Bill Self has been establishing himself as one of the best college coaches in the country for some time now. It seems like every year, he has the Kansas Jayhawks as legitimate threats to make some big splashes in the conference as well as the big dance. Now, however, Self is going to be tasked with replacing a slew of his best players.
Ben McLemore is going pro while Jeff Withey, Kevin Young as well as Elijah Johnson have run out of eligibility. That is four top-notch Kansas players who Self is going to need to replace not only in the production department, but some of the experience and explosiveness that will be lost as well.
Kansas fans need not worry about that, however. Self has proven that he can do it with nearly any set of players. In fact, he helped turn Withey from a generic college big into a potential high draft pick. These are things that get overlooked during recruiting time. Everyone is concerned about landing the top prospect, yet forget the importance of developing the current players — that tidbit is certainly not lost on Self.
That is not to say that Self doesn’t have a good class coming in. Self does as good a job bringing in top-tier recruits as he does developing them when they get on campus. Self, in a slew of words, can be best described as one of the best all-around coaches in the nation.
Sure, the Jayhawks will look completely different next year. Still, if Self has taught us anything, it is that it doesn’t matter who is on his team as long as he is the one coaching it. Not do downplay the importance of players, because they are the most important aspect of the team, but Self will certainly make this transition smoother than most could ever dream of doing.