Weekly Men's Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Jan. 23, 2006

Head Coach Bill Self

On Texas A&M:
“Coach (Billy) Gillispie’s definition of toughness is if you flinch going for a loose ball — if you’re the first one on the floor. Those are the the kinds of things Billy equates to having a good team, and those are things they do very well. I think doing those kinds of things, over time, give you the best chance to have a good team. My definition is the same. That’s how he thinks, and that’s how I’ve been taught to think. People get so caught up in toughness being physical, but the biggest part is the mental aspect and conditioning your brain to play a certain way every possession.”

On taking charges:
“We have attempted a lot. Against Missouri we attempted six or seven. That’s an area we’re getting better in, but taking charges has not been one of the strengths of our team this year. We’ve been a much better shot blocking team.”

If players who have played football in the past are more tough:
“Usually guys who played multiple sports in high school, primarily football, sometimes come in with a better mindset of accepting contact and playing more physical.”

If he has considered pressing more:
“That’s not who we are. We’re going to hang our hat on being very sound defensively and rebounding. We don’t need to spread the floor consistently to give other teams the opportunity to attack us with numbers. We’re not a rotation/rebounding team. We’re doing a pretty good job of attacking and pressuring teams. We pick our moments pretty well when we do extend.

On rebounding from the four and five positions:
“We’ll definitely make that a point of emphasis. We didn’t practice yesterday so we haven’t done anything yet. We’ll show them film and make it a point. Julian (Wright) and Christian (Moody) will do what they can from an undersized-big guy standpoint, but those other three (Sasha Kaun, C.J. Giles and Darnell Jackson), there’s no excuse for them not to get at least 15 rebounds a game between them. If they combine for 45 minutes, those guys should get close to 15 rebounds a game, and that just hasn’t been happening. I don’t think we’re as aggressive as we need to be at those three spots. Darnell has been by far the most aggressive.”

On Darnell Jackson:
“With the exception of a few moments, he’s been playing like this since the start of practice. He’s probably a little more confident now since he’s been in games and gotten a little more experience.”

On Julian Wright:
“The ceiling is very high on him. He has a lot of things he needs to improve upon, and he would be the first guy to tell you that. Julian has been a guy that if it weren’t for some quirky things, he would be playing 22 or 23 minutes a game since day one — the quirky things being a hurt foot, sickness and bad back spasms. He’s one of those guys that I think you just have to put out there and trust. It may not be perfect the whole time, but over time I do think he is a guy that will deliver. I see his minutes continuing to go up. He has improved a ton. There’s not a big guy in America that passes the ball better than Julian. He needs to become a better free throw shooter, but right now I feel pretty confident with him out there.”

On the freshmen’s coachability:
“They are all pretty coachable. I would say Brandon (Rush), without question, has been the easiest to coach of the four as far as being able to tell him what to do and him doing it. Mario (Chalmers) has really come around and bought in and Julian has done the same, and hopefully Micah (Downs) is on that track as well. I think they’re all pretty easy to coach.”

“I think we’ve gotten to a point where everyone cares a lot. The competitive spirit on this team is a lot better than what it was a month ago. A big reason is because our young guys have become a lot more competitive.”

On Texas A&M guard Acie Law:
“He’s really good. He’s a great athlete and can score with either hand. He’s one of the premiere players in our league.”

On Mario Chalmers and Russell Robinson:
“They’re both still young and learning. Russell has really gotten to be a sound defender in the halfcourt, and Mario is getting there. They both have very active hands and create a lot of havoc. I believe that this could be a team that creates a ton of havoc and gives people fits down the road.”

On Texas A&M guard Joseph Jones:
“He’s very good at using his big body. He’s got touch from about 17 feet in, and he killed us on the glass. He’s a very skilled big guy.”