Live Chat with Coach Bill Self (transcript)

2009 AP Coach of the Year Bill Self

Live Chat with Coach Self

Head Coach Bill Self participated in a live online chat on Monday, January 11 at 2:15 PM CT. Coach Self has led the Jayhawks to a top-three ranking and a 14-1 start heading into Big 12 Conference play.

Rock Chalk!

ku-chat-icon-75x75.gif spacer.gif Moderator: Good afternoon, Jayhawk fans! Welcome to today’s chat with Head Coach Bill Self. Coach Self will be joining us in just a few minutes to start answering questions.
Brian from Topeka: Hi Coach Self! Good season so far. My question to you is, how do you think this years team compares to the ’08 championship team in terms of chemistry? That team seemed to be able to practically read each other’s minds. Do you see that yet with this team? Thanks and good luck!! It’s great to be a Jayhawk!!!
self_chaticon.jpg spacer.gif Coach Self: I don’t think the chemistry on this team is bad by any means, but I don’t think it’s as good as what the ’08 team had. Then again, the ’08 team was better than the ’07 team. We’re still young, we’re still finding ourselves, we’re trying to get some guys to play in a way they haven’t played before. I think the chemistry is good, we share the ball for the most part, but as far as being able to really compete when the game is on the line, I don’t know if we trust as much as the ’08 team did. Trust as in knowing that you can pressure and knowing that if you get beat there’s always somebody there to help, the trust that you can run a play and somebody will set the screen or do what they’re supposed to do to make sure we get the shot we’re looking for. It’s something that will come, I’m confident it will come, and I think we’re further along than we were at the start of the season, but we have to improve.
Jason (Tulsa): Are you surprised that Xavier Henry is leading your team in scoring?
self_chaticon.jpg spacer.gif Coach Self: I’m not surprised at all that Xavier is leading us in scoring this year. I thought that he could average in the 18 ppg range–I think he could and still can get there although he’s down a little bit. He’s a good shooter and learning how to score as we go. As competition improves sometimes numbers go down, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he leads us in scoring the entire season.
Reid Wichita: Do you agree that the Big 12 is the toughest conference this year?
self_chaticon.jpg spacer.gif Coach Self: I do believe the Big 12 is arguably the best conference in the country this year. With three teams ranked in the top ten, having the best non-conference winning percentage and the pleasant surprises that teams like Texas Tech and Baylor have been–all those things have certainly made this league deeper than its ever been.
Mark(Albuquerque): Coach Self, although the loss to Tennessee was your first of the year, do you see this loss as a victory off & on the court? if yes to either, can you explain how you and your coaching staff can use this loss as a learning curve?
self_chaticon.jpg spacer.gif Coach Self: I don’t know if I can see the loss to Tennessee as a victory yet–on or off the court–in any facet because only time will tell if we become better through the loss. If we learn from it, become tougher and harder and are able to have some deficiencies exposed (which we did) and address those, then I do think it could be a good loss. But only time will tell. I’m not a guy that believes that good things come from losses unless they do over time. And I certainly believe that every team we’ve had has had moments like this–just like the ’08 team that lost three out of five.
Matt (Locust Grove, GA): With the depth on the KU bench and your emphasis on defense, why do you not press full court more? We have a great team and I have had a blast following the Jayhawks this year!
self_chaticon.jpg spacer.gif Coach Self: I’ve always been a big believer that you don’t necessarily have to press to be a good pressure team. I think the best teams in the country late in the season don’t press a lot because the teams that you’re playing against always have really good guards late in the season. We prefer to pressure instead of pressing–even though we have and we will press sometimes, that is not our staple. Our staple is one or less shots every possession. Sometimes pressing allows easy opportunities for baskets.
Cris Chamberlain (Salina}: How many people scout future teams,and how many people gather info on future recruiting prospects?
self_chaticon.jpg spacer.gif Coach Self: Basically one coach–either Coach Manning, Coach Dooley or Coach Townsend–scouts our future opponents. We divide that up equally. They take the team and basically scout them anywhere from a week to three weeks out. And then I get involved with the scout right after the game we just played prior. It’s really two people–myself and whomever is in charge of the scout. As far as recruiting we allow and want any of our coaches to gather information on recruiting prospects and put a book together for them. Then we usually will assign either Joe, Kurtis or Danny the responsibility of being the contact person for that specific recruit.
Robbie De Soto, KS: How will you be prepared later on in the season when it comes to playing real teams like K-State and Texas?
self_chaticon.jpg spacer.gif Coach Self: I believe we’ve already played some `real’ teams. But I know playing Tennessee and playing in that environment was a real game and we didn’t handle it very well. Playing K-State, Texas, other teams in our league, we’re going to have to play better than we did against Tennessee. I do think our non-conference schedule when you look at it–although there are a couple of teams on there that aren’t having the year we anticipated coming in–I do think it’s a good preparation schedule for our conference.
Casey (Wichita): Coach Self- First of all congrats on the recent win against Cornell. I was able to make it up for my first game even though I’ve been a lifelong fan. My question is: With the tight game against Cornell, what changes need to be made to better prepare us going into Big 12 Conference play?
self_chaticon.jpg spacer.gif Coach Self: I think in the win against Cornell and the loss against Tennessee some things became very evident. One, we rely on Sherron in those situations too much–not that he didn’t deliver, but still yet we have to have a little more balance. I also feel like the thing that really can help us be prepared going forward is the fact that this team hasn’t gone through adversity. As many times as we try to put them in situations where it’s tough, the bottom line is that they haven’t lost much. They haven’t really played in a lot of pressure-packed games because last year was a year in which they surpassed so many expectations, everybody was patting them on the back and they really didn’t deal with much adversity. I think the Tennessee loss can help us with that and make us tougher. The whole deal with me is if we don’t guard, if we don’t rebound, if we don’t get 70% of the 50/50 balls we’ll never reach our potential. So those are the things we need to improve on.
Greg, Gold Canyon, AZ: What is your take on the twins play? They appear to be throwing the ball at the basket, they have missed numerous “bunny’s” and have not dunked anything but a fast break shot in games. Why?
self_chaticon.jpg spacer.gif Coach Self: I’ve been pleased with the twins play for the most part up until around Christmas. Up until Christmas I thought they were very good, they were hungry, played tougher, stronger, they were rebounding the ball and because of those things they scored the ball better. Since Christmas I don’t think they’ve played quite as well because of the intangible things. They have to get that whether they’re defending, rebounding, or doing the things that aren’t scoring-involved that those things will lead to them scoring more points. They have to be an asset to Cole from a rebounding standpoint because right now we’re relying on Cole way too much to go get every board.
Jamie (Boston, Mass.): Do you think the team play and intensity example of the depleted Vols team yesterday will trigger your players to improve their team play, passing and defense, for the rest of the season? In other words, was this a good teaching moment that will make Kansas a better team for the remainder of the season?
self_chaticon.jpg spacer.gif Coach Self: I believe that for the most part our team plays with great energy and intensity. I did not believe that to be the case against Tennessee. I thought that Tennessee controlled the game and deserved to win. If we won that game, then the best team on Sunday would not have won even though we had our chances. The best players don’t always make for the best teams because you have to have guys that sacrifice and understand their roles. I thought that we played soft and I thought that we didn’t play together as well as we should and going on the road those are two things we have to get better at.
ku-chat-icon-75x75.gif spacer.gif

Moderator: That’s all the time Coach Self has for today–thanks to everyone who participated and submitted questions and thanks to Coach Self for giving us a few minutes of his time. Please check and for information on upcoming live chats.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!