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College basketball

Self's coaching career comes full circle at KU

©Associated Press
April 22, 2003

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Bill Self is back where his career began.

He was introduced Monday as coach at Kansas, which lost Roy Williams to North Carolina a week after losing the NCAA championship.

Self talked about smoothing over the bitterness stirred by Williams' departure -- and similar feelings at Illinois, where Self coached three years.

"I stand before you with mixed emotions," he said. "There's been a lot of things said, a lot of feelings have been hurt, a lot of things happened in the last seven or eight days at two wonderful institutions. Nobody picks the timing."

His first college coaching job was assistant to Larry Brown at Kansas in 1985, and Self called his new post "the most prestigious act in all of college basketball."

About 300 were at Hadl Auditorium for the news conference, greeting Self and chancellor Robert Hemenway with a standing ovation as they entered. KU gave Self a five-year, $1.1-million deal.

Self won two Big Ten regular-season titles and one conference tournament championship with the Illini. His record there was 78-24, and he led the team to the NCAA Tournament each year, reaching the Elite Eight in 2001.

The 40-year-old, who played at Oklahoma State, is 207-105 in 10 seasons as head coach.

With the Jayhawks, he replaces a man who led Kansas to nine conference titles and four Final Fours in 15 seasons, going 418-101. He lost in the national title game twice.

"You've had a remarkable coach here for the last 15 years," Self said. "He's a tough act to follow, but Larry Brown was a tough act to follow, and Ted Owens was a tough act to follow."

Self said he contacted three of the four star recruits Williams signed to letters of intent. Self has not spoken to Omar Wilkes, a 6-4 guard from Los Angeles. But Self knows the family, having tried to recruit Omar to Illinois, and Omar's mother, Valerie, said her son planned to attend Kansas.

Another recruit, David Padgett, a 7-foot high school All-American from Reno, Nev., watched the news conference with family. Pete Padgett, his father and high school coach, said the family likely won't seek a release from David's letter of intent, but he said Self would come for an extended visit.

Self met with current players for more than an hour Sunday night, and he apparently made a good impression. "He's cool. I like him," point guard Aaron Miles said. "He said he is a different coach than Roy Williams, but he is a good coach."

MISSOURI PLAYER PLEADS GUILTY: Point guard Ricky Clemons, 20, accused of choking a woman and holding her against her will at his apartment, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of third-degree assault and false imprisonment in Columbia, Mo. Prosecutor Kevin Crane plans to recommend at a June 23 sentencing hearing that Clemons receive two years' probation and a suspended one-year jail term on the assault charge, and 90 days in jail on the false-imprisonment count.

In 32 starts last season, Clemons averaged 14.2 points and a team-best 3.8 assists. Jessica Bunge, 20, of St. Clair said Clemons pushed her down, bloodied her nose and choked her Jan. 16 after she refused to watch the movie Roots with him.

DRAKE: Tom Davis, who was 269-140 at Iowa from 1987-99, was named coach, replacing Kurt Kanaskie. Drake hasn't had a winning season since 17-14 in 1986-87.

ELON: Ernie Nestor, who was 68-81 at George Mason from 1988-93, was named coach.

WESTERN ILLINOIS: UNLV assistant Derek Thomas was named coach, replacing Jim Kerwin, who resigned for health reasons last month.

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