KU’s Bill Self is “excited” after his return from a four-game suspension

KU’s Bill Self is “excited” after his return from a four-game suspension

  • Sports
  • November 24, 2022
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  • 11

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Bill Self couldn’t wait to get started at Battle 4 Atlantis on Wednesday. Even hot-shooting Kansas rookie Gradey Dick couldn’t.

Dick scored a season-high 25 points to help the third-placed Jayhawks beat NC State 80-74 in Wednesday’s tournament opener and gave Self a winning return to the bench after a four-game suspension.

Dick had 18 points on six 3-pointers in the first half before going off the field 1 for 8 after the half. Jalen Wilson added 19 points and 11 rebounds for the reigning national champion Jayhawks (5-0), who annihilated an eight-point lead at halftime and a nine-point lead in the second half before grinding it up.

“I think it really just showed what our team is about and in times of crisis we can come out with hard plays when we really need it,” Dick said.

It also helped, Dick said, to have “a Hall of Famer in our corner again.”

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Kansas had imposed the suspension of Self and his assistant Kurtis Townsend as part of the fallout from a pending case of NCAA violations related to the federal investigation into corruption in sports.

Self was allowed to train, so he stayed involved with the team. But on matchdays, he said he got a dose of a fan’s helpless perspective while assistant Norm Roberts ran the team. He said he couldn’t even take notes until he saw the game on a replay.

He was ready for Wednesday from the 7am wake up call.

“I don’t usually jump out of bed,” Self said, “but I kind of did today because I was excited about what was going to happen.”

Emerging from the tunnel, Self was greeted with loud cheers from a boisterous Kansas fan section. He had a slight smile as a fan in passing dangled a Jayhawks national title banner and gave easy high-fives to a line of about half a dozen fans who had stretched their arms over their railing.

Casey Morsell scored 21 points and led the Wolfpack (4-1) while Terquavion Smith added 19 points.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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