PITTSBURG — Following the end of the All-Area Fantasy Basketball Camp featuring players on the University of Kansas men’s basketball team, coaches and KU fans were treated to A Night with Hall of Fame Coach Bill Self at Kansas Crossing on Saturday.
In addition to sharing some secrets to success on the basketball court, Self also spoke about success in life off the court and opened up the floor for questions.
“I’m shocked with the turnout here,” Self said. “There’s a lot of people here and they’re probably all going to be disappointed in my rhetoric tonight, but this is a nice event.”
With several local coaches in attendance, many teams in the area could feature new schemes in the game plan.
“It’s a good event,” Girard High School boys’ basketball coach Rod Wescott said. “Just to see and hear Bill Self talk makes it a fun event. Not only on the X’s and O’s side, but just to hear his stories and some of the expectations he has of his players is great.”
Although the coaches were able to pick up some pointers on the game, many came to get to know Self more personally.
“I loved the story he told about the player he will remember the most,” event coordinator Jill Pile said. “It wasn’t because he was the most athletic person he’s ever coached, but because of who he was as a person and that’s what he tries to teach to his student athletes — how to persevere, how to be tough and how to handle life outside of basketball. He was just really about teaching life lessons and I thought his true personality came out tonight. He’s just a very real and genuine person.”
The coaching tips and life lessons held more weight coming from a decorated coach who was recently inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame.
“I actually didn’t think there was any reason why I should have been nominated,” Self said. “Then after I was nominated, they called to let me know I was voted in and it was pretty humbling. It’s a great honor and getting in is great, but what becomes more humbling to me is thinking about how many people played a role in our success throughout all the years.”
Getting to meet Self and listen to his words of wisdom was a surreal moment for many in attendance.
“It’s just incredible that he took the time away from recruiting and his busy schedule to spend an evening in Pittsburg,” Pile said. “I know that everyone here appreciated him coming, but you won’t fully appreciate it until much further down the road when you look back on it and share the story with your kids or grandkids.”
Having Self come to Pittsburg to speak with the community on a personal level capped off an unforgettable weekend for basketball fans.
“After tonight and after the full weekend of events, the only thing I can say is incredible,” event coordinator Jared Pile said. “It was incredible to have players of that caliber, and to have an individual like coach Self giving us inspiration was unbelievable.”
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.