Weekly Men's Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Jan. 9, 2006

Weekly Men’s Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Bill Self

On opening conference play on the road against Colorado:
“It’s certainly not a neutral court. They’re a good team, we’ll be dealing with altitude and it’s our first Big 12 game, so having more fans there will help, but I don’t know how many there will be this year. I know last year we had about half the place, but it was a Saturday game if I’m not mistaken. It will be tougher for fans to get there, I would think, on a work night.”

On Colorado:
“They have only had one bad score, and that was the Texas game. A lot of teams are going to struggle there. They do have some nice wins. They have done a good job of getting off to a good start. They’re very experienced. (Richard) Roby is one of their least experienced guys, and he’ll challenge for first team honors in our league.”

If he was surprised by the Big 12 results from Saturday:
“I wouldn’t say I was surprised. It’s pretty evident the games would be competitive and that home court means something in our league.”

On Colorado’s rebounding:
“They’re quick. They’re really quick inside. They’re not physically big, like some traditional teams. I think they create a big edge in rebounding with (Richard) Roby and (Jayson) Obazuaye. They’re really quick and athletic on the perimeter.”

If there will be a Kentucky hangover:
“I don’t think so. I would be concerned if we were playing today or tomorrow because there was a lot of energy and emotion that went into that game. With this many days in between, I think we should come down and have our `dud’ day, which all people do when they have that emotional high, and then bounce right back.”

On Julian Wright:
“Julian played really well against Kentucky. I think he’s doing a real good job. There are some things, obviously, he can improve on from a defensive and rebounding standpoint, but the game is slowing down for him.”

On Colorado head coach Ricardo Patton:
“Ricardo has done a real good job. It was just two years ago that they were 10-6 in the league and should have been in the NCAA tournament. He’s done a good job since he’s been there. It seems to me that that team deserves to be supported. I know there are a lot of things you can choose from in Colorado to do on beautiful afternoons, which is probably a big part of why people choose to live there, but I really believe his team deserves to be supported. He’s a good guy, and he does it right. I’ve always thought that about Ricardo.”

On Kansas’ starting lineup:
“We’ll start the same guys that we started the past two games. I don’t know long that will last. Hopefully it will last awhile. Right now it seems to be our best way to start.”

On Russell Robinson:
“We thought the reason Russell was so comfortable in playing well so early was because he was off the ball. As the season went on and plays became a little bit more difficult to make, we felt like he thought he had to go make plays when he had the ball. To be honest, (Jeff) Hawkins has been a better shooter lately, and Mario (Chalmers) has been more comfortable off the ball. We started doing this with Russell about 10 days ago, and we just started to look like a better team with him on the ball. It’s not surprising, but it is different than what we thought it would be. We thought it would be the opposite — the point guards would be Hawkins and Chalmers and Russell would be the `two.’ It looks like now that Russell is the point, at least while he’s in the game, and the other two are combo guards that are playing better off the ball. That doesn’t mean Hawkins and Mario are going to totally play off the ball, and it doesn’t mean Mario is not a point guard, but we’re just trying to free up his brain a little bit to where he can just go play.”

“I think Russell is a good passer. I don’t think we have a team of unbelievable passers. I think we have a team that can get the ball to guys in a position to score. As far as creative passing goes, our two best passers we have would be Mario and Julian, by far, with Julian being our most creative. We have a bunch of guys that can get a few assists as opposed to one guy who can get a lot.”

On who will guard Colorado guard Richard Roby:
“Without giving anyone a scouting report, I will bet that Brandon (Rush), Russell and maybe Stephen (Vinson) will all get a chance on him.”

“Offensively, he shoots well off the catch, but he can also put the ball down and get to where he wants to go. The thing he is really good at is running through passes on defense. He scores points off his defense. He’s athletic, has size and range. He has some things you can’t teach.”

On what he has learned about his team after the Kentucky game:
“It wasn’t just the Kentucky game, but we’ve learned that we can play tough. We can make other teams not play well when we’re playing the way we’re capable of playing. We’re also a team that looked like an aggressive team, a team that could win on intangibles. That is something that I have questioned our team on all season long as to whether or not we could do that. I thought we’ve looked like a team that could do that based on our performances the last couple of games.”

If the team’s record is where he would like it at this point:
“Probably not. It’s probably not what we wanted. At the same time, when we were 3-4 a month ago, I would have said 9-4 looked pretty good. Before the season started, I would have thought we would have won more games. I’m not sure we could have, regardless of the situation, gotten any better than we have over the past month.”

If the team deserves to be ranked:
“Based on our overall performance, I’d say probably not. Everyone can spin it to their advantage. We’ve been a pretty good team over the past month though because we have gotten so much better defensively.”

If the team could handle being ranked:
“I don’t think it’s a big deal to them. I don’t think these guys are getting on the Internet and checking out collegerpi.com all the time. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal to them. I think they just want to take it one day at a time, get better and play some basketball. I’ve had teams that weren’t hung up on being ranked, but I’ve had teams that would want to protect their ranking rather than play to it. Those are the teams that usually don’t play well.”

On how the team feels after the Kentucky game:
“I think they’re probably more confident. They’re thinking, `If we can do this against them, we could probably have some success against some other teams.’ I think that game did a lot for our confidence. It doesn’t guarantee we’re going to play well in the next game, but we’re probably in about as good a frame of mind as we have been in all year.”

On the team’s defense:
“In the Kentucky game, our defense keyed a lot of easy baskets. We shot 50 percent, but if we didn’t guard the way we did we probably would have shot 40 percent.”

On Kansas State:
“I haven’t watched all their games, but I watched some of the Iowa State game. They’re a tough matchup when they play (David) Hoskins and Cartier (Martin) together. They give good, solid play on the perimeter. I think Jim (Wooldridge) is a really good coach. They do some very good things offensively and defensively that are hard to guard and attack.”