Self, KU Players Preview Iowa State

Jan. 13, 2012

  • Coach Self
  • T. Robinson
  • J. Withey

Kansas head coach Bill Self
On how this year’s Iowa State team compares to previous teams:
“It’s a different team because they have a bunch of transfers. Fans will see they play different than anybody we play all year because Royce White is a point guard that plays the five-spot for them. He is skilled and passes it. He has 18 of their 42 assists in their three conference games so far. He’s really skilled, and he’s powerful. That will be a big challenge for our big guys.”

On who will guard Royce White:
“We’ll switch off different guys. I’m sure everybody will get their chance. The big thing is we have to make them guard, too. Certainly, he’s a load. He is so quick and agile with the ball. He is a guard playing the pivot spot, and you just don’t see that. There aren’t too many guys that (lead their team in points, rebounds and assists). He’s a terrific player, but you worry so much about him, (Chris) Babb and (Scott) Christopherson can go get theirs, so you have to really guard the three-point line.”

On if Kevin Young is providing what the team needs from him in games:
“I’d say the other game against Texas Tech he did. I thought he gave us some good minutes the other day. To me, he’s a guy that if he was just a little more active, he could do some things to probably warrant more minutes. Against Tech, I thought he was good. I thought he actually defended pretty well. He finds a way to get his hands on balls, which is a good trait. He has a natural instinct to do so. He just needs to get a little more consistent defensively.”

On how this team compares defensively to previous years:
“We’re better than we were last year defensively, I think. I thought last year’s team was not very good at all defensively, but we were really good offensively. When you score easily, the tendency is not to guard as hard. When you labor to score, the tendency better be to guard really hard. I think we’re going through that a little bit. We’re always going to be a little bit inconsistent offensively. We have better shooters than what we’re shooting, and I think we have better handlers than how we handle it. Offensively, there are times we look terrific, but we still haven’t strung together a full 40-minute or 20-minute offensive game. We have to certainly get better at that.”

Junior forward Thomas Robinson
On the team’s upcoming two-game homestand after two Big 12 road wins:
“We just want to keep the momentum going. Coming off the two road wins, we want to come back here and get a good practice in and try to get these next two games under our belts so we can be in a pretty comfortable place for conference play.”

On Iowa State forward Royce White:
“I haven’t watched him much this year. I’ve heard his name a lot. I definitely respect him a lot as a player after hearing the scouting report yesterday and him being able to be an all-around player as much as he is at that size.”

On what the emphasis has been on defense lately:
“I wouldn’t say do anything different, but there always can be more consistency. Getting more stops consistently. We did a pretty good job (in recent games), but there’s always room for improvement. I’m sure we can get better.”

On how much Danny Manning helps with the development of the big guys:
“He is everything for us for the simple fact that he’s like a teacher for us. He’s out there helping us every day on and off the court. With him helping me on my game and Jeff (Withey) and the other bigs, he deserves all of the credit, along with the rest of the coaching staff.”

Junior center Jeff Withey
On how his redshirt season has helped him:
“It definitely helped me a lot. I got to sit out a year and learned the offense here. I sat behind three lottery picks in the twins (Marcus and Markieff Morris) and Cole (Aldrich), so I matured. It was really beneficial.”

On staying in basketball shape during that year:
“It’s different. The first couple of practices were really hard and the first year was hard. I was working out on my own when everybody else was on the road.”

On what aspect he is most proud of in his improving game:
“I’ve gotten a lot stronger throughout the years, and this year I’ve been able to actually show everybody what I’ve got. I’m actually really proud of my defense. Defensively, I’m helping out the team a lot, blocking shots. I’m trying to guard the best post player sometimes so Thomas (Robinson) can have some rest on defense and be able to play offense great. It’s been a fun year so far, and I’m really excited for the rest of the year.”

On blocking shots:
“Whatever I can get to, I go for. When I’m blocking shots, if the ball is there, I’m going to hit it away. I try to keep it in bounds. I try not to throw it out-of-bounds because that’s a waste. I want to say it’s an art form because not everybody can do it. I played volleyball, so I was able to get the timing down to a T.”

On if volleyball holds any similarities with basketball:
“It’s very similar. During the off-season, I like to go back home and play all the time.”

On his hook shot:
“That has developed in the last year. Coach (Danny) Manning and I have been working on it a lot. It’s my go-to move. He has definitely helped me out a lot. It’s hard because you’re moving away from the basket. It’s an old style, so it’s hard to master. After you get it, though, it’s all muscle memory. Coach Manning is great with footwork and everything like that, so I just practice a lot. I definitely need to keep working on it so it’s automatic.”

On Iowa State:
“I haven’t seen them play except for this year, but they’re great players. I know they can be a tough match-up because (Royce) White likes to bring the ball up the floor and plays point guard almost. It’s going to be a tough match-up because they can all shoot. It will be interesting and will definitely be a tough game.”

Junior forward Kevin Young
On playing at home again Saturday:
“It always feels good to come home and play in here.”

On what he knows about Iowa State:
“They’re a really good shooting team, one of the best in the Big 12. I’m looking forward to playing them.”

On playing after his year off:
“It has been a little difficult. I thought that I could stay in shape, but it didn’t happen that way. I’m just trying to find myself a little bit and keep working hard.”