Given the success of last season with players he recruited,  it’s patently obvious by now that Bill Self is a master recruiter….better and certainly more consistent than Roy Williams during his stay at KU.  So, let’s look at the record:


2004- Self’s first season.  Actually this was Roy Williams’ last recruitment effort and it ended up being virtually a total bust, with four of the five recruits transferring after one or two years.  David Padgett, the whiner, transferred to Louisville after one season, and although very talented, has been mostly ineffective there due to a series of injuries.  J. R. Giddens, who I thought was going to be a super-star when I saw him early that season, turned out to be immature and a lot of trouble.  After being kicked off the team by Self, he transferred to New Mexico where he was Steve Alford’s problem.  Omar Wilkes went to California after one season, and enjoyed some success there.  Walkon Nick Bahe transferred to Creighton, where he was a starter.  The fifth man in this class was Jeremy Case, who has played very few minutes during his 5-year stay in Lawrence.   D- for Roy and a B+ to Self for getting rid of Padgett and Giddens.


2005 - Self’s first recruiting class was a mixed bag. 2008 seniors Sasha Kaun, Russell Robinson and Darnell Jackson have proven to be excellent contributors and buttressed what is arguably KU’s best overall team in history.  On the down side were the additions (or should I say subtractions) of Alex Galindo and C. J. Giles.  Puerto Rican Galindo realized early that he was a fish out of water in Kansas, and quickly transferred to Florida International University, where he is starring in the minors.  C. J. Giles turned out to be an even bigger bust than his father, who averaged less than 3 points and rebounds per game at KU in 1979 and 1980.  He was a rotten egg, who transferred to Oregon State and was then kicked off that team too for bad conduct.  In spite of the misses on Galindo and Giles, I give Self an A+ on this class, given the outstanding development of Kaun, Robinson, and Jackson, and his fairly quick dismissals of the misfits.


2006- This was a big recruiting class, but again a mixed bag. Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush certainly qualify as fantastic additions to KU’s teams the past four years, and Julian Wright was very good for the two years he was here. Rodrick Stewart was a fairly good role player, while Matt Kleinmann has served as a steady sparring partner in practice. In this class, however, was one of the worst recruits ever to land in Lawrence, Micah Downs.  Self should have passed on this cry-baby during the recruiting period, and his petulance showed early during his only season with the Jayhawks. Overall, I give Bill an A for this class.


2007 - A couple of very good ones and three bench-warmers.  Sherron Collins and Darrell Arthur proved to be excellent players.  Brady Morningstar, Brennan Bechard, and Brad Witherspoon have yet to see the light of day.  I’d give Bill an A on this class  had Arthur stayed another year. 


2008 - It’s too early to give a grade on this freshman class, although Cole Aldrich looks like he’ll be a star in 2009. Tyrel Reed and Conner Teahan have shown some promise in very limited playing time, and Chase Buford has yet to been seen.


In summary, those that have stayed are first-class and now form the best team in the nation at this writing.


Talent-wise, the departures could likely field a top-10 team, with David Padgett starting at center, C. J. Giles at power forward, Julian Wright wherever needed, J. R.Giddens at shooting guard, and OmarWilkes at the point, with gunners Alex Galindo, Micah Downs, and Nick Bahe in the rotation.  With apologies to Omar and Nick, I’m afraid that not even Bobby Knight would be tough enough or John Wooden smart enough to be able to handle this bunch.


Ken Johnson (KU MS ’70), September, 2008