Men's Basketball Head Coach Bill Self Press Conference Quotes

Feb. 12, 2007


Kansas Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Bill Self

On the possibility of a hangover-effect following two rivalry games:
“I guess people could have those thoughts, but I don’t think that will occur. We put ourselves in a position where, if we’re going to win the league, we have to take care of business every game because Texas A&M is not going to slip up much, if they even do at all. We certainly have to approach this game as if it were as big as any other game, which it is in the big picture.”

On the challenges of playing Colorado:
“We didn’t guard them well the first time and Roby went nuts and scored 30 points on 15 shots. If you look at our biggest problem on defense over the past few weeks, it has been that we haven’t guarded the ball very well and they spread out on offense and drive it as well as any team in the league. Missouri was great at that as well and against Kansas State, Jermaine Maybank did a great job of that also. We’ve got to do a better job guarding and rebounding the ball. Those are two areas we were pretty poor in the last time we played Colorado.”

On the threat Colorado’s Richard Roby poses:
“We need to get a hand in his face. We also need to keep him off the free-throw line and the offensive glass. We need to do a better job when he posts up, but I think we’ve played him enough over the years to point where our guys have a good pretty feel for. Yet, he is still one of those guys who you can guard well and he’ll still make hard shots. We need to make sure he doesn’t get many good looks.”

On whether trailing Texas A&M in the standings adds focus to the last month of league play:
“I think it might because we figured it out last year that we needed a little bit of help, but we couldn’t allow ourselves to be put further behind.”

On why the team likes playing away from home:
“I think our guys like going to Missouri. They enjoyed that, were ready to play and it was a good crowd. It had the makings of a fun game. For the most part, we have done well away from home. We played poorly our first road game, but after that we’ve played well. We lost a heartbreaker to Texas Tech, but we’ve played pretty well away from home, which has become a trademark of this team in conference play. I think we’re 10-3 away from home the last two years.”

“Now we’re only as good as our next one, so all this could change if we don’t play well Wednesday. One thing about our team is that we usually get an opponent’s best shot. To play well away from home, although we’re young, it may be a sign of maturity and toughness. I don’t want to picture that we’re great on the road. We have played well on the road for the most part, but it’s a pretty gratifying locker room to win on the road. “

On the support KU receives playing in Colorado:
“I think it’s great. We’d rather have more people in the stands than our opponents if the opportunity is there, but it’s been great. People in Western Kansas and Colorado have done a great job supporting us out there. If it were a Saturday afternoon game, we might have six or seven thousand people out there. On a Wednesday night, I don’t think we’ll have that many, but we’ll still have a good contingent following us out there.”

On any changes in practice following two very successful games:
“This time of year, as much as we might want to practice, having rested bodies is as important as anything. Hopefully, we’ll cut down our practice time. We also have some guys banged up, so we definitely need to cut back in some areas. We won’t really change much of what we’ve been doing. There are certainly some things we could get better on, but the biggest thing is to cut down the reps.”

On the attention from the national media:
“We don’t tend to pay too much attention to what outsiders are saying. We may say that we need a tight circle or a tight group. We can’t worry about what others say or think. I do think that criticism should serve as motivation, but the fact is our group has goals and in order to attain those, we have to play better than what we have. I still think that is the main motivation.”

On the Big 12’s NCAA Tournament chances:
“I think the league will get a minimum of five. I went through the BCS conferences and took a look at which leagues should get multiple bids and I think we’ll get at least five. I’m not sure who the fifth one is quite yet, but I really believe Texas A&M, ourselves, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Texas are all in a good position, with Oklahoma right there too. I think a lot of it is still left to be played out, especially if Texas Tech is able to go and get a big win on the road. There are at least five to be had right now. “

On how he expects Colorado to change and adapt from their last game:
“Every game is different. If you look at how we played against Nebraska in the first half and then watch them go on the road and win their next two games. We’ll see a totally different Nebraska team. We’ll see a totally different Colorado team playing at home. We played pretty good against them, but we didn’t play great against them last time. We’ll see a totally different team when we go to Manhattan as well. I think that is more evident this year than it has been in our league in the past. I think playing Missouri close at home helped us when we played in Columbia.”

On leading the Big 12 in field-goal percentage:
“I think our offense has been better because we’ve been more aggressive, getting the ball into the paint more and shooting tight, close-in shots, which usually results in a high percentage. A negative of that is that against Missouri, we shot 64 field goals and only nine from three-point range. It’s not that we don’t want to shoot three-pointers, it’s just that we’re getting the ball where it needs to go better. Also, our shooting percentage has gone up with the less number of three-pointers we’ve shot over the conference season. We’re shooting around 43 percent in the conference from three-point range, but we’re only averaging six makes a game. Obviously, we’re making the most of our opportunities of our three-point shot attempts. “

On the play of Brandon Rush last week and in conference play:
“Brandon has played great. He had an off-shooting game against Texas Tech and Texas A&M. Coincidentally, the two games we’ve lost were the games where he hadn’t shot the ball well. If you take those two games out of the equation and he’s probably shooting 55 percent from the field and from three-point range. He’s played very well. The only reason he wasn’t the best player in the game Saturday was because Julian Wright had a fabulous game.”

On leading the Big 12 in rebounding:
“We have rebounded the ball better and Julian, Brandon and Darnell Jackson have been fabulous on the glass, but we still don’t have everyone attacking the ball like they should. We could become a very good rebounding team and right now I’d say we’re above average. In the game against Missouri, we had 13 offensive rebounds and two guys had them all. There are still some guys who are not rebounding the ball like they are capable of doing. “

On guarding the ball better:
“We have a lot of guys going for fakes and not being solid. The guys not guarding the ball are not doing a good job of discouraging drives. It is things we can tighten up. I think the bigger leads have factored in this some because when teams are behind, they put their head down and drive it. If you’re not guarding the ball well, you’ll certainly be exposed when teams are behind. That’s why Kansas State shot 41 free throws and that’s why Missouri got into the lane too much.”

On the effect of the altitude in Colorado:
“I noticed it when I was a player, but it is not something we are going to make a big deal out of. Most of these guys have played there before and even our freshmen may have played in Colorado Springs with USA basketball. We have good enough depth that I hope we can keep guys fresh.”

On the play of Sherron Collins:
“I would say the most pleasant thing about Sherron to me has been his willingness to sacrifice and do whatever we ask him to do. Whatever we ask him, he’s going to try to do. Whether it be eating habits or cardio work, he won’t bat an eye at it because he knows it is good for him. He has been so coachable. The actual play on the court hasn’t surprised me at all.”

“His fearlessness is what makes him who he is. That is how he has always played. When you play not to screw up, which I am sure all freshman do at some point in their career, it can take away from what they do best. Right now, he’s playing with no fear. He’s shooting the ball well, but the biggest thing he is bringing to us is an attitude and a presence. He’s in attack-mode the whole time he’s in there and is a fun guy to coach. He is aggressive and confident. That is something this team needs.”

On the play of Darnell Jackson:
“He has played well and played tough. He has had his moments and played well against Missouri. You can’t measure him in points, but you can in rebounds. He makes a lot of subtle, smart basketball plays. He’s played well, but I don’t think he can play much more than he is right now. He’s definitely given us the physical, big body that we need.”