The Kansas Jayhawks were eliminated by the hot-shooting Villanova Wildcats to reach the NCAA finals, but the defeat doesn’t take away from the fact that Bill Self took this team to the Final Four amid all the doubts this year.
A large credit goes to Self, the unassuming 55-year-old coach, who tried to evolve his teachings to suit his personnel.
For instance, Self was a proponent of the inside-out basketball, which is why Kansas had traditional big men who dominated the paint. However, because of the unique composition of the personnel, he had to adapt and change the playbook to feature a more perimeter-focused offense.
Kansas was written out in the first quarter of the season because of the players just couldn’t string solid basketball victories together.
In an interview with The Washington Post, he said that he wasn’t necessarily physically demanding of this year’s roster as he was with his previous teams. But he acknowledged that he was verbally more harsh with this bunch.
“But I told them, you know, if at least when I say what I want to say, at least I’ll go home feeling better — even though they may not,” he said.
It was a challenge this year because the Jayhawks were not any good “up until about probably three-quarters of the season.” However, he had to look into himself because he knew that the roster doesn’t have the depth compared to his previous teams.
For instance, when one of his boys is not playing right, they go straight to the bench. However, with his thin bench, he couldn’t afford any of them to sit down for long stretches.
“We have altered our personality traits to the point that it’s given this team the best chance,” he said.