ball defense.
4.Tyshawn Taylor- This day and age a four year starter might be the weirdest accomplishment and biggest backhanded compliment. In the day and age of "one and dones", if you can start as a Freshman for Bill Self, you won't be as a Sophomore. Taylor helped carry a thin and grossly under-talented Kansas team to a National Championship game against Anthony Davis' Kentucky Wildcats. He was sometimes too fast for his own good and was most likely the most mercurial basketball player at KU I ever had a chance to watch. However, he was a complete nightmare to stay in front of.
5.Frank Mason- In part, this is an assumption that he stays four years and continues linearly on his progression. Mason has always been able to defend, but the duties of a starting point guard at KU under Bill Self are becoming easier for the Sophomore. If he can continue to improve the outside shot without affecting his driving, the future is bright for him. He has his work cut out ahead of him, the four guys in front of him on this list have taken the Jayhawks to a national championship game. Good luck.
In college basketball, it's about the Jimmy's and Joe's just as much as the X's and O's. Coach Self knows that and has developed into one of the best recruiters in the country. It's all about getting the RIGHT stud recruits that will fit into your offense and developing them into YOUR guys. That's how you win 10 straight (and counting) conference championships.
All rankings provided by rivals.com.