Anytime a college coach is asked about his interest in another job, the stock answer is that he's happy in his current position and he can't imagine leaving.
That's why it made headlines Tuesday when Kansas coach Bill Self deviated from that cliched script a bit.
Asked by The Oklahoman about his interest in coaching an NBA team one day, Self didn't rule out an eventual move to the professional level.
"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. 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.
"I love it at Kansas, and they love basketball there. I've been very fortunate to coach at such a tradition-rich place."
It's easy to understand why the challenge of the NBA would appeal to a coach of Self's stature, but his honesty could come back to bite him on the recruiting trail in the future. A rival coach will surely use these comments to try to sway a recruit by hinting that Self has a wandering eye toward the NBA and may not stay at Kansas should a particularly intriguing offer come along.
Self's interest in the NBA somewhat contradicts what he said in 2011 when asked about the subject in an interview with 610 sports radio in Kansas City.
"I think I’ve got a better job than two-thirds of the NBA jobs," Self told the station. "I don’t see myself being a pro guy. I don’t want to say never, but right now, I feel I’m a college guy.
"It is intriguing for many, but, to me, I feel like there’s several good NBA jobs out there and there are many that aren’t great NBA jobs. You wonder why college coaches aren’t as successful when they go, well they take over bad jobs. If a college coach was to take over the (Miami) Heat right now, there is a chance he could win. Or if a college coach was to take over the (Chicago) Bulls right now, there’s a chance he could win, but college coaches don’t get that."
So what gives? Has the NBA become more appealing to Self during the course of the past two years? My guess is his true feelings are somewhere in between the two responses he gave to the same question.
He's happy at Kansas. He'll probably stay at least until his son, Tyler, graduates. He wouldn't leave Lawrence for an NBA job where he thinks he's set up to fail. But at the same time, he also wants NBA executives to know that if the right offer came at the right moment, it would be something he has to consider.
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