OTC: Bill Self Stumbles Trying To Clear The Air / Kietzman Goes Full-blown Shock Jock

“It’s difficult to come up with a timeline here that doesn’t at the very least have (Bill Self) misleading the public (about Embiid’s injury).”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM
GH: The Joel Embiid/KU/Back Injury story has everything a hungry journalist or a radio shock jock could ask for leading into one of the country’s favorite multi-week passions – the NCAA tournament. You have one of the nation’s most storied programs, maybe the best coach in the game, the projected number-one NBA draft pick and a huge heaping of controversy to stir the pot. While Kevin Kietzman is being credited by many Kansas fans as the shock jock who is making all this up – and he made up plenty during his four-hour show Tuesday – it is Self’s own words before and after the term “stress fracture” was made public that have ignited this debate. Read on.

“We still don’t think it’s going to affect the NCAA Tournament in any way.”
Bill Self, on Joel Embiid’s back injury, prior to Embiid getting a second opinion from a doctor in Los Angeles, Kansas City Star
GH: USA Today had Self saying that he was 100% sure Embiid would be available for the NCAA tournament. Self said that Embiid’s availability would depend on how hard he worked prior to the NCAA tourney. If Self and KU knew Embiid had a stress fracture prior to the third-party doctor’s diagnosis, working hard to rehab a stress fracture in your lower back makes no sense. Self’s words changed greatly after the LA doc’s report. Read on.

“How quickly and if Jo comes back will be determined by his symptoms and how well he does in rehab. I am not optimistic that there is a definite time frame, but I’m very optimistic that it’s possible that if our team is successful enough, he could play again this year. That decision will be 100 percent Joel’s, based on his health, based on his symptoms and based on the doctors agreeing with that (if Embiid says he is symptom-free and wants to play). In no way will any of our players, including Joel, be put at risk. If anything, we are taking a conservative approach, as evidenced by resting him the first time that he experienced any discomfort at all.”
Bill Self, in a story published Tuesday evening and written by Tom Keegan of the Lawrence Journal-World
GH: This article by Keegan read like a direct response to Kietzman’s Tuesday show. And Self sounded a whole lot less optimistic about Embiid playing again than he was just days earlier. And Self has now handed the decision over to the player as to whether or not he will play. There is some damage control going on here and it appears Bedore and the LJW are more than happy to lend a hand instead of biting one.

“It’s nothing where he won’t be feeling great in four weeks with some rest. But we don’t have four weeks.”
Bill Self, on Joel Embiid’s back injury, prior to Embiid getting a second opinion from a doctor in Los Angeles, Kansas City Star
GH: So before the LA docs lets the world know about the stress fracture, Self is telling the media Embiid will be fine in four weeks but they need him now – not in four weeks. But how does he know Embiid’s back issues are so minor? His high school coach just informed us that Embiid suffered similar back pain last year at this time. That just doesn’t sound like something that will be gone in a month.

“On March 1, at Oklahoma State, Jo late in the game hurt his back, and at the conclusion of the game, after being diagnosed in the locker room by our medical staff, I asked the staff how Jo was doing. They told me, ‘Bill, we think he has the symptoms of someone who has a stress fracture.’ That was approximately 11 p.m. We got home at 5 a.m. and at 7:30 March 2, Sunday, he was receiving an MRI. The MRI was read by an independent radiologist that contacted our staff and confirmed at approximately 12 noon that he had developed a stress fracture.”
Bill Self, in a story published Tuesday evening and written by Tom Keegan of the Lawrence Journal-World
GH: This excerpt from Keegan’s article read like it was taken from a deposition. I would have liked Bedore to ask Self why he made the decision to put Embiid back into the game at Oklahoma State after he was seen lying on the floor with a trainer working on his back. Did Self know Embiid had a history of back injuries dating back to high school? Did KU do everything they could to prevent this injury? Would Self have been more cautious if he knew Embiid would be back for two or three more seasons instead of a probable one-and-done? Good questions that were never asked.

“The whole deal is it’s not an injury that he could hurt worse. I don’t think we would put him back out there if it was. We’re going to evaluate him and give him the best chance to finish strong.”
Bill Self, on Joel Embiid’s back injury, prior to Embiid getting a second opinion from a doctor in Los Angeles, Kansas City Star
GH: Again, Self sounded a lot more dismissive about Embiid’s injury before the LA doc’s discovery. I think we know why he chose to sound like a defendant in his interview with Bedore.

“I do not expect to see (Embiid) play again. As far as I’m concerned he’s done. Because if they put him on the court everyone that plays against him is going to go right after him.”
Frank Boal, 810 AM
GH: How can Kansas risk playing Embiid in the NCAA tournament and costing him his NBA career? Keegan used UConn’s Emeka Okafor in his article as an example of a college center who overcame a stress fracture to help the Huskies win an NCAA title. But what about Ohio State’s Greg Oden’s injury-plagued NBA career? If Embiid plays in the tourney and reinjures his already fractured back, who does that serve?

“I don’t think it’s going to be real comfortable at the team picnic at the end of the year between Bill Self, Joel Embiid and his parents.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: This is where KK loses me and anyone who expects some professionalism from him when behind a mic. Kietzman has no idea what Embiid is thinking or thinks of Self. Everything I have seen and read leads me to believe Embiid is completely comfortable with Self and the decisions he is making about his health and playing time. As for Embiid’s parents, has Kietzman talked to them in Cameroon? He spent much of his show swinging wildly at the Kansas basketball program with little or no thought to how his fantasy scenarios were erasing any semblance of credibility. But he continued…

“Every coach everywhere is going to say (to recruits), ‘Kansas is going to make you play hurt.’ They’re going to tell the story of Embiid.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Every coach everywhere. Typical Kietzman treatment of a legit story that he inflates to a cartoon-sized TMZ after-school special. What parent or athlete who knows anything about Kansas basketball and Self are going to think KU forces injured players to play hurt? Do coaches really think this is an effective recruiting tool? To paraphrase Scott Pioli, I’m sure Kansas wishes Kietzman was coaching at Kansas State.

“If we’re going to credit Bill Self for being the great coach that he is, we also have to look at the reasons why he is so good. He gets the most out of these guys. A lot of that has to do with fear and intimidation.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Frank Boal added the word, “tough,” to describe Self’s coaching style. I have never been to a KU practice but I don’t think fear and intimidation is how Self has built his program. Those who have been to his practices speak of how tough he is on his players. KK is implying that Self is using fear and intimidation to force Embiid back onto the court – and that Self’s actions have alienated Embiid’s parents. But he refuses to own his agenda. Read on.

“Something went really wrong between these parties. We can’t say exactly what. But there is no way that this was anything other than somebody either got mislead or misdiagnosed. Now we have a doctor on the record saying that was wordplay on the release (KU) put out. Using the word ‘prognosis instead of diagnosis. Everything we said today she just confirmed.”
Kevin Kietzman, after interviewing University of Kansas Hospital’s Dr. Barbara Semakula, 810 AM
GH: “Everything we said today she just confirmed.” Kietzman might be ready for a doctor’s appointment himself. She did nothing of the kind as far as confirming KK’s wild stories. She has never examined Embiid. The day before she and KK were positive Embiid’s injury was purely musculature. This is why KK is looked upon by many as nothing more than a younger version of Jack Harry.

“If I get one more email from a Kansas fan who says, ‘You’re a shock jock,’ or ‘You’re making this up,’ or ‘Why are you doing this?’ I’ve never seen this! I’ve never seen Bill Self in a position where he said something like he said yesterday, ‘Oh, 100% he’ll be back fort the NCAA tournament,’ and then hours later do a complete 180.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Kietzman had an interesting story to investigate and report on but turned it into his own little vendetta against his hated rival, Kansas. Sad.

“It’s unbelievable how many people have an agenda. And not just running us down but running us down in a derogatory way.”
Gregg Marshall, on the national media’s perspective of his 34-0 Wichita State Shockers, ESPN Radio
GH: I guess Marshall and WSU hears more than I about their program but I sure hear a lot of positives as well. I don’t think many folks are going to allow Marshall to play the underdog card when his team is 34-0. If/when they lose, it will be an upset.

“Tuesday, 1 a.m. ET: The NFL’s first billion-dollar day is over, and it’s officially the craziest day in the 22-year history of free agency. I’ve done the math with the available numbers: 64 player signings for an estimated total outlay of $1,001,500,000. One billion dollars. In nine hours, NFL teams agreed to contracts totaling $1 billion.”
Peter King, SI.com

“Last OL out of Kansas City turn off the lights. Schwartz, Albert, Asomoah.”
Trey Wingo, @wingoz, Twitter
GH: So maybe Andy Reid isn’t quite as high on offensive linemen as we thought. I don’t see anybody in that threesome who is irreplaceable. 

“We’ll I guess everyone has heard the news… You hear it from now officially… I am now a Miami a Dolphin….this is bitter sweet… I want to thank the chiefs organization and the chiefs nation and fan base for 6 great years of my career… Thanks to all the loyal fans.”
Branden Albert, @B_Albert76, Twitter
GH: Nice guy. Way too average football player for the draft pick and the money. 

“So Elway signs Manning (2012), Welker (2013), Talib and maybe Ware (2014). Among others. Best recruiter in football (sorry Saban).”
Dan Wetzel, @DanWetzel, Twitter
GH: I guess Elway is just going to haunt Chiefs fans to his grave.

“Long way to go before the season, I guess, but the gap between the Broncos and Chiefs is on HGH right now.”
Sam Mellinger, @mellinger, Twitter

“Am I the only one who thinks the NFL offseason is better than the MLB postseason?”
Daniel Jeremiah, @MoveTheSticks, Twitter
GH: Asking for Royals fans, “What is the MLB postseason?” I am sure Dayton Moore thinks this feels like the Chiefs have already won the Super Bowl.

“The Braves have agreed to terms with RHP Ervin Santana on a one-year Major League contract. Santana will wear uniform number 30.”
Atlanta Braves, @Braves, Twitter
GH: Not sure how to feel about this one. Santana sat on the vine a bit too long this offseason. That usually means his season will be a stinker. The Royals probably saved $14 million and got a decent draft pick.

and Twitter @greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.

61 Responses to OTC: Bill Self Stumbles Trying To Clear The Air / Kietzman Goes Full-blown Shock Jock

  1. Jim says:

    I couldn’t stop laughing at KK yesterday. That was GREAT radio. The more he talked, the more he spun. The story kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Classic KK. Final outcome of this whole saga? Ummmmmm, nothing. KU is going to win or lose on the play of Tharpe and/or Wiggins. Hell yes having a healthy Jo would be huge. But, KU has won and lost games on the play of their back court, not their front court. No guard play in the tourney? No success.

    • Juan Pablo says:

      I caught the end of it and he was not making sense, KK was saying I don’t think anybody did anything wrong, and then say KU did something bad, then say somebody is mad at someone???? ,
      I felt sorry for KK it was like he had some mental problems and just lost track of what he was trying to say or do . Sounded like he was about to cry.

      When you add the crazy story about Harbaugh at KU that made no sense last week KK sounds as if he has some mental problems. and needs a vacation.

    • BlackJack says:

      What was funny was how KK and Clinkscale kept commenting about thow they were the only ones who had “caught on” to this story being a big deal, and couldn’t understand why it wasn’t getting more play in the rest of the local or national media.

      Umm, ya think? Shouldn’t that be telling you something?

      At the very worst, Self and the KU medical team either initially misdiagnosed the injury, or were uncertain about it, then was confirmed/solidified by the second opinion. Interesting? Sure. But hardly a national scandal.

  2. Joe Blow says:

    Self has been playing Embiid hurt for a while now. He always looks out for his own best interests..

    “So Elway signs Manning (2012), Welker (2013), Talib and maybe Ware (2014). Among others. Best recruiter in football (sorry Saban).”

    Eh…a bunch of questionable players who were available to everybody..

    “The Braves have agreed to terms with RHP Ervin Santana on a one-year Major League contract. Santana will wear uniform number 30.”

    The Royals got the absolute most of what they could out of Santana AND scored a draft pick. I’m sure Rany will still find some way to bitch, though..

    • Jim says:

      JB, right there with you on Santana. Obviously, most of the other MLB teams were, too. I liked the dude, but a repeat of last season? I doubt it.

    • geoknows says:

      Joe, I know bashing Rany is your favorite sport, but this time you proved you don’t read him. From two days ago:

      “…it would be nice if the Royals had the payroll flexibility and roster space to bring back Santana cheaply. But honestly, I’d rather have the draft pick.”

      Here’s the link if you care to read the entry – but probably you don’t:


      It’s the same thing he’s been saying about Santana all winter: The Royals are better off with the draft pick, and he hasn’t wavered from that stance.

      • Joe Blow says:

        No, I know what he says…but he is so wrong about so many things that I don’t understand why he’s held up as some sort of expert. All of his “insights” are common knowledge, and 95% of his suggestions about what the Royals should do are flat-out wrong.

        If it was up to Rany, the Royals would be on the hook for Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson, traded Ventura for 2 more years of Howie Kendrick…the starting rotation would be so bad that there would be no hope of competing anytime soon..

  3. Juan Pablo says:

    Self rested Embiid for the TCU game over the center’s objections. Embiid returned to the court at Texas Tech, eight days after he had last played.

    KK and Greg leave this part out from the story. Joel wanted to play but Bill kept him out.

    I think it is a better idea if Joel tries to play in week or two. I would guess NBA teams would rather see him try to play with some pain in an important then just keep resting.
    At least Self did not screw this up like Gary Pinkel did at MU. when Franklin had an injury and Pnikel said he would not take a shot to play win some pain. Made Franklin look like a baby,

  4. Ptolemy says:

    “If Self and KU knew Embiid had a stress fracture prior to the third-party doctor’s diagnosis,”

    “at 7:30 March 2, Sunday, he was receiving an MRI. The MRI was read by an independent radiologist that contacted our staff and confirmed at approximately 12 noon that he had developed a stress fracture.”

    The 3rd party diagnosis came March 10. Self knew for a week for sure that Embiid had a stress fracture (but didn’t say he did) and spoke all along to the media like the recovery was all up to Embiid. THAT’s why Self got a friendly reporter to give him a deposition-like response. KK, bad as he was, isn’t why Self stepped up. Self is why Self stepped-up, to get his foot out of his mouth. Okafor didn’t have his coach blabbering like the self-important-Lena Dunham to the media that his star center was going to be 100% OK for the NCAA tournament.

    “The whole deal is it’s not an injury that he could hurt worse…” At the point Self said this, they had the March 2 diagnosis of a stress fracture. The doctor on KK’s show said she never recommends playing on a stress fracture. How can playing NOT make a stress fracture worse?

    Self should finally learn and do like most coaches and take the Bill Snyder approach to injuries – “…going to play/not going to play…”

  5. Mike says:

    Between kk’s wild, delusional, conspiratorial fantasies, along with Petro’s condescending hissy-fit that only the hard-core folk can participate in his show…yeah, it’s been a couple of tool-riffic days for acting like a complete butthole over at 810.

    So, when is the bill coming due for Denver? Jeezus, they didn’t have THAT much cap room.
    And it’s great to see Pioli STILL can’t escape his comfort level when Dimitroff signs ex-Chiefs to large contracts that overstate player value. Losing Schwartz stings a bit, though.
    My only Chief concern is what $ figure will Alex Smith command?

  6. Hot Carl says:

    I liked Santana, too, and his ERA was nice at 3.24 but 9-10 doesn’t exactly give me a boner. We’ve got a truckload of dudes who could go 9-10.

    • Steve says:

      If you’re really looking at his W-L record as to his full value, you’re looking in the wrong place.

    • hammy says:

      what kind of win/loss does it take to give you a boner? asking for a friend.

    • Smith says:

      Wins & losses is an outdated, archaic way to judge a starting pitcher. A pitcher can’t pile up wins if your offense doesn’t score runs. Ask Zack Greinke circa 2009. Or James Shields circa 2013.

      • Hot Carl says:

        I agree with you…just making a point that with this offense (or lack thereof) it doesn’t matter how good or bad your stats are you can be Chen or Santana or any other pitcher and possibly go 9-10.

  7. FJH says:


  8. Ken says:

    I just wish there was a better alternative to KK in the afternoon. I’m not a KU alum (UK to be precise) but geez prue fiction/shock.

  9. Gavin says:

    Greg, how is that you know how to post a blog and use Twitter but not the rest of the internet? Your comparison of Embiid to Greg Oden doesn’t make any sense unless you actually did any research. Greg Oden had microfractures in his knee. Embiid has a stress fracture in his spine. Those are completely different. Is one worse than the other? Maybe. But I wouldn’t know from your post because you didn’t bother to do the research to tell me, you just jumped right in and made the dreaded Greg Oden comparison. Are you even certain Self was wrong when he said that Embiid couldn’t make it worse if he kept playing? I don’t know the answer to it and if he’s playing in pain, he probably wouldn’t be much use to the team anyway, but unless you know he was wrong, maybe you want to check on that before you make the assertion?

    And then there’s this gem: “If Self and KU knew Embiid had a stress fracture prior to the third-party doctor’s diagnosis, working hard to rehab a stress fracture in your lower back makes no sense.” Uhhh…What? Why does rehab make no sense? It does seem to be the preferred means of treating spondylolysis (the clinical term for a spinal stress fracture)) is rehab, so please enlighten us with your medical expertise and tell why rehab makes no sense for the stress fracture they say they knew he had?

    I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised when you gave the byline of the story to Gary Bedore (and re-credited him over and over) when it was written by Tom Keegan. With such attention to detail, clearly your concern is accuracy and truth and not stirring the pot.

    • Greg Hall says:

      My mistake attributing the article to Bedore instead of Tom Keegan. I have made the correction.

      • Gavin says:

        That’s great, although you didn’t correct all the times you did it and you still don’t explain how it is that rehabbing a stress fracture makes no sense.

  10. P says:

    Does anyone actual know anyone who admits to listening to Keitzman? I don’t and I also don’t listen to him because his schtick is just…..so…..tired.

    I had a stress fracture in my leg in high school. It hurt like a bitch and I ran a 400 like a lame horse but it doesn’t do any permanent damage….you just basically aren’t 100% and suck, and oh yeah, it hurts. The only cure, rest. I suspect Self is going to sit Jo until it fully heals which will probably be after the season ends.

    • Gavin says:

      I admit to listening to him sometimes. I’m a teleworker so I can have the radio on during office hours and sometimes it’s Kietzman. But I don’t feel good about it. In fact, I usually feel dirty and/or angry about it.

  11. Johnny Football says:

    Hey Gavin.. I mean Bill Self’s publacist. You are full of crap and you don’t know what you are talking about. I agree with Greg and you are freakin KU appologist who doen’st belong in this blog so get the hell off it!
    Go back to your afternoon shift at the DMV. Booya!

  12. Phaedrus says:

    Where’s Kyle?

    Gagin, I do think you have an unhealthy obsession with KU basketball. It’s just a game.

    • Gavin says:

      Dude, you are not the first to say that. My wife will absolutely back you up there.

    • Gavin says:

      However, there may be hope for me. I agreed to schedule my daughter’s birthday party for Friday night against what will (hopefully) be a KU game. And I was aware of the conflict when I agreed to it. So maybe my obsession, while unhealthy, is less like smoking and is more like eating too many potato chips every so often.

  13. BlackJack says:

    And now Kietzman is in full damage control on his show. Even going so far as to write an open letter to KU fans, essentially saying: “screw you, if you think I have an agenda against KU fans (or any other fans). If you don’t agree with me, then I will just laugh at you poor, pitiful people”.


  14. nick says:

    Congrats to Bill Self for winning his 10th-straight Big 12 title. Unbelievable accomplishment.

  15. The Salty Iguana says:

    You do all realize Greg Hall has a serious axe to grind with KK as KK fired Greg from 810 after the Owen Hart story?

    If Joel Embiid was a WR or a CB at ku they would have told him to take two aspirins and go to the student union.

    • Hot Carl says:

      You do know that Greg has admitted to being fired at 810 approximately a billion times, right? I don’t think he’s ever tried to hide it.

  16. Kyle Fan says:

    I just want to know what Kyle has to say about all of this..

  17. Smith says:

    OMG, a coach was dishonest with the media about a player’s injury? The horror.

  18. Alphonse Tooty says:

    Anybody else catch the funniest clip of the morning? Fescoe pronounced Geoff (Schwartz) as Ghee-awf. What a maroon.

  19. Jayhawk Craig says:

    Where the hell has KyleRohde gone!!!. We were just messing with you yesterday when we accused you of hijacking the OTC comment section which lead to a swarm of people waging an attack on you and your nice facebook pic.

    Well Kyle… come back! The comments section isn’t the same without you… These other hacks are awful!
    P.S. I hope your boss didn’t bust you!

  20. JP says:

    GH: “Every coach everywhere. Typical Kietzman treatment of a legit story that he inflates to a cartoon-sized TMZ after-school special.”

    Greg, thanks for the laugh, I needed it. That is one of the funniest comments you’ve made on this blog. I also read KK’s response (link above, thanks Blackjack) and it was pretty humerous. His one goal appears to be to bring down Kansas Basketball. He mentions K State criticism but let’s face it, he might address it one day, but he spends whole shows on KU Hoops and when something goes wrong, he will shout it to the mountains. All this on a day when the Chiefs lose 5 players to FA and the Radio Home of the Chiefs does very little to address that (Until Petro’s show today).

    BTW, How are the cash strapped Broncos able to sign free agents?

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