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September 2, 2008
Around the Rim
Self Satisfied

by John Perrotto

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With a record-breaking $30-million contract in hand on the heels of a national championship, Kansas coach Bill Self has simple wants for the duration of his new deal.

“In my perfect world, everybody will be happy the next 10 years, we continue to recruit good people and win. That’s my hope. That everybody involved with KU is happy,” Self told the Lawrence Journal-World.

Self recently signed a 10-year contract that provides him a guaranteed $3 million a year through 2018. It is the richest contract ever given to a basketball coach at a public institution. It is believed that Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski is the only college coach with a more lucrative deal.

“I love KU,” Self said. “It’s where we want to be. I felt the administration always has been fair with me since I’ve been here. They looked out for me when we had back-to-back losses in the first round to Bucknell and Bradley [in the NCAA Tournament in 2005 and 2006] and are looking out for me after our success the last couple of years.”

Self is a graduate at Oklahoma State, so there was plenty of speculation that he might to jump to his alma mater just days after Kansas beat Memphis in overtime in last season’s national championship game. However, Self insists he never wanted to leave the Jayhawks; Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins found that to be true during the contract negotiations.

“Bill was great to work with,” Perkins said. “There were no issues at all, zero. There were two willing parties, the university and coach, and we sat down and agreed to a lot of things quickly. I think the university is extremely pleased we were able to keep Bill here and we are excited about that. He has done a tremendous job here and he deserves what we are paying him.”

Self figures to have a challenging job next season as junior guard Sherron Collins will be the only returning player who averaged more than eight minutes a game for the national title team. Collins, recovering from summer knee surgery, played 23.8 minutes a game and averaged 9.3 points, 3.1 assists and 2.2 rebounds, but was not ready to play on the Jayhawks’ Labor Day weekend trip to Canada for three exhibition games.

Crean Signs His Contract

Tom Crean officially finalized his contract at Indiana and the former Marquette coach got a 10-year deal that will be worth at $23.6 million.

Following the alleged NCAA rules violations by former Hoosiers coach Kelvin Sampson regarding phone calls to recruits, Crean’s contract includes language that spells out that his actions are a “direct reflection on the university” It also says he is to be in “strict adherence to all rules” and be responsible for his assistant coaches and players doing the same.

Crean has never been in trouble with the NCAA during his coaching career, but the university said it wanted to protect itself.

Crean will have a brand new roster when Indiana opens next season, and learned last week that the program’s lone scholarship player held over from last season, senior forward Kyle Taber, will miss 10 weeks after undergoing knee surgery. Taber averaged 10.3 minutes, 1.2 points and 2.1 rebounds a game last season.

Beverley, Mikalauskas Leave Programs

Arkansas guard Patrick Beverley won’t be back for his junior season as he told FOXSports.com that he “violated NCAA rules” and signed with an agent to pursue professional opportunities overseas.

While Arkansas announced that Beverley “will not compete for the Razorbacks in the 2008-09 basketball season,” the school has not offered any further comment. Officials have also declined to comment on Beverely’s claims of NCAA rules violations after various news sources had originally reported he was going to miss next season because of academic difficulties.

Beverley is a key loss for Arkansas, which was 23-12 and lost to North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 12.1 minutes, 6.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 33.8 minutes a game, and would have been the Razorbacks’ leading returning scorer.

Meanwhile, forward Laurynas Mikalauskas won’t be returning to Virginia for his senior season after being bounced from the team by coach Dave Leitao. Mikalauskas averaged 17.6 minutes, 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds a game last season.

Also, Buffalo will be without its leading scorer from last season for the first three games of the 2008-09 season as senior guard Andy Robinson was suspended by the school for three games for soliciting another student to complete his course work.

Robinson averaged a team-high 13.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 26.1 minutes a game last winter. He was also 91st in the nation in percentage of steals at 3.7.

“He is back practicing with the team after serving a suspension in the spring,” Buffalo coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “He has done everything asked of him from the university, division of athletics and men’s basketball program to atone for his actions and has learned and grown from his mistake. Andy had a successful summer session in the classroom and we look forward to a successful senior season on the court.”

Fields Goes Under the Knife Again

Pitt senior point guard Levance Fields recently had a second surgery on the broken left foot he suffered late last December that caused him to miss seven weeks of the season. However, the Panthers are confident Fields will be ready to play in the opener. Fields had bone graft surgery in late August to stabilize the foot after feeling pain while playing in a summer league.

"As with any injury we'll see how it heals, but we don't anticipate him missing any games,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said.

Fields averaged 11.9 points, 5.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds a game in 30.9 minutes last season. His 31.7 assist rate ranked 61st in the country.

Stephenson Transfers

Forward Alex Stephenson has transferred from North Carolina to Southern California and is seeking a waiver from the NCAA to be eligible immediately.

Transfers normally must sit out a year. However, Stephenson is seeking a waiver because his father suffers from an undisclosed illness that prompted him to switch to a school closer to his North Hollywood, Calif., home.

Stephenson, who has two seasons of eligibility remaining, averaged 4.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 14.5 minutes a game last season for North Carolina.

NIT Tip-Off Field Set

Seven teams who played in last season’s NCAA Tournament will participate in the NIT Season Tip-Off, a list that includes Davidson, Oklahoma, Purdue, Arizona, Cornell, Georgia and Mississippi Valley State.

Davidson will play James Madison in the South Regional at Norman, Okla., while Oklahoma hosts Mississippi Valley State.

Purdue will host the North Regional in West Lafayette, Ind., and host Eastern Michigan in the first round while Georgia will face Loyola of Chicago.

Host Boston College will face Loyola of Maryland in the East Regional at Chesnut Hill, Mass., and Cornell will face St. John’s.

The West Regional will be hosted by Arizona, who will oppose Florida Atlantic in Tucson while Santa Clara faces UAB.

Arizona hosts the West Regional and will play Florida Atlantic, while Santa Clara faces UAB.

The first-round games will be Nov. 17 with the regional championship and consolation games the next day.

The regional winners will advance to New York and Madison Square Garden for the semifinals on Nov. 26 with the finals on Nov. 28.

The 12 teams who do advance to the final four will play two more rounds of games on Nov. 24 and 25 at campus sites.

Final Four = Profit!

Last season’s Final Four generated more than $47 million for San Antonio, according to an NCAA survey that showed that almost 57,000 people visited the city for the national semifinals and championship game. The average stay was 3.7 days and visitors spent an average of $223 a day.

"Year after year, the continued success of the men's Final Four demonstrates it is one of America's great events," NCAA senior vice president for basketball and business strategies Greg Shaheen said. "The support from our corporate champions and corporate partners for the men's Final Four and all 88 NCAA championships is strong and growing."

Pre-Midnight Madness

Illinois coach Bruce Weber has found an interesting alternative to Midnight Madness.

The Fighting Illini will hold what the school is billing as “The World’s Biggest Basketball Practice” on Oct. 11 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign after that day’s football game against Minnesota. A temporary court will be set up in the south end zone.

School officials expect to draw the largest attendance for a practice in college basketball history.

“We continue to create special events for of America’s most loyal and passionate fan bases,” Weber said.

UMass Hoops Turns 100

Massachusetts will celebrate its 100th basketball season this upcoming winter with a number of tributes and flashbacks that will include naming the school’s all-time team and a gala celebration at the end of the season.

“It’s another great going on with UMass basketball and the legacy of great people, players and coaches who have come through Amherst is amazing over 100 years of UMass basketball,” new Minutemen coach Derek Kellogg told the Springfield Republican. “They’ve got a bunch of things they’re working on from potentially retro uniforms to getting former players back and honoring former coaches and players.”

John Perrotto is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact John by clicking here or click here to see John's other articles.

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