Self, Jayhawks Shift Focus to Nebraska

Jan. 26, 2009

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas men’s basketball head coach Bill Self and select players met with the media Monday afternoon in Hadl Auditorium to discuss the Jayhawks’ Wednesday night road matchup against Nebraska.

Men’s Basketball Press Conference Quotes
Monday, Jan. 26, 2009

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self

On the challenges posed by Nebraska:
“I think anytime you go on the road, obviously it’s a challenge. We’re going to have to handle their speed because they are going to play small. They really get after it. Doc (Sadler) has done a great job with this group as far as being sound defensively. You have pressuring all over the place. And then, can we get to their shooters? That will be a big key because we will play bigger than they will the majority of the game.”

On Sherron Collins:
“He’s obviously playing great right now. There are not many guys out there playing as well as he is right now. I think the 1,000 points is a nice accomplishment. I don’t think it’s a huge deal because in today’s time you play so many games. You play 40 games a season, that’s 120 games in a career. So to get to 1,000, you have to average around eight and a half points. So I don’t think that’s as big a deal. But the fact that he could probably score 1,600 or 1,700 in his career if he stayed all four years is a pretty big accomplishment. The thing I like most is how he’s leading our young guys. He’s just been remarkable with the patience and the toughness and tough love and everything else he’s given our young guys. He’s kind of brought them along in an accelerated way here in the last couple weeks.”

On playing at the Devaney Center:
“I think traditionally it is a tough place to play because it’s always a full house when we go up there. We’ve played some of our best ball that we’ve played over time when we’ve gone to Lincoln the last couple years. Of course we have a different cast of players now than what we’ve had in the past, but I think it’s a good place to play. I think it’s a place where we’ll have a few Jayhawk fans there, but for the most part it’s all red and white and we’re going to have to play very, very well. Our guys have always been excited going up there to play.”

On Nebraska compensating for their lack of size in the post:
“They’re going to fly around. They’re going to trap the post. Every time that Cole (Aldrich) catches it he’ll feel two guys on him. A lot of times, small guys trapping is just as effective or more effective than big guys because if you bring the ball down beneath your waist there’s a good chance that they could deflect it or steal it. They do a really good job at rotating out of their traps too. Even when you get it inside and it appears that you’re open, you’ll have guys running at him and then you have to make good decisions out of the post traps. That will be a big emphasis of ours the next couple of days.”

On Coaches vs. Cancer coming up:
“Our profession, our sport, lost a star this past week in Coach (Kay) Yow. The men’s side has done a very, very good job of bringing awareness to the disease, mainly started by Coach (Norm) Stewart at Missouri. It’s just grown into kind of taking a life of its own, and of course the V Foundation has added so much to it. The women have been very, very active in their role, in large part through Coach Yow. I think this year, it will probably be a more sensitive subject but a great opportunity to bring more awareness and raise more money than we ever have in any particular year on both the men’s and the women’s sides.”

On the fitness of his young players heading into February:
“I think with the exception of Tyshawn (Taylor), our freshmen really haven’t played that much. Tyshawn has played a lot and I’ve been concerned about him hitting the wall a little bit, but I think he’s kind of already gone through that and kind of fought through it. I think we’re in decent shape. I don’t think we’re the best conditioned team that I’ve ever coached, in large part due to natural, physical strength. But I do think we’re a well-conditioned team. Guys don’t seem to get near as tired playing as what they were before but the tough stretch of the season hasn’t started for us yet. It will be the dog days of February, so to speak. Everybody gets their batteries recharged in March, but February is usually the month where teams can hit the wall.”

On the vocal leadership of Collins:
“I would say he’s been more vocal and probably let his emotions show a little bit more than what he has in the past. But I think in large part he’s figured out that that’s what this team needs. They need somebody to feed off of, and he’s certainly been the guy for that. He deserves the credit for it. He made a unique statement the other day. He said ‘It’s my job to make sure our guys provide the effort. It’s Coach’s job to correct us.’ I started thinking back, I really haven’t had to get on the guys much at all for playing hard lately. I do think that it’s a natural progression of young guys understanding what’s demanded and what they need to do. But I also think it’s Sherron on his own saying ‘Hey, this is how we do things here, and anything less will not be accepted. I’m not going to accept it.’ He’s definitely cemented himself as the voice of our team, without any question. Everybody understands that.”

On Collins being in the spotlight:
“I think he’s having the time of his life. He loves Kansas. He loves competing. He likes the little bit of success that we’ve had and he thinks we’re getting better, so I think he’s having a good time right now.”

On Brady Morningstar:
“He’s done everything. He’s been a very pleasant surprise. He’s our best defender. He knocks down open shots. He doesn’t make a ton of mental mistakes. Our team has a sense of stability when he’s in the game. Brady’s played at a very high level for the most part all year long.”

Kansas sophomore center Cole Aldrich

On Nebraska:
“We’re expecting a really good game because they’re a pretty good team. They’ve had some success at home. We came into their place last year on Big Monday and we struggled. They’re obviously a good team.”

On Nebraska’s size:
“I think it’ll be a good opportunity to have our big guys get in there and do some work. I’m guessing they’re probably going to trap the post and try to utilize their lack of height to take us off the dribble. I usually like another big guy on the team. It’s a little more fun for me. Whatever teams have, you have to deal with.”

On the team’s improvement on the road:
“We’re continuing to get better. That’s one thing we’ve tried to do all year is to get better every day. I think that when we had the road game at Colorado we struggled here and there, but it was a good road game for us because we really needed a win. Going out to Iowa State this last Saturday was even more helpful to our confidence because it’s going to come down to who can win on the road for the Big 12.”