KU Hoops Talk Baylor at Weekly Press Conference

Feb. 6, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. – On Monday afternoon Kansas players, along with head coach Bill Self, met with members of the media in Allen Fieldhouse. As part of the weekly press conference, the Jayhawks discussed their opponent, the Baylor Bears. Self fielded questions on what he learned about his team in the Missouri game last weekend, as well as how the Jayhawks plan to deal with Baylor’s length.

Below are videos and transcripts of Self’s and select players’ interviews.

  • Coach Self 1
  • Coach Self 2
  • Coach Self 3
  • J. Withey
  • T. Taylor

Bill Self Weekly Press Conference
February 6, 2012

Kansas head coach Bill Self
On coaches being able to let go of games:
“(The difference is) that we played well in (the Missouri game). We left Missouri with three things; (Missouri) is really good, we need to be able to close out games and we are really good. Those are things that are different from when we played Davidson in Kansas City; I had some different thoughts leaving that game. If anything, I’m leaving Columbia thinking that we have a chance to have a really good team. It’s a totally different feel than when we played Davidson. I see a lot of positives leaving Missouri. I didn’t see any positives leaving Kansas City versus Davidson.”

On the atmosphere in Waco, Texas on Wednesday:
“I expect it to be a lot different on Wednesday. I think they will have a good home court there. In the past, we have probably gotten 1,500 or 2,500 fans down to Baylor, and I don’t know if that will be possible this year. Their team is good, and I’m sure they’re drawing well. I’m sure it will be sold out. The home court crowd in Missouri didn’t keep us from having an eight-point lead with under three minutes left. It’s still possible for visiting teams to go play well in tough environments. We are going to have to play very well in a tough environment. If anything, our preparation should give us a good advantage moving forward.”

On Tyshawn Taylor’s performance versus Missouri:
“That kid played great, he really played great. If I had to do it all over again, I would have him on the free throw line more than anyone else on our team. He likes that moment more than anybody else. I don’t have anything remotely negative to say about him, he lost the ball once and he charged once and I know he wishes he could have that back. I’ve never been one to dwell on missing free throws. I think he is playing really well. I thought the first half of the Missouri game, he played so well that we had a couple of bad possessions because he was feeling it too much. (Missouri guard) Phil Pressey got past him once and makes a basket, and other than that he was pretty good defensively. I thought he did a nice job.”

On Baylor guard Pierre Jackson:
“The thing about Baylor is that they are long. (Brady) Heslip can make shots, and (A.J.) Walton is a good guard, no question. What makes them different is their length, but I still think Pierre Jackson is definitely one of the premiere perimeter players in our league. I think he has had a fabulous year.”

On what he will tell Jeff Withey in preparation for Baylor:
“I’m going to tell him that we need him to be a factor after I show him the tape of the first game against Baylor. I always think big guys who are really big play better against other big guys. I’ve never thought big guys play well against little guys, and you see that all the time in high school basketball. I think Jeff will play better playing against another tall guy.”

On what Baylor does best:
“They probably play around the rim best, and I also think they’re great in transition. As far as taking a missed shot and turning it into a basket, I think they are really good at that.”

On the flop at the end of games:
“Yeah I think it’s been a point of emphasis and something that has been talked about. I don’t know how many games we’ve had that there has been a lot of that going on. Certain players get a reputation for being floppers; I had one at Illinois that was the all-time greatest flopper ever – Lucas Johnson. I just called it fake hustle but he fell down every possession. I don’t want to say there’s no place for it because sometimes guys have to do what they have to do, but certainly the arch should eliminate that. I think for the most part – this is coming off a team that charged six times on Saturday – the officials have done a better job with that particular area.”

On if he’s had a team that has had to play 35 minutes every game:
“I’ve never had this but we’re going to have it. The thing that was disappointing the other night to me is we were forced to play small because Jeff (Withey) wasn’t a factor and if Jeff’s not a factor then you’ve basically guarded Thomas (Robinson) with Jeff’s man and you’ve forced Thomas to play out on the floor defensively, which is not our strength. Really the other day we only played six guys, and I thought Justin Wesley did a great job in his minutes. I thought he was energized, I thought he defended well and he defended out on the floor better than he’s practiced because he’s never really had the chance to guard a guard like that. I thought we actually did a decent job with our bench the other night. I thought Conner (Teahan) played pretty well and, of course, he made two big shots for us. I thought Justin gave us some positive minutes without question but the bottom line is our guys have to be ready to play 32 to 35 minutes a game; that’s the fact of the matter.”

On what happened to Jeff Withey in Saturday’s game:
“I don’t know. We wanted to really throw it inside a lot early and we didn’t. That’s not all on our bigs, that’s on our guards too. We were just a better team when we could play Thomas alone on the post, and we scored almost every possession in the second half. Their matchup didn’t take advantage of us, but our matchup certainly didn’t take advantage of them.”

On why the guards couldn’t get the ball inside in the first half:
“With basketball, you can go into it having the best of intentions and sometimes the energy level or excitement level can get kind of sped up. I think we were a little impatient early. I also don’t think Thomas demanded the ball early and I don’t think Jeff demanded it at all early but in the second half, we settled in and got a lot better. Also, if you noticed or really studied the game, they didn’t guard us on the perimeter in the first half. It’s hard to get it inside if you have everybody around the guy, so the best way to open it up is to make a shot or two. It wasn’t like our guys weren’t playing well, they just did something to take that away there for a period of time in the first half.”

On this team having the same mental characteristics of other teams to not lose back-to-back games:
“Yeah I think so; I think our team is pretty tough. To be honest, I’m glad we’re not playing tonight because that to me would be a quick turnaround after driving all night and getting back at three the next day. I’m glad we’re playing Wednesday instead of Monday, but I think our guys will bounce back. If our guys don’t play well or if we don’t win, it won’t be because of what happened Saturday. One thing about kids – coaches are a little bit different – coaches don’t let things go. Kids have girlfriends, they get to go to class and they have other things that occupy their mind. They get on the phone and tweet, but we don’t so it doesn’t sit with them as long as it does with coaches.”

On what the team can learn from Saturday’s game:
“Well we made two bad plays. Tyshawn (Taylor) missed two free throws and he charged, but other than that, offensively we didn’t make any bad plays. I don’t consider getting fouled and missing free throws bad plays; I don’t think that has anything to do with the closing. I think defensively, we had to get stops and we didn’t. That was the thing that bothered me. Then Thomas gets called for a walk with about three minutes left and then you have a situation with the charge on Thomas. You would want him to make that play in every situation of every game. I don’t know if that has anything to do with closing but we did make a couple of bad plays without question, and they made a lot of really good plays without question.”

Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor
On why this team has been good about not losing consecutive games:
“I don’t think we like the feeling of losing. We always come in with a good attitude and we try to get better and learn from our mistakes that we made in the previous game.”

On what he took away from the Missouri game:
“We made a lot of mistakes and they capitalized on our unforced turnovers and unforced errors, period. We have to clean it up a little bit because those mistakes are easily fixable. Now, we just have to fix them.”

On what it means when Coach Self praises the team:
“That’s good because we felt like we played good too. Knowing that he thinks we played well is great, but we still lost. We have to come out and be better. We were good, but we have to be better.”

On what it means to him that he’s never lost back-to-back games at KU:
“I’m not used to losing and I don’t like how it feels. I don’t even know how to handle it sometimes. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, how I’m supposed to act. I’m not used to it and I don’t like it. I’m sure my teammates feel the same way.”

On if he thinks things are slipping away after losing two of the last three games:
“Not at all, I know our schedule is tough. We’re going to keep trucking and getting better. It was a tough loss Saturday, but it isn’t the end of our season. It’s not even the end of the Big 12 race. We have a good team that will continue to get better and I think we are getting better. We just need to tune some things up and we’ll be fine.”

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson
On the loss to Missouri:
“We didn’t close the game out and we didn’t guard. Maybe the whistle did not go our way but we still have to guard. The referee didn’t make those shots go in for Marcus Denmon. That is what it came down to, because we didn’t guard out there.”

On rebounding from the Missouri loss:
“It’s just a feeling of not wanting to lose again. You still have that bad taste from the last game, so going into the game after that you want to get that taste out of your mouth. You do not want to have a longer feeling of revenge.”

On playing Baylor:
“We just have to be aggressive, come out stronger and finish stronger.”

Junior center Jeff Withey
On playing against Baylor compared to Missouri:
“I like playing against guys my size a lot more than playing against a bunch of guards. But it is still going to be a tough game and we are getting ready for that.”

On playing Baylor earlier in the season:
“We came out and got a lead pretty early. They are really good. They didn’t play the zone as much as we thought they would.”

On the importance of winning on the road:
“If we want to win the Big 12, than we have to win road games. We have already lost two so we are tied for first. We know that in order to win the Big 12 you have to win road games and this one is going to be really tough against a really good Baylor team.”

On his offensive performance against Missouri:
“It was difficult. I felt like I was up-screening and helping Thomas get some looks. I feel like the game plan worked pretty well. We were up when we needed to be and then something just happened. I try helping out the team anyway I can whether that be screening, rebounding or blocking shots.”

On having to matchup against guards versus Missouri:
“When I was trying to post them up they were quicker to get in front of me and they were always attacking my knees. It is definitely harder for a big man to guard a little guy. You can usually use a swim move on a forward but when boxing out a guard they are at your knees and you don’t expect it and it kind of takes you legs out from under you.”

On being more assertive offensively:
“I think that I can help out offensively. Not scoring any points and being out on the floor for 20 minutes is not very good for me. If I can be more of a threat, that helps out everybody on the floor. I definitely want to be able to score, that way it relieves pressure on the other guys.”