Bill Self has done poor job constructing Kansas basketball roster and he knows it

College basketball roster construction has to be a tough task in this era of the transfer portal and Bill Self has not done a great job this season with it for the Kansas Jayhawks this season. At least he is aware of the shortcomings.
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self / John E. Moore III/GettyImages

When the Kansas basketball team entered this season with only nine scholarship players, most Jayhawks fans had to be at least a little nervous about it. Injuries, foul trouble, slumps - these are all things that tend to present themselves over the course of a grueling schedule.

With a knee injury to Kevin McCullar Jr., Jamari McDowell out due to an illness, and with Dajuan Harris hobbled by an inkle injury suffered last Saturday, those fears have been realized.

Monday against Texas Tech on the road, the Jayhawks were reduced to just seven scholarship players for the second straight game, and it showed by the performance on the court. The Red Raiders were quicker to the ball, they had more energy, and more pep in their step. Kansas looked tired, uncomfortable, and out of rhythm all night.

Even for a coach who tends to favor an eight-man rotation, this team's bench is way too short. It's just not numerical depth, but it is also the depth of talent. It just isn't there.

This isn't meant to disparage anyone currently on the roster, but it's clear that two of the bench players aren't at the usual level for a Kansas player. Two others are freshman and going through the usual freshmen transition. Both Elmarko Jackson and McDowell will be very good players for the program over time.


During the broadcast of Monday's game against Texas Tech, analyst Fran Fraschilla made a comment. He said Bill Self told him these roster mishaps are never going to happen again.

So how did these roster mishaps happen in the first place?

It's fairly simple. Seven scholarship players transferred out of the program last spring. One, Zach Clemence, returned, but chose to redshirt. While Kansas seems to see an exodus of players every season, especially with the advent of of NIL and the easy access to the transfer portal, seeing seven players leave was a huge hit.

Often times it appears that when players leave, it is by mutual decision between Self and the player, but last season, the coach seemed caught off guard by some of the transfers. Specifically, Self seemed surprised both Ernest Udeh Jr. and Zuby Ejiofor left when Kansas was recruiting over them with Hunter Dickinson.

This is not a criticism of the Hall of Fame coach; rather a fact. Self usually locks into his rotation by the start of conference play, and it's hard to earn more playing time if you aren't in that eight-man rotation. In this age, many players are not patient enough to wait their turn for playing time, despite how much evidence there exists on how good this coaching staff is at developing players over time.

This leads to players deciding to leave in search of more playing time elsewhere. And when a lot of players leave, usually in April, after most players are already committed, this is what happens.

Kansas filled some spots with some transfers, but remember that Arterio Morris was slated to play a major tole this year before his legal troubles. This team would look MUCH different with Morris right now.

According to Fraschilla, Self obviously knows this roster isn't deep enough or good enough. He's played his starters a lot of minutes out of necessity, but they seem to be wearing down. They haven't looked good on the road at all except for at Oklahoma State.

Self's comment, as reported by Fraschilla makes it clear the coach knows he needs to prevent this from happening again. Look for him to fill up his roster from here on out and deepen the level on that roster as well.

Self will figure this out. He always does.