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Bill Self On Key To Recruiting: Work Smarter, Not Harder

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Bill Self spoke with the Seth Davis Show about the world of college recruiting and how seasoned coaches tend to work smarter once understanding the sport’s nuances.


For a seasoned coach like Bill Self, working the ever-changing college recruiting landscape has become a crucial factor in maintaining Kansas’ dominance in college basketball.

The more time he has spent dabbling in the world of recruiting, though, the more simplistic his approach to landing high-level prospects has become. Younger coaches spend a great deal of time focusing on exactly what it is that recruits want, but according to Self that eager mindset isn’t necessarily the best way to go about the recruitment process.

In his appearance on the Seth Davis Show, Self explained how a coach’s approach to recruiting changes as he gains more experience.

“The thing young coaches get hung up on is what actually gets players [in recruiting],” Self said. “When we’re young, eager and enthusiastic we end up spinning our wheels. And then the longer you’re in the profession, the business, you realize that it doesn’t really matter. I think when you’ve been in the business for a while you tend to work smarter after you’ve become a little seasoned.”

And Self backs this mentality with results, having landed a top-10 nationally-ranked recruiting class with the Jayhawks in each of the last four seasons.

Part of the adaption process for coaches is understanding how today’s recruits and athletes differ from past players. According to Self, today’s players have changed because of the culture that now surrounds collegiate athletics.

In modern day college sports, high-profile athletes receive national media attention from an extremely early age. Commitments to a school are becoming trivial, as any high school athlete has the option to reopen his recruitment at any given time.

“Kids have changed because we’ve gotten softer. We want to pave the way and make it easier [for them],” Self said.

Even by the time they reach college and spend a year or two in the NCAA, players have the option of transferring to another school that they feel better suits their situation. In recent years especially, the NCAA’s transfer rules have become increasingly under fire from coaches and fans alike.

“You look at it in our business with all the transfers that have taken place in college basketball. It’s terrible. It’s bad for our game. It’s bad for our sport. It’s bad for the appearance of our sport, and educationally. But kids are also transferring in high school. This isn’t something that started in college. It’s been the mindset [coming into college].”

There are plenty of opponents to the growing transfer epidemic, few have been more vocal about it than Self.

MORE: Josh Jackson On Entering The 2017 NBA Draft: ‘We’ll See If It’s Right For Me

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