Men's Basketball Head Coach Bill Self and Player Press Conference Quotes

Jan. 8, 2007


Kansas Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Bill Self

On the team’s perimeter play:
“Brandon Rush is still not getting a lot of shots. I felt like he shot the ball a lot the other day, but it felt like just on a few possessions in the second half. When we played well last year, in league play, Brandon was just under 50 percent, Mario (Chalmers) was around 42 or 43 percent, Russell (Robinson) was up quite a bit and Jeff Hawkins shot the ball very well for us. I think from three, we’re shooting 35.7 percent and we need to be shooting 39 or 40 percent. That may not seem like a big adjustment, but that’s at least three more points a game. We’re last in the league in three-point makes per game. Now we’ve also probably shot the least amount of three-pointers, but we’re only making about 5.7 per game. I would say Brandon passes up open shots. Mario (Chalmers) and Sherron (Collins) may pass up one or two a game and Russell is not looking to shoot as much as last year, though that will come back. I don’t think we’ve been as aggressive looking to shoot three-pointers as we were last year. However, we also have better inside scoring than we did last year. Russell might not be looking to shoot as much when their statistics say they haven’t shot the ball well. He just needs to make a couple in a game to get him to be more aggressive.”

On the team’s status entering Big 12 Play:
“I feel good. I think we guard pretty well, though we didn’t rebound too well against South Carolina in the first half. However, I think a common denominator in that game was our defense. We also very ran very well. We shot the ball as quickly as we have in transition all year. We are not quite where we need to be, but certainly we’ve played a lot better lately and we feel very confident heading into conference play than what we were a month ago. “

On what the defense did well against South Carolina:
“Usually, you don’t pressure as well on the road as you do at home, but I thought we did a great job of pressuring in the first half. I thought our first-shot defense, especially in the first 15 minutes, was as good as its been all year. We played very smart down the stretch. I thought, when we had the lead, a very well played, methodical ending to the game, which is what you want on the road in that situation.”

On the play of Oklahoma State’s Mario Boggan and how to defend him:
“He’s having a great year. Most teams choose to guard him with a big guy, but he’s good at drawing them away from the basket and powerful enough to shoot over big guys close to the basket. He’s a pretty complete player. From a raw scoring point, he probably has the best inside-out game scoring the ball in our league. It seems like one-third of his points comes from inside, one-third comes from the perimeter and the other third coming from the line. He can score pretty much anywhere on the floor. We’re probably going to try and limit his touches in places he likes to catch it. We’ll do some things to try and keep the ball out of his hands, but for the most part, you have to play good one-on-one defense against him.”

On Oklahoma State:
“I would think chemistry is at an all-time high because all their players know they are going to play plenty. As long as they are able to stay healthy, they have enough guys. They’re so thin right now and losing Obi Muonelo certainly hurts from a depth perspective. But, they’re certainly going to have five good players on the court at all times. Offensively, Oklahoma State scores as well as any team we’ve played except Florida. It will be a challenge.”

On the transition Oklahoma State Coach Sean Sutton has made from assistant to head coach:
“I’m sure the transition from a time management standpoint has been tough, but he had an opportunity to begin the stages of making it his team. That may have been a blessing in disguise for his transition because it seems like that they played better late and they have picked up where they left off last year, but only at a higher level. Usually, when you have an outsider come in, there tends to be a faction that fights it because they aren’t sure. They aren’t fighting it because they already know it. “

On the difference in Oklahoma State’s play under Coach Sean Sutton versus Coach Eddie Sutton:
“Coach Eddie Sutton used to always be a motion coach. Now they’ve become a team that runs a ton of sets. They are playing a little faster and they’re very creative offensively. The stuff they run certainly fits their personality, but they seem to run the some of the same things they did a few years ago.”

On what the start of conference play means:
“It is the second season for everybody. I think everybody sees it that way. I think there will be some guys flying around Wednesday night.”

On whether having mostly the same players that defeated Oklahoma State twice last year helps heading into Wednesday:
“I think Oklahoma State is a lot better than they were last year even though the core players are the same. I don’t know if we have played to the same level consistently this year that we played to last year.”

On playing Oklahoma State to open Big 12 play:
“It is right out of the shoot. I’ll like it if we win, but I’ll probably think it was a terribly scheduled game if we don’t. I don’t think about stuff like that. I didn’t know who we played after Missouri until someone asked last night.”

On whether a victory Wednesday would give that team a leg up in league play:
“I would say if Oklahoma State were to come in here and be successful, that is a pretty big statement. I think it is more of a statement to win on the road than at home.”

On the ceremony for Coach Eddie Sutton at halftime:
“It was the administration’s idea, but I don’t know too much about it. I have an idea of what they’re going to do, but not all the details. He means a lot to the game of college basketball. He’ll certainly pull for his Cowboys all the way, but he’s always respected everything that has gone on at the University of Kansas. He was certainly one of my mentors. He has great respect for Kansas. I think it will be a halftime that he enjoys very much. “

On the similarities between Sherron Collins and OSU’s Byron Eaton:
“They are both built similarly and were both good high school football players. I think their games have differences, but I think Eaton is going to be an excellent college guard and Sherron will be as well. They are both fast with the ball and very strong.”

Kansas Player Quotes

Russell Robinson
Junior, Guard

On shooting better during the conference season:
“I think a lot of guys are better shooters than we’ve shown, myself included. I think we’ve missed a lot of open looks. We’re getting wide open looks, but we’re just not converting all of them.”

On facing Oklahoma State:
“I think because Coach (Bill) Self is from Oklahoma State, his coaching style is similar to (Oklahoma State coach Sean Sutton) because their background is about the same. It makes for a great game; we just have to come out, be more physical and play harder than them.”

On facing the Cowboys to open Big 12 play:
“It’s the first league game, so we’re going to be really pumped up for that. They have a good team – one of the top teams in the country – so we have to go out and handle business.”

On if the game would have been later in the year:
“I wish this game would have been a little bit later, just because then we could get a little bit of a feel for the league. But you have to play them as they come.”

Mario Chalmers
Sophomore, Guard
On the importance of Wednesday’s game:

“I think it is (a statement game). It’s our first game in the conference, and you always want to get that first win in the conference out of the way.”

On playing Oklahoma State:
“Because Coach (Bill) Self has coached at Oklahoma State, it makes it (a big game). I think this would be a great game to come out and win.”

Brandon Rush
Sophomore, Guard
On opening league play:

“We’ve been waiting for this for awhile, to get started (on the Big 12 schedule), an important game like this. I think we’ve got some great competition to start league play with Oklahoma State and then going on the road to play Iowa State, who beat Missouri a couple of days ago.”

On the key to winning in the Big 12:
“Our big key is defensive pressure and out-rebounding our opponents.”

On if it would have been better to face Oklahoma State later in the year:
“I wish this game was like the Texas game, the last game of conference play. Just because there’s so much build up for this game with us being one and three in the (Big 12) pre-season poll.”