Calipari dishes out stories about days at Kansas

Published: Sunday, April 1 2012 4:32 p.m. MDT

"He's unemployed," Kansas coach Bill Self said, drawing laughs, when asked what his mentor is doing. "He's got to be around ball. ... He comes to practice, watches. He doesn't come to all practices, but he'll sit around in a film session with us, that kind of stuff.

"It's just kind of cool to have him around. I think the players like seeing him, too," Self added. "That respect factor is always there when Coach Brown is around."

With Self and Kentucky coach John Calipari both among his long list of protÉgÉs, the 71-year-old Brown isn't playing favorites at the Final Four in New Orleans. He watched Saturday night's semifinals in the same section as other famous coaches, including Roy Williams, Denny Crum, Tom Izzo and Eddie Sutton.

COACHING AWARD: Kansas is guaranteed to leave New Orleans with at least one trophy.

Bill Self was selected the Naismith Coach of the Year on Sunday, beating out his opponent in Monday night's NCAA title game, Kentucky's John Calipari. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim and Missouri's Frank Haith also were finalists for the award, given by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

"He's a great teacher," Tyshawn Taylor said. "He helps us all understand the game, understand how he wants us to play for us to be successful. His system works. What made this team so good all year is that, most of the time, we bought in and we listened and we actually paid attention to what he said, wanted to come out there and play.

"I agree with him being the Coach of the Year," Taylor added. "I said it all year."

Kansas (32-6) has made an improbable run to the title game, its first appearance since winning its third NCAA championship in 2008. The Jayhawks trailed for all but the final minutes of their round-of-32 game against Purdue and eked out a similar-looking win against Ohio State in the Final Four.

Kansas also beat top-seeded North Carolina to win the Midwest Regional.

"It's a cool award," Self said. "But there's a lot of coaches out there deserving of winning awards. All that is is a reflection of your team playing well. I appreciate it, but I don't put a lot of stock into thinking that I've done something that other coaches haven't."

Kansas is the first school to have three different Naismith winners, with Self joining Larry Brown (1988) and Roy Williams (1997).

TUNING UP: The Fray is scheduled to sing the national anthem before the NCAA title game Monday night.

The Grammy-nominated band released its third full-length album, "Scars and Stories," in February. Its first album, "How to Save a Life," went double platinum and produced the top-10 single, "Over My Head." Its second album, the self-titled "The Fray," debuted at No. 1 after it was released in 2009, and went gold.

R&B recording artist Monica performed the national anthem before Saturday night's semifinal games.

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