Bill Self isn't pleased some people are saying he tried to prevent Josh Selby from leaving Kansas after an underwhelming freshman season.
Asked about a HoopsWorld.com report that he criticized Selby's athleticism to NBA scouts in hopes of damaging his draft stock, the Kansas coach told 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City on Wednesday that the story was "false as anything can be."
"You shouldn't use certain words over the airwaves, but that's absolute crap," Self said. "Josh is a very good athlete. Josh is one of the ones that we thought was one of the more athletic kids on our team. That's how rumors get started.
"A coach's responsibility is to promote his players, to put them in the best light they can possibly can be. If anybody were to ask me about Josh, they would hear nothing but positive things out of my mouth or anyone in our program's mouth."
Touted as the No. 1 recruit in the nation and the scorer Kansas needed to contend for the national championship, Selby missed the first half of the season as a result of accepting improper benefits and then struggled afterward. Selby averaged 7.9 points, shot 37 percent from the field and had almost twice as many turnovers as assists, not exactly first-round-caliber numbers though he has impressed in workouts since.
Self has repeatedly tried to protect Selby from criticism by saying that the combination of the NCAA sanctions and the foot injury kept him from living up to expectations. The Kansas coach acknowledged that Selby was "not as athletic this year" as a result of the injury, but insisted that anyone suggesting he tried to damage the guard's hopes of being selected in the first round "has spun that into something that's way out of control."
Selby's departure deprives Kansas of a potentially dynamic backcourt scorer next season, but it might turn out to help the Jayhawks in the long run.
Before Selby and Xavier Henry turned pro as freshmen the past two years, Self had never produced a one-and-done player at Kansas. Self said during the radio interview that other programs had previously used that against him when recruiting such talents.
"It's amazing to me when other coaches and staffs are bright enough not only to be experts on their own programs but on mine as well," Self said. "People use that against you. People use he's never had a one-and-done. Well now that Xavier and Josh have left, at least we've had the two one-and-dones."