KU Hoops Previews Oklahoma State

Feb. 10, 2012

  • J. Withey
  • C. Teahan
  • Coach Self

LAWRENCE, Kan. – On Friday afternoon Kansas players, along with head coach Bill Self, met with members of the media in Allen Fieldhouse. As part of the media availability, the Jayhawks discussed their opponent, the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Self fielded questions on Jeff Withey’s performance versus Baylor, as well as the problems Oklahoma State presents.

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

Media Availability
February 10, 2012

Kansas head coach Bill Self
On what the coaches and players do to motivate Jeff Withey before the game:
“Really not much. Talk to him. Yell at him. Challenge him, but the whole thing is he’s really a good player. He can impact a game in so many ways. He doesn’t do it as consistently as what I think he’s capable of, but look where he started this year. He’s one of the most improved players in the country. It’s just that when he teases you and shows you what he’s capable of, you always want a little bit more.”

On if Oklahoma State’s smaller lineup is good preparation for Withey in the NCAA Tournament:
“I don’t think it’s as much for him as it is for Thomas (Robinson). When we played Missouri, Jeff didn’t guard Kim (English). That was Thomas’ man. All Jeff had to do was post on a four man. I’m not giving away any trade secrets here, but Le’Bryan (Nash) isn’t going to be his man unless it’s an emergency switch or something like that. Really, it’s probably better preparation for Thomas if Jeff can stay in the game and be effective.”

On the difficulty for Withey posting on offense against a smaller defensive player:
“I don’t know. I’m not seven foot tall. To me, in my experience working with big guys, a lot of times big guys don’t look nearly as good against smaller guys as they do playing against guys closer to their own size. You see that all the time in high school, but I don’t really see it being that much different, to be honest with you. If I’m big and I see a little guy guarding me, I find a way to demand the ball.”

On Jeff Withey thriving on offense while Thomas Robinson was out of the game:
“We actually put Thomas in a different spot in our zone offense because they were collapsing on him, so even with Thomas in the game, Jeff got more touches in the high post and the middle of the lane area. Then when (Thomas) went out, it looked like to me they let Kevin (Young) catch it where he wanted to catch it. Of course, that opened up Jeff going to the basket. That turned out to be the best offense we had.”

On the team responding well at Baylor when Robinson on the bench:
“Well, you’re going to have that. You’re also going to have instances where they don’t respond. I think throughout the course of the season you’re always going to have cases where guys play better at certain times. There have been times where we’ve been better with Ty (Taylor) on the bench or there are times when everybody’s better because whoever comes in fills a void nicely, but I know over the course of a game we’re much better with Thomas is in the game.”

On the challenges Le’Bryan Nash presents with Robinson guarding him:
“They don’t play him on the perimeter as much as they do Kim with Missouri, but they certainly play him on the perimeter as far as little-big ball screens and stagger screens for him that big guys aren’t used to guarding. We didn’t practice yesterday. We just watched tape and went over (the OSU scouting report) because guys were so tired, so he’s going to have to have a good day in practice today to kind of reacquaint himself with how he has to guard on the perimeter.”

On Oklahoma State:
“They’re fast. I don’t know if there’s a team in our league more athletic. They’ve got more highlight dunks and things like that than anybody in our league probably has. Markel Brown may be the best athlete in our league. (Brian) Williams is an athlete. Nash is an athlete. (Michael) Cobbins is an athlete. They’ve got good athletes. They’re a lot like us in the fact they don’t go that deep, although they may be a little deeper than us when they have the two big guys ( healthy. I assume they’ll both play. I like their team, and they run good stuff offensively. They can give us all kinds of problems. Last year, we had a pretty good team and beat them by one (63-62) in Kansas City. We just beat them as bad as we could and felt good about it, so we know they’re capable.”

On Oklahoma State beating Iowa State and Missouri this season:
“They’ve already beaten teams that we’ve lost to. They were both at home, but still, they’re capable of having a real good game.”

On the 1952 NCAA Championship team being honored this weekend:
“I think it’s great. I don’t believe everybody’s here, but I think four of the five starters are going to be here for sure, plus a bunch of other guys. I think that’s pretty cool that they’re here. Obviously, it’s a big deal when you stop and think about it. I bet Clyde (Lovellette) brought eight or 10 family members with him, so it’s a big deal. He was up in the office earlier with Bill Lienhard. It’s pretty cool to see those guys. We get spoiled around here because we see Bill Lienhard, Bill Hougland, Al Kelley and those guys on a daily basis almost, but it’s pretty cool to see them in a setting with their teammates.”

Senior guard Conner Teahan
On if he has found his shooting rhythm again:
“I definitely think in the last two games I’ve been able to knock some shots down and it’s been giving me more confidence. I’m just focused on (the) day-to-day and waiting for tomorrow’s game.”

On if he has changed anything with his shot:
“It still felt good when I was going through my slump. I’ve tried to stop fading away because I was fading away more than I should have been. Other than that, everything has stayed the same.”

On if it gave him confidence when Coach Self played him more against Baylor’s zone:
“Definitely, because I got off to a little bit of a slow start and then he (Coach Self) put me back in. We were able to get the ball moving and we had a good flow offensively, so I was able to get a couple of good open looks.”

On Oklahoma State:
“I know they play small like Missouri with four guards. (Le’Bryan) Nash has been playing well lately and they have a lot of guys who can shoot from the outside. They are very athletic, so we’ll have to be ready to play tomorrow.”

On if it is strange playing a Big 12 team for the first time in a season this late:
“That’s exactly what I was thinking about. We play them twice back-to-back almost, but it shouldn’t change anything in terms of preparation. We’ve seen all types of play this season, whether teams play with four guards or two bigs.”

On the challenge of defending different types of players the last few games:
“(Marcus) Denmon (Missouri) is great offensively and he can do it all. He can dribble, penetrate and shoot. Anthony Jones (Baylor) and his overall size is hard to deal with. I just tried to keep him from getting too close to the goal because he can shoot over me pretty much whenever he wanted to. I do the same thing with everyone, just keep him in front of me and try to contest his shot.”

Junior center Jeff Withey
On scoring 25 points versus Baylor:
“I haven’t scored that much in a really long time – it has probably been since high school since I have scored in the 20’s. It definitely felt good to score again and help the team win.”

On his improvement this season:
“My confidence is definitely growing throughout the season, and that definitely helps. Being out on the court with (Coach Danny Manning) has helped a lot. He is giving me hints whenever I go to the bench, just telling me what I need to do. This year has been great; I’ve been having a lot of fun. Knowing that I can get back into the rhythm by playing more and more is definitely refreshing.”

On Coach Manning:
“He always is telling me to post up strong whenever I do anything. Whenever I catch the ball on the block, I can usually score or get fouled. He is telling me to be aggressive whenever I’m in the game. He tells me everything I need to do both offensively and defensively.”

On his free throw shooting:
“I’ve always been pretty good with my touch from the free throw line. This year I have spent a lot of time on the free throw line practicing over and over the repetition of shooting a free throw, especially before and after practice. Coach has us shooting free throws whenever we aren’t on the court doing something.”