The show “Hawk Talk” featuring men’s basketball coach Bill Self and the voice of the Jayhawks, Brian Hanni, was back in-person and in front of a crowd at Johnny’s Tavern on Wednesday night.
All other editions of "Hawk Talk" have been done inside Allen Fieldhouse due to COVID-19 restrictions, making this the first edition of the show with Self in front of a crowd since the summer of last year.
The topics ranged from Self’s recent lifetime contract to highlighting some favorite moments of the past season. Some current players were also highlighted with the accomplishments they have made. Senior guard Marcus Garrett had one of the more notable accomplishments, making the CLASS Award All-American First Team.
“I think it’s been a unique time for our whole athletic department,” Self said. “I know there is a lot of positive energy out there in Lawrence. It’s good to be back out here at Johnny’s.”
Some of the favorite moments that Self talked about were the Kentucky win in the Champions Classic, the conference opening win at Texas Tech and most notably, a win over the eventual national champion Baylor. Another favorite moment Self had was how the team bounced back from a tough January and finished strong before losing to USC in the NCAA Tournament.
‘I’m more proud of the guys because of how they hung in there,” Self said. “They showed some toughness to finish second in the Big 12 and be a three seed [in the NCAA Tournament]. It is unfortunate when we got good, that is when the bug bit us [COVID-19].”
Additionally, new Athletic Director Travis Goff spoke with Self as one of the segments featured on the hour long show. Goff, who was introduced earlier on Wednesday by Chancellor Doug Girod, said that he is excited to work with Self and the rest of the staff at Kansas Athletics. He is also optimistic for the future of the athletic program as a whole.
“What I have observed over 17 years being away from KU is the family he’s built within this basketball program,” Goff said. “I just love seeing that and seeing the guys that he has mentored and developed over time. They have become better humans over the course of their time here at KU and better people as adults. That family environment and the way he continues to nourish it and develop these young guys is what it is all about.”
Self also provided updates on Garrett and junior guard Ochai Agbaji, since they have decisions in the coming weeks and months ahead.
Agbaji will most likely make a decision soon if he will head to the NBA Draft or stay at KU. Garrett can also come back next year with the extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19, but that decision will be made in the months ahead.