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Would Bill Self ever leave Kansas for a job in the NBA?

The pros have not tempted Self because no one has talked to him about it. But at some point and time, Self says, he thinks coaching in the NBA would be a challenge he might enjoy.
by Michael Baldwin Published: August 5, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame inductee Bill Self, Jr. speaking at the banquet, Monday, August 5, 2013. Photo by David McDaniel, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame inductee Bill Self, Jr. speaking at the banquet, Monday, August 5, 2013. Photo by David McDaniel, The Oklahoman

Bill Self said never say never.

One of seven people inducted in the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame on Monday night at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, the Kansas University men's basketball coach was asked if he would ever consider coaching in the NBA.

“It hasn't really tempted me because I haven't had that many people talk to me about it,” Self said. “But at some point and time, sure, I think it would (tempt me). It would be great to be able to match wits with the best athletes in the world, but I'm certainly happy where I'm at.

“I'm not saying I never would (coach in the NBA) but I'm locked in.”

Since Self wouldn't owe Kansas a penalty if he leaves before his contract expires in 2022, would the ultimate job for the Edmond Memorial product be to coach the NBA team in the shadows of his hometown?

“I wouldn't say the Thunder,” Self said. “They've done a remarkable job. They have a coach (Scott Brooks) who is one of the bright stars in all of basketball, at any level. That's not anything I would think about.”

Self last fall signed a contract extension that guarantees he will make $52.2 million in total compensation over the 10-year period, not including incentive bonuses.

Self, 50, will receive a $2.63 million bonus if he stays through 2015, another $2.63 million bonus if he stays through 2018. Self would receive an additional one-time $6 million bonus — $11.3 million total — if he stays at Kansas the next nine years.

“Yeah (the money is good), but the biggest thing is you will never be happy as a coach unless you know you can attract good players,” Self said. “I'm fortunate to coach at a place where the product is so good we're always going to get, at least I hope so, some pretty good players.

“I love it at Kansas, and they love basketball there. I've been very fortunate to coach at such a tradition-rich place.”

Kansas won the 2008 NCAA championship and was the 2012 national runner-up. The Jayhawks are 300-59 under Self his 10 seasons.

Few coaches have matched their college success in the NBA. But because Self runs a high-low motion offense, using a size advantage in the paint, his style would transition well to the pros.

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by Michael Baldwin
Redhawks, Barons, MLB, NFL Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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