National title and a healthy raise will keep Self in Lawrence

by Berry Tramel Modified: April 9, 2008 at 11:15 am •  Published: April 9, 2008
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The Bill Self Watch continues, with candlelight vigils headquartered in Stillwater, and while I still say it's a longshot for Self to hop on Pistol Pete's buckboard, don't rule it out. Like Self's lawyer said the other day, never say never.

Kansas' NCAA championship, earned on a wild and memorable Monday night in San Antone, makes it more likely that Self will listen to Mike Holder's siren song about home and family. More likely that Self will wonder just how much cash is in Boone Pickens' satchels.

Here's why. KU's comeback on the mighty Memphises crossed off one big item from Self's bucket list. He's won an NCAA championship. Call him a Self made man.

Of course, that's incentive to stay, too. One of the bounties of a national title is strolling the campus which houses the trophy. Self is the Kansas king.

What Dick Harp with Wilt Chamberlain, Ted Owens with JoJo White and Roy Williams with Paul Pierce failed to do, Self did, with a wonderful throwback team comprised of several ballplayers who could have made all-conference, though none of them actually did.

Self now is legend in Kansas, ringmaster of one of the great moments in the history of one of America's great sporting traditions. The school where grand old Phog Allen Fieldhouse sits on James Naismith Drive treasures its hoops like few others.

If KU decides to chisel the likenesses of its greatest hardwood heroes on the face of Lawrence's Mount Oread, Self will be there along with Phog, Wilt and Danny Manning.

Unless Self high-tails it to Stillwater.

I know Self looks up to Larry Brown, but I wonder if he ever pities his old boss. Brown is the best basketball mind on Planet Earth, but Brown walked away from KU two months after beating OU in that memorable 1988 title game, taking the San Antonio Spurs job. Twenty years later, Brown remains a vagabond, searching for roots.

Not to say Self is a high-gains drifter, but at some point he needs to check out of the Holiday Inn Express.

Four years at Oral Roberts, three at Tulsa, three at Illinois and now five years at Kansas. If Self leaves for OSU, he's Larry Brown Junior, alma mater or not.

When people have told me they believe Self will jump, I say, OK.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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