KU Men's Basketball Coach Bill Self Press Conference Quotes

Feb. 5, 2007


Kansas Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Bill Self

On facing a Bob Huggins team:
“We expect them to play the same way they have been playing. They have been playing tough and hard. They’ve always been good defensively, but they really have played well offensively in league play. They had two guys (Cartier Martin and Lance Harris) combine for 12 three-pointers against Texas on Saturday. They are well-coached, very good and very tough.”

On the quick success Kansas State has had under Huggins:
“First of all, I thought it was a great hire because you brought instant interest to our league and primarily to Kansas State. I really felt that Kansas State had good players and they still have good players, but it produced a different feeling about the program. I was at Oklahoma State when Coach Eddie Sutton got the job and when he arrived, it was just a different feeling because he had such a great track record. I think the same thing is happening over in Manhattan. “

On any difference in toughness between Kansas State this season and last season:
“I thought they were pretty tough last year to be honest. I think they are doing a great job of combining toughness with poise. If you watch David Hoskins, the game is in slow motion to him and he is still a very tough player. The hire has been great also for Cartier Martin because he’s become more than what he was before and he was already pretty good. He has a presence about him now. I think toughness can be defined a lot of ways, but I think Kansas State has a presence, just like Texas A&M did the other night. I think they have done a great job of instilling that.”

On the importance of toughness to Kansas:
“I would say it is probably the number one thing with us: how hard you play, how unselfish you play and how tough are you. That is how coaches in their own mind are judged. I would say it is a huge emphasis in their camp and certainly is in ours as well.”

On the game Saturday against Texas A&M:
“I have watched the tape multiple times and I would say we played pretty well Saturday. It was two very good teams playing Saturday night. We played pretty well, had total control and then did not play the last five minutes. Give Texas A&M credit. Acie Law made some great plays, but we did not play the last five minutes. Not playing the last five minutes and the fact that during that time we did not force them to play poorly obviously caused the loss. There were a lot of good things that happened, but we need to correct some things. We need to finish games better and understand the importance of possessions and getting stops on those possessions. We’ll approach the Kansas State game the same way we approached the Texas A&M game because a lot of the points of emphasis will be the same.”

On whether the short rest will affect the team:
“I don’t see it having too much effect on the team. The NCAA rules say that we need to give them a day off. Everyone deals with that all the time, so I don’t see that being a huge factor.”

On the confidence Kansas State brings into the game:
“From a confidence standpoint, they should be sky high after winning seven in a row and six straight in the league. And from a looseness standpoint, they should be as well, especially the way the played at Texas in coming from behind. They should be confident and loose, which is how we should play. We need to play both ways”

On whether having so many different people having stepped up in different games:
“At the end of the game the other night, we had three possessions that we had an opportunity to score and get good looks. We scored on two of those possessions and on the third, we missed a front end early in the shot clock. We scored on two of our last three possessions, save the very last one. The problem was that the other possessions late in the game were unforced errors. We just came down and gave them the ball. We had three turnovers that were unforced in our last nine possessions. It’s not that we didn’t take a shot, but we just came down and gave the ball to the other team. Mario Chalmers had a little runner that was uncontested which he usually makes and just didn’t happen to that day. The last possession, Mario tried to make a play and it just came short. I don’t buy into the thinking that everyone is sitting around watching or waiting for someone else to do it. I do buy into the thinking that it is an advantage in having one guy who you can give the ball to and get out of his way. That is what Texas A&M did. When we had that with Keith Langford and Wayne Simien, we could play a little two-man game and we don’t quite have that yet. It has been a different guy in a lot of games and hopefully we’ll get better in that situation. I still think we will. What beat us the other night was that Texas A&M scored nine points in their last three possessions. When you are up nine with five or six possessions left in the game, you should win. I would say missing that guy has probably affected my coaching style because it depends on who is playing well that night.”

On keeping the team focused for 40 minutes:
“I don’t think any team team keeps its focus for every possession for all 40 minutes. There were too many possessions like that the other night though with the game on the line. That has been a problem with us all year long and has also been a problem for us in practice. I don’t want to say we lost Saturday because we lost focus. Guys were trying. We just went a little brain dead down the stretch. If you look at our four losses, DePaul and Texas A&M, we had the game in hand late. Against Oral Roberts, we never had the game, but one or two stops, and we could have. Against Texas Tech, we were down 12 with three minutes left, so guys made plays to bring us back. I thought Texas A&M was tired at the end, which gave us a chance to drive a nail in the game and we just didn’t do it.”

On the sting of the Texas A&M game:
“Of course the guys are stung, but it is not like we did not play well on Saturday. We obviously didn’t finish or win, so yeah it hurts. But we don’t want it to hurt too much. Coaching and basketball is such a fine line because of the number of games you play. We want it to sting, but not to the point where it stings so bad that it affects the next game. We want it to sting to the point where we come out at that perfect level for the next game. Sometimes a wide margin of defeat is easier to fire up guys than a heart-crushing defeat.”

On the playing time of Sherron Collins:
“We’ll probably need to get him some more minutes. He played 23 the other day, but he’s a guy that can play 26-28 minutes a game. We’ll probably sub him in earlier.”

On the play of Kansas State’s David Hoskins:
“He’s a three man’s body with a three man’s quickness and a five man’s mentality. He is a bull. He has skill, can shoot the ball from the perimeter, he’s a great free throw shooter but he attacks the rim and paint as well as anyone in our league. He’s a little unorthodox in that if you guard him with a big man, he’ll use his quickness, and if you guard him with a smaller guy, he’ll try to overpower him. He can do both even to a big guy. He is great at drawing fouls, probably the best at it in our league.”

On the extra pressure of playing an in-state rival:
“I would say there is pressure and a lot of it will be created by fans and a lot of it will be created by media. The bottom line is that you can’t approach saying `we have to do this or that.’ That is the wrong approach. We approach the game saying `this is what we need to do to be successful.’ Sometimes playing at home puts the extra pressure on the home team. Our guys understand that Kansas State has a good team, but these guys had nothing to do with KU’s previous streak against Kansas State. This is a whole new crop of guys and we need to approach it like its our team against their team. They had a great win here last year, a game where we had a double-figure lead in the second half and just didn’t finish. I would say depending on the outcome of the Texas-Texas A&M game, at worst, the game Wednesday will have two teams tied for second in the league halfway through the league schedule. I think it will quickly become a very talked-about rivalry.”

On Kansas State’s Jason Bennett:
“I think he’s having a great year. He’s an excellent shot blocker. He and Luis Colon are both young, but they are giving them good minutes. You don’t go up against guys like that too often and you can’t be soft and try to just score over them. You’d better be pretty quick and make them move.”