Men's Basketball Press Conference Quotes (Feb. 14)

Feb. 14, 2008

Head Coach Bill Self:<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

On <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Colorado:

“Since Colorado has played us they’ve only played two games and they beat Oklahoma by double-figures and they went to Stillwater and lost by one. We saw last night that OSU is very capable. Everybody in our league is good at home. I really feel that Colorado, when you look at their scores, they’ve played better at home, but they are one of the teams that have gotten a lot better on the road. They lost to Texas by a basket; they lost to OklahomaState by one. They’ve made gradual improvement the whole time. Even though we won by 13 out there (Boulder), our players won’t think that was easy because they made us play the entire 40 minutes.”

On the defense versus Texas:

“I thought our first shot defense in the second half was as good as it has been. I don’t know how you can guard the best ball handling point guard (D.J. Augustine) in the country and keep from getting close to the basket. We did a good job on him and we did a great job on Abrams in the second half. Against our first shot defense they were 6-of-21 from the field which is 28 or 29 percent. If that’s the case, you should be able to win on the road.”

On when the right time is for the team to start peaking:

“My goal has always been for our teams to start getting better in February and hopefully peaking in late February or early March. We are 23-2 and we have lost to two Top 25 teams on the road in pretty good environments. In the first half against Texas we played very, very, very well. In the second half we had three or four empty possessions when it counted the most and of course we didn’t rebound the ball. Those are things we can get better at. What’s great about our schedule is the fact that we play Saturday and then we don’t play again until next Saturday. This is an opportunity where we have an extended period of time where we can get better. It’s hard to get better if you don’t practice. I’m not a believer that we’ll play in a game and we’ll automatically get better. You have to work on the things that you need to improve on. We have plenty of things that we need to work on, but I’m not ready to say that the sky is falling because we lost to a Top 11 team on the road by a possession. I do think that if we had done some things differently, our chances for a different outcome would have been much better.”

On putting the loss to Texas in perspective:

“It’s a long season. We’ve had some good moments, we’ve had some not so good moments and we’ve had bad moments where we actually won games and it’s been camouflaged. Every team goes through the exact same thing. I’ve never had a team, nor has anybody ever coached a team, that didn’t go through periods of time where some weeks they were a little better than other weeks. It could be a lot of different things. This past week, I don’t know what it was, but in the second half we just didn’t play with that same sense of urgency that I thought Texas played with.”

On his players’ toughness:

“A coach should be evaluated by how hard they play, how unselfish they are and how tough they play. I think this team has graded out very, very high in those areas. The second half (at Texas), the way we rebounded the ball showed a lack of toughness. The first half it didn’t. The second half, for whatever reason, we didn’t hit anybody on a block out, we didn’t attack the ball at its peak and we did not make tough plays. That is the thing that is most frustrating to me because that should be something that you should be able to pencil in every night.”

On those continuing to question the team’s toughness:

“This has been made way too big a deal. Who on our team is not tough? That should be the question because everybody on our team is tough. We didn’t play tough one night. We should be able to say, `well, we didn’t do well one night’. We did not play tough on the glass one night. That does not mean we have soft guys. That means that one night we didn’t play tough on the glass. You cannot tell me that over time, that we don’t have tough guys – as tough as anybody.”

On splitting the playing time of Cole Aldrich and Sasha Kaun:

“They are both very important. Sasha (Kaun) is obviously playing quite a few more minutes than Cole (Aldrich). Sasha’s played good of late. I thought he was very good against Texas. I thought he rebounded the ball very well. In the NCAA Tournament you want as many bodies as you can, especially bigs because foul problems can create some situations for you. We are fortunate to have four good big guys.”

On whom he most wants to talk to at the reunion:

“Clyde Lovellette. I am really looking forward to being able to spend some time with him. Coach (Larry) Brown, I’ve talked to him obviously, but I love visiting with him and having him share some things with me. The thing about this that is really cool is that I don’t think we look at the reunion of what players that have had their number hanging in the rafters are coming back. I don’t think you look at it that way. I think you look at the guys that have walked on and gave themselves to the school for four years or the guy that was a backup point guard. The non-heralded guys because when you get a bunch of guys in a room, they are the same. They are just guys that gave their blood, sweat and tears to a place that was bigger than them. It’s not about one person coming back. It’s about the collection of everybody being here. That is what I’m going to get out of it as much as anything.”

On the tradition of Allen Fieldhouse:

“The people here enjoy sitting on hard bleachers. They may complain about it, but if you ask anybody if they want to change it, they would say `no’. There are certain things that we may say we want, but in all likelihood, we wouldn’t trade what we have.”

Senior Guard Russell Robinson:

On consistency:

“I would say that we need to be able to adapt to tough environments. We just have to continue to stay confident and continue to know that we are a good team.”

On the team brining in football helmets and pads during his freshman year to help with the team’s toughness:

“It was pretty funny, but the message was definitely sent. We responded well after that. We never did it again. I think they disposed of the tape. We had shoulder pads and helmets. It would be something funny to look at on YouTube right now.”

On the current team being dubbed as more talented and deeper than the 1988 National Championship team:

“That’s a compliment. We don’t have a Danny Manning on this team though, so I guess it kind of evens out. I just feel that we have a good team and even with two losses we have to know that we are a good team and we are capable of getting big wins. We have to stay confident.”

Senior Forward Sasha Kaun:

On the men’s basketball reunion this weekend:

“It’s definitely going to be fun. It’s kind of exciting to see all the guys coming back as well as the coaches. It’s definitely going to be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to it.”

On the foul trouble of the guards:

“It’s hard to guard for the entire shot clock. It’s hard to guard with so much cutting and back cutting and ball movement. We just have to be patient. We have worked in the last couple practices on being patient on defense and trying to go on for 35 seconds before breaking down.”

On KansasState’s loss to Texas Tech on Wednesday night:

“It is fortunate for us, but we shouldn’t be in a position where we have to figure out who has to lose for us to win (the Big 12 Conference title). We have to take care of business and try to win every game.”

Sophomore Forward Darrell Arthur:

On the men’s basketball reunion this weekend:

“I think it’s great for us to share an experience with them (the men’s basketball alumni) and just be here with them. I think it’s going to be a fun experience, its going to be great.”

On Colorado:

“They run around a lot. They do a lot of ball screens, back cuts and things like that. It’s tough to actually guard the Princeton offense so were going to get in here (to practice) and work on it a lot.”

On KansasState’s loss to Texas Tech on Wednesday night:

“We have a tough conference. Anything can happen on any night so we have to come with our `A’ game every night.”

Freshman Forward Cole Aldrich:

On the men’s basketball reunion this weekend:

“It is going to be a fun weekend. It’s the 110th anniversary of KU basketball and we get to pull out our retro jerseys. It’ll be fun. I haven’t really met any of the former players besides some of the guys that have played in the last few years, so it’s going to be a real fun experience.”

On Colorado:

“They run that Princeton offense and it’s tough to guard. It’s really tough to guard. We are going to have to really get after them and really get the defense in to guard them.”

On KansasState’s loss to Texas Tech on Wednesday night:

“With K-State losing that still puts pressure on everybody. We still have to keep doing our thing and win. K-State losing doesn’t do anything for us if we don’t win. We are just looking, every game, to come out and play hard, play our best.”

On Tuesday’s practice following the loss to Texas:

“We struggled to rebound the ball in the second half (against Texas) and coach really emphasized that. If we hit the glass really hard that is going to give us a few extra possessions. That’s really going to help us later in the season and in every game that we play in from here on out.”