Bill Self Press Conference Quotes (Jan. 10)

Jan. 10, 2008

Head Coach Bill Self:<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

On <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Nebraska compared to years past:

“They are definitely more athletic. They are still playing relatively small because they are playing Ryan Anderson at the four. He is a real good shooter, their best three-point shooter. Ade Dagunduro is a really good player. He has a great in-between game and can shoot the three. He is a powerful athlete and a really good wing. And they have a really good point guard in Cookie Miller. They definitely upgraded their talent level from last year.”

On KU’s two wins over Nebraska last season:

“It’s two different teams. We have most of our pieces back, but they have really added some nice pieces. Last year’s games were games in which we played very, very well and games where they didn’t make any shots at all. I’m not going to read into it any more than that. This will be totally different than last year’s games and they will have no bearing on this year’s (games).”

On Brandon Rush:

“I love Brandon, but Brandon needs to be aggressive for us to be the team that we can be. He goes through phases where he doesn’t do that and he knows that. Being aggressive doesn’t necessarily have to do with taking `X’ number of shots or anything like that. You just need to put yourself in the game on more possessions and I think he will do that. I think it may be a mental thing with his knee. Maybe he hasn’t convinced himself that `hey, I am the old Brandon.’ I think he’s ready to be the old Brandon. We need him to be more aggressive.”

On how Rush can be more aggressive:

“Be a playmaker. If he is aggressive offensively, people are going to guard him more which opens up passing lanes into the post. If he comes off ball screens ready to score and forces help, that leaves somebody open. There are a lot of things that guys can do to put themselves in the game without shooting the basketball. His points per game have nothing to do with it. It’s putting himself in the game to be in a position to help his team more and I think that when he is aggressive it will be beneficial for all of us.”

On the team’s play thus far:

“There are a lot of things that we have done well; we just haven’t done them consistently. I still think there’s a lot of room for improvement. The one thing that we have done a pretty good job of is that we have had our big guys run and we have got into transition and stole some easy baskets. That’s one thing we have been fairly consistent with for the majority of the season.”

On Mario Chalmers:

“He has looked good. He could have played the other night. I asked him if he was 100 percent and he said `no.’ I believe he will be real close, if not 100 percent, on Saturday.”

On starting conference play:

“I always thought the first season is your non-conference and it’s the least significant. Your second season is your conference and it is very significant and the most important season is your conference tournament and your postseason. We look at it that way. The great thing about starting conference play is that everybody has their batteries charged. The intensity is going to be up several notches. Everybody is 0-0 and has hopes and aspirations. I think it is an exciting time. Any road win would be a great win in this league.”

On the strength of the Big 12:

“We have put ourselves in position, as a league, to have a fabulous year. The teams from top to bottom are probably a little bit better, the young talent is phenomenal, but the biggest thing is that there is so much balance. Who are the four best teams? Who do you think is going to struggle in the league? If you ask a poll from many of the people across the Big 12, you would probably get different answers from everybody. It’s good.”

On Darnell Jackson:

“We wouldn’t recruit him if we didn’t think he could be a starter for Kansas. We aren’t going to recruit guys unless at some point in time, if they work hard and develop, they can be a starter. I didn’t envision him improving so much since he got here. This guy has really improved in a lot of different areas. He could have been doing some comparable things early in his career but he couldn’t. His mind would not allow him to totally focus in on what he had to do to become this type of player and now he can. It is great to see. His season is only half over, but it is a remarkable accomplishment and one of the best stories out there to see a guy who has been through so much to be performing so well.”