Men's Basketball Head Coach Bill Self and Players Press Conference

Jan. 4, 2007


Kansas Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Bill Self

On the starting line-up for the weekend:
“There won’t be anything crazy. Russell Robinson has been dinged up, but he did practice today. I can’t see anything right now unless something happens between now and then.”

On what he hopes to see this weekend with a road game:
“This will be a good road test. We didn’t play very well in our last road game and we still had a chance to win, as poorly as we finished. Hopefully, we’ll perform a lot better in this game. We’re looking forward to getting away. We have won at home even though we haven’t been overly impressive in some of the outings, but to find your true worth as a team, you have to win away from home.”

On developing a killer instinct mentality:
“We have talked about. We need to develop it. Each team is different. Last year’s squad had that for the most part and this year’s team hasn’t quite got it yet. Last year’s team at the same stage did not have it though. We’re going to get there, but we’re just not there yet. We need to understand that when you’re up eight and you have the ball with momentum, that it is very important to have a great possession because the other team may crack. Instead, if you have an unforced error and they run-out for a lay-up, you lose all momentum. We still haven’t figured all that stuff out, but we’ll get there. It is a collective team effort. “

On South Carolina:
“They are not an overly thick team. They are similar to Rhode Island in a lot of aspects. They have very quick athletes. Tre’ Kelley is a really good guard that gives everyone problems. Their big guys also shoot threes, similar to Rhode Island, and I thought we defended them well for a half and very poorly for a half. There are a lot of similarities there.”

On whether the team has got what they had hoped for out of non-conference play:
“I think so. I think this next game will be the finishing touch with what we had hoped to accomplish with our non-conference schedule. Obviously, we still need to win on the road and this gives us an opportunity to win one before league play.”

On the play of South Carolina’s Tre’ Kelley:
“I think he’ll play despite whatever the case may be surrounding his ankle. I have watched him play from afar and he is a competitive guy. I can’t imagine him staying out long unless he has to. It would be like trying to hold out one of our guys. All those guys want to be out there. It’s also their last game before conference play and he’s a senior so he won’t want to miss any games.”

On what he hopes to get from the team before the start of league play:
“I would say toughness, to play well and play for the entire 40 minutes.”

On the development of Darrell Arthur:
“I don’t think his recent play has anything to do with not starting. I think he has hit a little bit of a freshman `funk,’ but he’ll get out of it. He went through a period where he was 6-of-26 from the field and before that he was one of those guys that could hit 20-of-26. He’ll be fine.”

On his New Year’s Resolutions as a coach:
“For me personally, with the team, I need to be more patient and more positive. I think those are two things I could do that would really help the team.”

On Mario Chalmers’ potential:
“He has the potential to be one of the better guards to play here in quite some time. I don’t know what level it’s going to end up at. I like all our guys to do as well individually as they can. There is a next step that you have to take to get mentioned as a possible All-American or a high draft pick. We have kids that have potential to take that next step, but we haven’t taken it yet. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but at this juncture in their career, we need to let them mature and develop at the rate they need to develop at. Mario has a chance to be as good of a guard since I have been here. Kirk Hinrich was not an All-American. When you start talking about the top-five players in the nation, that is a pretty strong stance. Our guys could become that, but there is still another step that they have to take. The biggest thing that allows players to earn individual honors is for the team to be very good. The key is for our team to do very well, and for that to happen, our players need to score.”

On Julian Wright’s performance after being benched:
“He’s fine. It was no big deal. I thought he reacted well. He scored the most points in a half by a Kansas player since Nick Collison, so I thought he reacted very well to it.”

On what the team learned from the road loss at DePaul:
“We learned that we are not going to play well all the time. And even though we did not play well, we still were up eight with under four minutes to go. We learned we need to finish, get key stops, take care of the ball and execute on key possessions. To me, that is the biggest thing we have to get our guys doing away from home. We need to understand the importance of every possession and playing all 40 minutes. You usually don’t catch the breaks that you do at home. There is a natural comfort zone that teams get playing at home that is not there when you play on the road.”

On the upcoming schedule featuring several road games:
“The mindset needs to be the same at home and on the road. We may tweak the gameplan, but we want our mindset to be the same all the time. The thing I want our mindset to be is to not focus on the score. We don’t need to study the score the first 35 minutes. There is a certain way we need to play and then in the last five minutes, you play to the situation of the game. Whether you’re home or away, you should take that approach. The one thing I can say is that huddles are usually tighter on the road. There is a more of an `us against the word’ mentality on the road. The locker room on the road after a win is far more fun than the locker room at home after a win. It means more because you have gone into someone’s house and taken from them. “

On whether the Big 12 needs a Kansas victory:
“If you look at the RPI, our league is not as good. But how do you really get a realistic RPI right now, especially looking at the rankings of strength of schedule? There are so many things that go into the RPI. Our strength of schedule isn’t very high, but we have played several teams that are picked near the top of their respective conferences. But some of those schools play hard schedules, lose games and that affects our RPI and makes us look bad. I think there is so much parity right now.”

“Take a look at the Big 12. Look at where Missouri was picked in our league: 11th. They have had a very good non-conference season. Texas A&M, Kansas State and Oklahoma State have all had better non-conference seasons than was expected. Nebraska has been much better than everyone thought. I think our league is right about where we thought it would be, but a little bit stronger. “

On the lack of challenging games in the non-conference season:
“We never have a ton of challenging non-conference games. Two is probably the number. There is obvious reasons because of that, mainly the budget. It is hard to give up that kind of money to go and play a home-and-home series with somebody. And the teams we do have those series with are very good. You shouldn’t have to apologize for that kind of non-conference schedule.”

Kansas Player Quotes

Julian Wright
Sophomore, Forward
On differences between playing on the road versus at home:
“We just have to focus on running our offense and controlling the tempo from the start. I think our focus should be to get easy buckets, especially at the start of the game.”

On conference play coming up:
“We’re more aware of what other teams (in the conference) are doing now than we have been.”

On what the South Carolina game means:
“This game will definitely get us ready for the Big 12. With the way that they (South Carolina) play and the way their fans get involved is going to be good preparation for us.”

On South Carolina:
“We know that they have really good guard play, they get out and pressure a lot. In order to play well in the conference we have to play under pressure and pay attention to detail and just run our offense.”

Mario Chalmers
Sophomore, Guard
On South Carolina:
“We haven’t done a whole lot of scouting report work on South Carolina yet, but from what I’ve heard, they’re a pretty good team. We just have to be prepared to play.”

On the impending conference season:
“You see other conferences playing already, so you know ours is coming up. But we can’t look past South Carolina, we have to go play South Carolina first and then get ready for Oklahoma State.”

On the importance of the South Carolina game:
“It’s very important to have momentum going into conference play. We have to keep the momentum up to keep us going and be ready for the next game.”

Brandon Rush
Sophomore, Guard
On preparing for a game now compared to when class is in session:
“I think it’s a lot more comfortable for a lot of us, because you can concentrate on basketball instead of school right now. I think it helps us out a lot in focusing and getting our minds right for the game.”

On how difficult it is to adjust once classes start again:
“It makes it a lot tougher because you have to worry about going to-and-from classes, doing homework and studying. It takes the focus off basketball a little bit.”

On what the South Carolina game means:
“I think South Carolina can prove a lot to us. It would be a good win for us, because we lost our last road game. I think it would be good for us to go out there and get a win. I think it would prove that we can go out and win in a hostile environment like South Carolina.”

On South Carolina:
“I know they have a great guard in Tré Kelley, but that’s about it. I know they run a 1-3-1 zone, but we haven’t really gone over the scouting report yet.”