Bill Self Weekly Press Conference

Jan. 21, 2011

Press Conference Video: Coach Self


Press Conference Quotes

January 21, 2011

Head Coach Bill Self

On if he was surprised by Kansas’ success against Baylor’s zone on Monday:
“Yeah, a little bit. We turned it over four times in the first four minutes. Then we scored on 20 of our next 22 or 21 of our next 23 possessions. It’s amazing to me, when you get a shot every possession, you have a better chance to score. I just figured that out. Hopefully the players can buy into that. When you actually get a shot, there’s a better shot of scoring than when you don’t get a shot. To me, that was something we hadn’t realized at all because we turn it over so much. In that particular game, we really took care of the basketball late. Scoring was a by-product of us taking better care of the basketball.”

On what he remembers about Kevin Durant playing for Texas in Allen Fieldhouse:
“We’ve played three times since then. The biggest thing I remember is he had 25 in the first 17 or 18 minutes. We couldn’t guard him. He was making NBA plays against some guys that are playing in the league. I turned to Danny (Manning) and said, ‘What do we do?’ He said, ‘I don’t know. That’s a bad boy.’ I mean, maybe as bad as has played on the Fieldhouse floor in many, many years. He was just incredible that day. That was one of the best games. The coolest thing to me was that we won the game; but what was also really cool was that a kid could get his ankle sprained, come back in the game and our fans cheered for him when he comes back to the court. It was such an element of class because our fans knew they were witnessing something special that day, and it was something that they would never see again because there was no way that kid would be a two- or three-year guy.”

On if he remembers what he told Brandon Rush when he was struggling guarding Durant at home:
“I think I said, ‘Try guarding him.’ He said, ‘I am. I’m trying as hard as I can.’ You know, that game was unbelievable, but when we played in the Big 12 Tournament, they had us down 32-10 with eight minutes left in the half and Durant had 22. He had us down 22. To me, that was an even more impressive performance that they had against us early in that game than it was in the Fieldhouse.”

On how important the Kansas-Texas men’s basketball series is for the Big 12:
“There are a lot of good teams in our league. There are a lot of good rivalries, but this has kind of emerged as a special rivalry because we have played quite a bit more than the one time a year that has been scheduled lately. It makes for pretty good TV usually.”

On if Jordan Hamilton is similar to Durant in his ability to create shots:
“Yeah, because he can get his shot when he wants to. Against Texas A&M, he scored 27 on 14 shots. That’s very efficient for a guard. You can play good defense on him and limit his good touches, and he still makes 7-of-10. That’s potentially 19 or 20 points. He’s become a very efficient player, shooting a great percentage.”

On what match-up problems Hamilton, Thompson and Gary Johnson may cause for Kansas’ big guys:
“Same as always. Thompson’s a very active post. He’s left-handed and can score over both shoulders. He’s hard to guard because he’s so long and very active. Johnson has been a good player in our league for a long time. They’re bigger than us in a lot of spots. Hamilton is a hard match-up because we have a 6-foot-2 guy guarding him the way we play starting out. It will be a tough deal for us, but Baylor was a lot bigger than us, too. There aren’t going to be too many teams that we play against that we’re bigger than across the board moving forward.”

On how often Kansas and Texas recruit the same players:
“A few (players). They are hard to beat in Texas, but we recruit a few of their guys. Certainly we would have loved to have recruited and had a shot at some of the other ones they’ve got, but Texas has done such a good job of going national in the last five or seven years that they get the best in Texas and they get the national guys. We recruit against each other some, but not a ton. I don’t mind recruiting against Texas. Rick (Barnes) probably doesn’t mind recruiting against us. You know it will be hard to get the guys, but if we get them, we get them, if we don’t, we don’t. That’s the impression that we have and the impression that they probably have. They’re going to get their fair share of guys, and we’re going to get our fair share of guys. It’s not a bitter rivalry like it is with a lot of schools out there.”

On Texas’ new 20-year, 300-million dollar deal with ESPN to create its own television network:
“I don’t know all the details except if you divide 300 by 20, it comes out to 15, which is a huge deal. It forces other schools’ hands to be as aggressive as they can to lessen that gap. Instead of all our schools sitting around and complaining, ‘Well, that’s not fair. They’re getting 21 million plus 15 million. That’s 36 (million dollars), and we’re only getting 18 (million dollars).’ Hey, that’s not the way you look at it. The way you look at it is, ‘What can we do to get more money ourself?’ To me, there’s a window. I don’t know if there’s a nine-school network that can somehow be put together. I don’t know if it puts pressure on individual schools to do some things, but there’s money out there to be had. Instead of whining about them doing their job, we (each) should be very aggressive in helping our respective school do theirs. I think it’s a challenge to the presidents. I think it’s a challenge to the athletic directors, but it’s one that I think will raise the level for everybody else. It’s amazing to me when one school does really good, other schools have to work their butts off to narrow that gap. You see that happen across America all the time. I think it will happen with our league, too.”

On whether or not the TV deal can help Texas with recruiting:
“Sure it can, but they’re not going to play more on TV than us in basketball. That’s not going to happen. Texas football is going to be on TV no matter what. It always has been. They may get more coaches’ shows that are viewed, but to me, where it puts pressure on you is the sports where you don’t get a lot of television coverage. Now they’re getting that. Now they’re able to go into homes and sell to recruits, ‘We will be on TV this many games in this many homes.’ Other schools, such as us, Iowa State or Oklahoma State can’t sell that same thing. Then it’s going to be hard to beat them. That’s why we have to do some stuff. I’m sure (Athletic Director) Sheahon (Zenger) and our Chancellor (Bernadette Gray-Little) are totally on-board with coming up with something. It’s going to take time, but that’s where I think it’s going to be the biggest asset to them.”

On if there is a tougher matchup for Kansas in the Big 12 than Texas sophomore Jordan Hamilton:

“I hadn’t thought about it, but probably not just because of his size. They’re posting him a lot, and a big part of their offense is posting. We’re so small, so that is probably as tough of a matchup as we’ll have.”

On what stands out about Texas:

“They guard and they’re really good defensively. To me, you’ve got to do something with (Texas freshman Tristan) Thompson and (Texas senior Gary) Johnson inside. They’re bringing a guy off the bench that got 26 on us last year (J’Covan Brown, 28 points). That tells me that they’re pretty good, and certainly, the two freshmen have done an unbelievable job helping make their team.”

On if Texas freshman Cory Joseph is what the team was missing last year:

“I liked their guards last year, but from the outside looking in, I don’t think that they had the one guy that allowed all the other pieces to fit. I think Cory Joseph does that. He allows (Texas senior Dogus) Balbay to be Balbay, Jordan to be Jordan and J’Covan to be J’Covan. He’s the one piece that is there because he can stretch it, because he can play the point, because he can guard a point guard or a two, because he can do all those other things that let those other guys be who they are. It’s always nice to have two guys out there that can stretch it, and Texas will always have a minimum of two guys out there that can stretch it. He’s been good for them.”

On if Texas is better defensively than a season ago:

“Last year, we played great for the first half, but they still heated us up pretty well. It wasn’t easy. I was watching the tape and saw just how hard it was for our guys to get open in certain situations. This year, they’re better defensively quite a bit. That’s not saying last year’s team wasn’t good, I just think that this year’s team will be one of the five best defensive teams in the country, and that’s not an exaggeration. Statistically, I think they’re the best defensive team in the country when you look at points per possession. I think we’re like fourth, so they’re worried about how to guard us and we’re worried about how to guard them. The bottom line is we have to figure out how to attack them, too, because they’ll probably be harder to attack than anybody we’ve played.”

On what Texas’ defense says about their team:

“(Texas head coach) Rick (Barnes) is a really good coach. What it tells a coach from outside the program is that when you get a freshman to guard like that, everybody has bought in (to the system). We’ve had times here where we’ve had really young kids playing, and those have sometimes been our best defensive teams because they’re worried so much about winning. I think that’s obviously the case with Texas, just like it has been the case with a lot of our young kids.”

On if sophomore Travis Releford will play against Texas:

“Yeah, he’s probably about 70 percent, but he’ll be available to play.”

On if he worries about his players getting too “amped up” for this big of a game:

“With our guys, I haven’t worried about that too much. It’s been the polar opposite, but they’ll be excited to play. I thought the Baylor game was a perfect example of when a team is ready—at that magic level where focus, concentration and energy meets to give you the best chance. I hope it’s the same way here. You can get too amped up in a game like this, though. I believe that to be the case. We anticipate Texas coming in and playing well, we anticipate playing well, and we think it’s going to be a great game, just like they usually are.”

On how often Kansas hits that “magic level” in a season:

“Starting a game, maybe 30 percent of the time or 50 percent of the time. I haven’t really evaluated it, but with us, it hasn’t been form an energy standpoint, but a focus standpoint and having to be able to carry that focus throughout the two or 2 ½ hours you’re out there. We were able to do it for a long time against Baylor, which was a big step for us.”

On if the first half against Baylor was as good as Kansas had played since against North Carolina in the 2008 Final Four:

“It was not Carolina good, but it was good. We’ve had some other good halves, too. We’ve had some teams down 25 in the Fieldhouse that are Top 25 teams, but we haven’t done it on the road like that. I think Baylor is really talented, so that was about as good as we’ve played, especially offensively, in a long time.”

On if the players are protective of their home winning streak:

“We don’t talk about it, so I don’t know. In the back of their minds, they know because you guys ask them about it. Of course, it’s a sense of pride for them, without question, but we’re not playing Texas and hoping to win so that we can maintain a winning streak. We just want to play the game, and that’s all we ever talk about. That other stuff is nice, and it’s a nice stat that runs across the board or the TV, but that really doesn’t weigh in on the big scheme of things.”

On if this is the toughest Big 12 in recent history:

“I think it’s tough every year, but I think this year is really hard. When you look at last year’s schedule going in to it and where our games were, you could say last year was the toughest, or you could make a case for the year before. This year is definitely going to be a tough road because everybody can be had. I really believe that in our league, anybody can be had.”

On if playing a defensive-minded team like Nebraska prepares the team for teams like Texas:

“I think every game is preparation moving forward. Certainly Nebraska guarded us as hard as anybody has guarded us. They did it man-to-man, and Texas wants to play primarily man-to-man. I can certainly say that that type of game can help us, and we saw first-hand just how well we played in that type of game. It’s going to be a game where people really get after it and the offense isn’t always going to look good. You just have to make sure you defend, rebound and don’t give up extra possessions. That’s how games like this are usually won.”

On if he thinks there is an unbalance between the Big 12 North and Big 12 South:

“How many teams were ranked in the Top 10 from the North last year? I don’t buy in to that at all. I think leagues are cyclical, and I think sometimes some teams are better some years than they are other years. I’m not buying into that at all, because over time, they usually balance out, just like calls over a season. You may not like it that night, but over time, if you’re objective, they usually balance out, and I think it’s the same way with the league. Their have been some great teams from the South, but in the North you’ve got three teams that went to the Elite Eight in the last few years. That’s pretty strong. The South did too, with Texas, Oklahoma and Baylor, so it’s 3-3. Overall, it’s pretty balanced.”

Sophomore guard Tyrel Reed

On the first half at Baylor:
“As a team, that’s the best we’ve played as a collective unit. We were making shots. That obviously makes it look a lot better as well. I thought defensively we could have been better, but offensively that was our best half.”

On if the Kansas-Texas series has become a rivalry:
“Sure. I think since I’ve been here, every game has been a good game. They’ve always had good teams and great players, a lot of NBA players. It’s just a fun game to play in.”

On the most talented player at Texas while he has been at KU:
“My freshman year, D.J. Augustin was pretty good. I remember in the Big 12 Championship in Kansas City he had an amazing game and played really well. I don’t think anybody touches Kevin Durant, but I didn’t play against him. He was the year before me.”

On who will guard Jordan Hamilton:
“I don’t know who it will be to start out with or anything, but I’m sure it will be multiple guys. I’m not really sure yet. For a guard, he probably posts up better than anybody we’ve played so far. He and LaceDarius Dunn can really score the basketball. They’re smart about it and they know how to score. They have a knack for it, so it will definitely be a tough task.”

Junior forward Marcus Morris

On if the team can continually be as energized as it was in the Baylor game:
“That (energy and focus) has to be throughout the Big 12 part of the season. We’re playing against good-caliber teams and tomorrow (Saturday) we definitely need to be turned up because Texas is coming in here trying to stop what we have going. We’re not trying to let that happen. We just need to go out there with the attitude that we don’t get any credit. We want to take what we have to take to show people that we’re serious.”

On if he would like to guard Jordan Hamilton:
“Definitely, because they definitely go big and Jordan Hamilton is about 6-foot-7, so me getting out on the wing and guarding him would be a great match-up for us. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”

On if Texas’ size creates match-up problems:
“Definitely. This might be the hardest game we’ve played down low by far this year, other than Baylor. They do have some big guys out there. They have a lot of bodies to keep throwing at us, and they have some length on the wing. It’s definitely a different type of match-up, but we’re ready for it.”

On how Texas plays defense:
“They play the posts straight. It’s going to be one-on-one down in the post. I think that will be to our advantage because they don’t have really big guys. (Assistant coach) Danny Manning has been talking to us about how they’re going to play the post. I think that that’s one of the advantages we’re going to have. I haven’t really looked at how the guards play. They switch ball screens a lot. They trap some. They play a little bit of zone. It’s going to be good to see what they throw at us.”

On if Kansas-Texas has become a rivalry in men’s basketball:
“In my eyes, it’s definitely a rivalry. I can’t wait. I feel like a lot of people think that they’re going to come here and beat us because they’ve beaten some top teams this year, but we have a different outlook on things.”

On if winning the Big 12 will be more difficult this year with Iowa State, Colorado and Nebraska’s early success:
“It’s going to be a lot tougher. Every game you’re going to have (to be ready) to play. Now that we don’t have Sherron (Collins) and Cole (Aldrich) we have a different mentality. Other people have to step up because normally every game you knew that Sherron was going to hit a big shot. We definitely have to have more of a team-style offense where everybody gets the ball so we all can carry the team.”

Senior guard Brady Morningstar

On what makes Texas sophomore Jordan Hamilton tough to guard:

“He’s versatile. He can play in the post and he can play outside. Any player with that much skill is tough to guard because if one thing isn’t working, he can take it to another part of his game.You have to try and keep him from catching it, and play in front of him with your hands up so they have to throw over you and you’ve go help on the back side. He’s going to get his touches, whether he’s on the block or around the perimeter, so you’ve go to be solid defensively and contest his shots. He’s going to get shots, obviously, because he’s a heck of a player, as he’s shown already this year. You’ve just got to contest his shots and hope the Phog is with us.”

On if he watches tape on Hamilton:

“I’ve got a DVD of about a hundred shots that he’s made this year. It’s good to study tape, but I don’t go too in depth with it because he plays off how the defense plays him. I don’t study it for hours at a time. I just take a look at it. Not all their games are on TV, so we don’t get to see everything he can do, but this gives me a variety of shots that he hits and is capable of hitting.”

On getting prepared emotionally for a big game:

“There are certain games that you look at at the beginning of the year on the schedule and say, ‘This one is going to be hard’ or ‘This one is going to be exciting.’ I think this is one of those again. Hopefully we can be just as turned up and have just as good a first half as we did against Baylor.”

On playing Texas:

“They’re always really good and, since I’ve been here, we’ve always been pretty good. It’s a good game of two big universities going head-to-head.”