Seth Davis will periodically answer questions from SI.com users in his Hoop Thoughts column.
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- I was sitting courtside in Allen Fieldhouse Monday night when I mentioned to Chris Theisen, Kansas' sports information director, that even though it was cool outside the arena felt a little bit muggy. Chris told me it was because the Fieldhouse has no air conditioning, which is why it gets so hot on game days. Just then, KU coach Bill Self plopped down in a chair next to us, flashed that charming hillbilly grin of his and drawled, "Well, if you sit in just the right place, you can actually catch a nice breeze in here."
It was a light exchange that would be commonplace during an idle moment in the empty gym. What made it notable, however, was the fact Self was actually in the middle of conducting a very rigorous practice. The workout had entered a brief lull while the players shifted off to separate work stations, giving Self the chance to sit down and chat. At certain junctures the coach stopped talking to bark out an instruction -- "Julian, jump to the ball!" -- but then he'd quickly return to our light banter. After about 10 minutes, the practice picked up again, and Self was back on the court putting his players through their paces.
You can see why Self has a reputation for being one of the most approachable, accessible and likeable coaches. But don't let the hillbilly charm fool you. He can just as quickly shed that grin and morph into an exacting, dyspeptic, slightly whiny coach who brooks no lapses from his players. I watched Kansas practice twice this week, and believe me when I tell you that when those players are on the court, they don't find Self easygoing at all.
This dynamic is why I believe Self and Kansas are such a great fit. KU fans have been rightly spoiled by the program's success, but they're also the most knowledgeable and supportive fans in the country. So it helps that Self is such a bulldog on the recruiting trail. Remember, this is the guy who loaded Illinois with the players who went 30-2 two years ago and lost in the NCAA championship game to North Carolina.
Self has recruited four former McDonald's High School All-Americas to his current roster. By my count, KU has three surefire pros (sophs Brandon Rush and Julian Wright, plus freshman Darrell Arthur) and at least three others who have a good chance at pro careers (guards Russell Robinson, Mario Chalmers and Sherron Collins). Two days before my arrival in Lawrence, Self hosted Medford, Ore., native Kyle Singler, a 6-foot-9 wunderkind who I believe is the best player in the Class of '07. (Singler will choose between Kansas, Duke and Arizona in the next few weeks.)