Self, Kansas hit recruiting trail

April, 5, 2010
INDIANAPOLIS -- Despite entering the NCAA tournament as the overwhelming favorite to be in Monday's national championship game, Kansas' second-round loss to Northern Iowa hasn't left Bill Self bitter.

Instead, Self has locked in on what the Jayhawks must do in the next few weeks to ensure they can be in position to get to the Final Four next season. He's putting pressure on himself and his staff in recruiting this month.

Self said late Sunday after the National Association of Basketball Coaches award dinner that the Jayhawks "need to sign another guy, possibly two if Xavier Henry leaves. We need to hit a home run."

According to ESPNU's Scouts Inc., Kansas is a finalist for three of the top unsigned players -- Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) point guard Brandon Knight, point guard Josh Selby of Baltimore and Laurelton, N.Y., shooting guard Doron Lamb.

"We have to sign us another stud this April," Self said. "It's really important. The biggest thing is that we have to have a good spring with our returning guys and get them to have confidence moving forward."

The Jayhawks were going to lose All-America senior guard Sherron Collins, and junior center Cole Aldrich, as expected, announced that he was going to declare for the draft.

Henry, a star freshman wing for the Jayhawks, will make his decision soon but no one will be surprised if he declares as well.

"Xavier has to make a decision," Self said of the April 25 deadline. "We're prepared for him not to be here and it would not come as a surprise if he does decide to enter the draft."

Even without Henry, Aldrich and Collins, the Jayhawks still should be one of the favorites to win the Big 12 and compete for a deep tourney run.

Marcus and Markieff Morris aren't declaring for the draft, Self said. Marcus averaged 12.8 points, third-best on the team, to go along with 6.1 rebounds, and Markieff averaged 6.8 points and 5.3 rebounds.

"I've had no conversation with the twins and don't anticipate [them declaring]," Self said. "Marcus said he made the decision a long time ago that he wasn't ready. He's emerged as a guy who could be the conference player of the year. Markieff continues to get better. With Tyshawn Taylor, Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed and a few new recruits, this will be a really good team."

Self said this is a big spring for the development of seldom-used reserves Thomas Robinson, Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey as well as Travis Releford and Mario Little, who didn't play this season. The Jayhawks have one committed player for 2010 in shooting guard Royce Woolridge of Sunnyslope High in Arizona, according to ESPNU's Scouts Inc.

"I don't know what everyone else has back but with Travis Releford and Mario Little we'll have top-15 talent," Self said. "It's not weird at all to be here. I enjoy the Final Four and respect it enough. I've been disappointed several times before."

Self said his only issue was the seeding in the tournament, saying that Northern Iowa shouldn't have been a No. 9 seed.

"They were a 17 in the RPI, ranked in the Top 25 and could have been a 6- or 6-seed," Self said. "I think a lot like Butler, I never looked at Northern Iowa as a big-time underdog. They were hungry and we played poorly and they made us play that way."

• Quick hitters:

• Georgetown sophomore Greg Monroe still hasn't decided if he's going to declare for the NBA draft. That's amazing. Monroe is a lock for the top 10, but he is still weighing his decision. He's also easily one of the most polite players I've seen.

• Expect Georgia Tech freshman Derrick Favors to declare for the draft. Depending on who gets the No. 1 pick, there are a few scenarios in which he could be the first player taken. I don't see it, but it has been discussed.

• Even though Kentucky's John Wall and Ohio State's Evan Turner haven't revealed their intentions concerning the draft, neither of their coaches expects them to return next season.

• Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said Kalin Lucas is facing a four- to six-month recovery from the ruptured Achilles' he suffered. This will be a hot topic around the Spartans all offseason.

• Had a number of coaches tell me they still can't get over how calm and cool Brad Stevens of Butler is and has been this weekend.

• Brigham Young's Dave Rose received the Most Courageous award by the United States Basketball Association on Monday. Rose thanked his wife, Cheryl, who he said was the most courageous in his battle back from a rare but treatable form of pancreatic cancer.

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer



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