Weekly Men's Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Jan. 19, 2006

Head Coach Bill Self

On Kansas’ big guys:
“When you have big guys, they have to be able to make people guard them and force help. They also have to be able to score when they have opportunities and rebound the ball as well. I don’t think we’ve done that as well as maybe we had at points in time earlier in the season.”

“Our big guys against Missouri combined for about 34 points, if I’m not mistaken, which is pretty good. We have to get more consistent play from those guys.”

On C.J. Giles:
“I think he has to play to his strengths, which he doesn’t always do. His strengths are his quickness, length and athletic ability, but he still has to like contact. He’s done a better job of getting fouled. Still, for a guy of his size I think he’s only made 10 or so free throws on the season. He has to be able to get fouled. He’s also not blocking shots like he was earlier in the season. I think if he gets back to focusing on running, defense and blocking shots, I think he’ll score more points offensively.”

“I still think he’s a thinker and not someone who reacts, and when you have to think about it you’re not nearly as quick as when you’re reacting. He spends too much time trying to decide if he’s in the right spot as opposed to just reacting and playing.”

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that going into the season we thought Sasha (Kaun) and C.J. would be giving us more production in terms of points and rebounds. It doesn’t always go as scripted. I don’t think it’s set us back, but I don’t think we’re the team that we can be without those two guys producing. We went into the season thinking C.J. was our best player, and he still could be. He’s our most talented player — our best prospect. I would still say that today. I don’t think he has performed like he knows he can, and I think a lot of that has to do with youth. He and Sasha have never been asked to score points before. They’ve scored a lot in practice, but they haven’t scored when the lights are on, and that’s a big difference.”

“I think confidence with C.J. becomes an issue, maybe. And possibly with Sasha as well. I’m always concerned with young guys’ confidence that really have never had an opportunity to play through slumps. It becomes more of an issue when guys go from having a minor role to a major role.”

On getting the opponents’ best opportunities each game:
“Missouri played great the other day. We defended them pretty well for the most part. They played very well, and we had to play exceptionally well in that place in order to be up seven with 1:30 left in the game. Unfortunately, we didn’t close and they made all the plays late. When you’re a team that has won as much over time as Kansas has, it’s always a big game for opponents. I don’t know if it’s always their best shot, but it’s usually a pretty good one, and I’ll know we’ll get that from Nebraska on Saturday. That comes with the territory at a lot of places. We did not lose the game because we got a good shot from Missouri. We played very well. That second half was the best half we’ve played all year, better than Kentucky.”

On what a narrow victory would do for the team’s confidence:
“We can’t script victories to where we hope they’re narrow. Our confidence is not shaken. The guys played very well. Our confidence would have been shaken after the Kansas State game. My concern is more other peoples’ confidence with this team. That’s when you can sense how the players react. We perceive ourselves as a good team. Our players perceive themselves as good players. When you start wondering how other people perceive you, that’s when I think doubt can come into play.”

On Christian Moody:
“I’ve talked with Christian and his dad a lot lately. The first thing I told him was that I’d rather have him on the free throw line than anyone else. He can handle it better than anyone. He’s a senior, and the guy that has played the majority of the minutes needs to be in those situations more than the guy that has never been there before. I’m okay with him being in that situation again. I know [missing those shots] hurt. It crushed him. But if the kid wasn’t tough, how else could a walk-on from Asheville, N.C., come in here to get an education and start for Kansas. He can handle this. He has to be positive and understand that we’re a lot better off because of how he has performed. Guys miss sometimes. I think he can handle it, and he’ll bounce back from it. He told me last night that he has received so much support from family and friends that I think it made him realize he can work through this.”

On Nebraska:
“I think their defense is really good. They guard differently than most teams in our league. They really guard to the scouting report.”

On Nebraska F Wes Wilkison:
“If the league gave out a most-improved player award, I would say based on the stats and his play from this year to last that he would have to be a guy that would be strongly considered. He’s a nice player.”

On Nebraska G Joe McCray:
“I think McCray is a very good scorer. He has great range. I don’t think he’s averaging quite as much as he did last year, but they also have better balance this year. He’s a good player.”

On the team’s free throw shooting:
“I think one thing that all shooters struggle with is when they don’t shoot very many in games. When you’re only shooting two per game, it’s different because you don’t get a chance to get into a rhythm. It’s harder to shoot when you only shoot a few a game. That’s one thing that has hurt us. Our big guys are better shooters than what they have recently shot.”