Men's Basketball Coach Bill Self Press Conference Quotes

Kansas Basketball Press Conference Quotes<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

Head Coach Bill Self

On playing highly ranked opponents:
“I think our guys have played pretty well against the teams that are thought to be the powers. Hopefully that will be the case again Saturday because we’ll be facing one of the best teams in the country. It is going to be a battle inside. There are going to be some bodies banging. It is going to be a physical game I predict, which they would like it to be, and we definitely won’t shy away from that either.”

On the recent play of sophomore Brandon Rush:
“I think he’s being more aggressive and he’s making shots. He’s made a lot more shots lately and is shooting a high percentage. Once we’ve gotten into league play, I think he has played quite well. He was just missing a lot of shots earlier. I don’t know if there is a major difference between his play before and now. We’re not doing anything different for the most part. I just think he’s a little more confident because he’s seeing the ball go into the hole. Shooting is one of those things that you can’t always control. You can put a pretty good stroke on a putt and still not have it go in. Sometimes basketball can be the same way, especially with shooting from the perimeter. We don’t have a set number of shots per game we want him to take, but we tell him we want him to shoot it when he’s open. Defenses can take away certain things, so he has to be prepared. Defenses may take certain things away and he may only get six good looks a game and create some on his own. So we tell him he has to make sure he gets prepared to shoot the good looks he gets. Since we’ve started league play, even though he may not have been making them all, he’s been shooting the shots we want him to shoot.”

On the job Coach Billy Gillispie has done turning around the Texas A&M program so quickly:
“I can think of only one other program that has done it so quickly, and that would be UTEP, when Coach Gillispie was there. His first year at UTEP, they went 6-24 and the next year they were in the NCAA Tournament. Over the last five years, no one has done a better job coaching their team than Coach Gillispie. They went from 0-16 to 8-8 in the league to the NCAA Tournament to having a top 10 ranking. They have a great shot at getting a high seed and have a legitimate chance to make a serious run. Nobody has done a better job than what their staff has done.”

“Coach Gillispie has always been an aggressive guy. He works extremely hard. He squeezes as many hours in a day out of everybody as I have ever known. He’s a pretty intense and smart worker in terms of having a mission of what he needs to accomplish during the day. He is very focused.”

On what Coach Gillispie and the Aggies do well:
“I think he gets his guys to be very tough. He has a unique way of being demanding, and yet people walk away from him not thinking he’s a jerk. They love to play for him, at least from the outside looking in. You can play out of fear, respect or love, but I think he has them playing out of all three. He runs a high-low more than what we do. They have two big post guys that can both shoot and pass it, so it’s a great system. The biggest thing, and he’d probably be the first to tell you, is that it is about stealing possessions, getting loose balls and not letting the other team get easy possessions. They take great pride in making their opponents make plays rather than giving them points.”

On having to play against the legitimate big men that Texas A&M has:
“Well, our big guys aren’t that big. Sasha Kaun and Darrell Arthur are big, but Julian Wright is more a three playing at the four position and Darrell is like a three and a half. They are going to play two legitimate big guys just about the entire game, save for a few exceptions.”

On the development of KU’s front line:
“I said we played soft against Colorado, not that our big guys are soft. There is a big difference between playing soft and being soft. I thought we did better against Nebraska, but they are not that big of a team. Certainly, this will be a much bigger test of their toughness level in rebounding the basketball. I think we have shown we can do it and we’ll rise to the occasion. We have to play tough on Saturday.”

On the defense Texas A&M plays:
“This will probably be the best team defensively we’ve played all year. Statistically, it says that. They are leading the country in field-goal percentage defense (35.1 percent) by a pretty good margarin. We’re sixth at 37.6 percent, but two percentage points is a pretty big gap. They have done a pretty good job making it hard for their opponents to score. These guys are pretty sound all around.”

On the ESPN GameDay experience:
“I think it makes it a long day, though I don’t think it makes it long for the players. Last year, we didn’t handle GameDay very well. LaMarcus Aldridge of Texas may have had a little to do with that as well. It will be a long day, but we’ve also played games at 8 p.m. already. We’ll divide the day up like we normally do. The biggest thing I think is not only the hype leading up to the game, but also that our players will sit around all day watching games with the focal point being Allen Fieldhouse and our game. ESPN does a great job promoting it. I think whether we can stay poised and calm will be a big key. Last year, we were a little keyed up. I don’t want the players spending all their energy getting hyped up for the game. It is a very important game. Last year, I think a reason we played poorly because aside from Texas being very good, was that we hadn’t been in an atmosphere like that where we had to deal with those things, sitting around going through different phases.”

“I think the exposure we get from it is great. If things go well, it’s even better. There is a lot of build-up to it and I think ESPN has done a fabulous job making it similar to their Football College GameDay program. It will be a lot of fun. I think we can make a big recruiting impact with it with all the fans that come out and support it. It’s not what we do that gives us the exposure. It’s the atmosphere that we present when GameDay is here, because I think that is very important. Even if recruits don’t necessarily watch the game, they at least see 10 hours of build-up for the game.”

On the play of Sherron Collins and his impact on the other perimeter players:
“When teammates play well, I think people draw from that. I think when Brandon Rush plays well, it takes pressure off other people so they can play better. I think Sherron has really helped everybody on the team out. Whether by coincidence or not, it has come at a pretty opportune time. Russell Robinson’s and Brandon’s play has gone up and when Mario Chalmers is on, he’s been as good as anyone we have. I think our four perimeter guys have played pretty well.”

“I still think Sherron is capable of continuing his play. That doesn’t mean he will every game, but he’s playing like we envisioned he would all along. It is not coming as surprise that he is playing so well.”

On how defenses plan and play against KU’s balance:
“I think the scouting reports have a lot to do with it. When we played USC, they face-guarded Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush the entire game. Different teams will do different things and some may be subtle. Teams will do things according to their defensive philosophy and what they feel is important to winning the game.”

On whether this game is for the league title:
“I don’t think the winner of this game should be crowned the conference champion. I think they will have an advantage and a better chance because they’ll have one loss and the other team will have two. You never know what is going to happen, but this is a pretty important game for both teams as they try to accomplish their goals. This game starts a very big eight days for us.”

On Julian Wright’s play:
“I think the way the game goes will dictate a lot of things for Julian. He’s not always going to get 20 or 17 points, but he can always impact a possession. He certainly can do a better job of being more consistent and impacting possessions, but I think people have a tendency to look at him as a points and rebounds guy when he is much more than that. He needs to be more consistent and aggressive for us to be the team we are capable of being.”

On the individual awards KU players receive:
“I would say we need to learn how to handle it. I think individual things are good, as long you can handle them properly. I think our two guys (Wright and Rush) being picked Preseason Big 12 Co-Players of the Year was bad. In a lot of ways, you want to sneak up on people, but if you have good guys and finish the season strong last year like we did, then you are not going to sneak up on people. It’s good to deal with that and have a bullseye, because whoever is guarding those two doesn’t want them to prove their worth against them. So they’re can be motivation for the other team, but those are the things we have to be mature about and learn to deal with.”

On the difficulty Big 12 South teams have playing in Allen Fieldhouse:
“I think we have a pretty good home court and pretty good players. I’ve been here only three years, but Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas have always been good. Since Coach Knight has arrived at Texas Tech, they’ve gotten better. Baylor and Texas A&M have also improved tremendously.”

On Texas A&M guard Acie Law IV:
“He is very tough and very fast. I think he has the game to play in the NBA. He can score with either hand. He is a great off-balance shooter, probably one of the best we’ll play all year. He has been a solid performer for them.”

Junior Guard Russell Robinson

On Acie Law:
“He is a great player. A senior guard — he has nothing to lose. This is his last time in (Allen Fieldhouse), so I am pretty sure he is going to come out aggressive. I look forward to a good game.”

Sophomore Guard Brandon Rush

On Josh Carter:
“He is their best shooter. We need to guard him before he gets the ball, and if he does get it, make him put it on the floor.”

Freshman Guard Sherron Collins

On Acie Law:
“I know he is a great all-around player. We need to contain him and make him take tough shots. We have to play help defense all around. I am going to be on him sometimes, but sometimes I will get caught not on him.”

On Texas A&M’s defense:
“They are just tough. They bring a tough attitude to each other. They are not going to back down from anybody, and we aren’t either. I am looking forward to playing against them.”