Kansas Head Coach Bill Self's Weekly Press Conference

Feb. 22, 2007

Kansas Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Bill Self

On the NCAA tournament approaching and bids from the Big 12:
“If you look at our league, we’ve got four teams with a winning record and everybody else is 6-7 and 5-7. So usually when you’re pretty stacked in the middle, it gives the appearance of not being quite as strong. I still contend that’s not the case at all. It’s the best it’s been since I’ve been in the league and that’s been four years. I think that we’ll have a minimum five teams get in and I think there will be others contending for a berth and how we’re perceived, I don’t have any idea. I saw in the RPI where the Big 12 was listed as the sixth-rated conference. I don’t think that the conference will affect the seeds as much as what your body of work does. Hopefully in our case we did enough things (non-conference) that regardless of how anybody views our conference, they’ll see those wins as being very positive.”

On different styles of play within the conference:
“I think we’ve got a true Missouri Valley guy that had great success in the Valley beating high majors in McDermott. He’s got a style that’s comparable to that and we saw that last year in the tournament. We’ve got a guy down the road that certainly has brought a fast-paced pressing game that can get you out of rhythm and is difficult for teams to deal with. Coach Huggins has obviously done a great job on pressure, in your face man-to-man. We haven’t played Oklahoma yet, but they’ll play a style that’s comparable to teams that you’ll play in the tournament. I think our league is as well-versed as any league in America as far as having multiple styles to go against. Bob Knight runs a motion offense. If somebody runs motion in the NCAA tournament, they’re not going to run it better than Texas Tech.”

On exerting authority with new coaches in the Division:
“We’ve only thought about winning the league. That’s all we’ve thought about. We’ve put ourself in a position that we can’t stub our toe again ,but at least we control our own destiny.”

On the diversity of style in the league since last year:
“I think it’s quite a bit different. With Texas and Missouri, you’re going to play a fast-paced game with a lot of possessions. You’re going to play tough man to man, you’re going to play against soft man to man, you’re going to play against triangle-and-two, you’re going to play against box-and-one, you’re going to play against mini zones. You’re going to play against teams that control the shot clock, against teams that play motion. You’re going to play tough teams that are very physical and some teams that rely solely on speed and quick hands. I think it’s pretty diverse, more so than last year.”

On a young team losing sight of the goal to win the conference championship with upcoming NCAA seeding:
“I don’t think so. Winning the league will have a lot to do with the brackets when they come out in a couple of Sundays. A goal of ours every year is to win the league. We’ve been talking about that as a goal since day one, so I can’t see them forgetting about that and moving on to something else. I don’t think that will happen at all.”

On how the team has changed since the last match-up with Iowa State:
“Florida, Oral Roberts, DePaul and Iowa State- that almost seems like a different season. That doesn’t even seem like this year. To be honest with you, Iowa State was a long time ago. Even though it was only a month and half, it seems like a long time ago and a lot of games have happened since then. I think we’re a better team than when we played them the first time. I think we were lucky to win the first time. I thought they controlled the game for the most part and got it in a style that gave them the best chance and limited fast-break opportunities and limited possessions. Certainly I think we’re a better team than when we played there. I know that we’ve got to guard and rebound and keep doing the things we’ve been doing in order to look good because that’s the biggest reason we’ve played better lately.”

On a specific turning point, a point of reckoning between the early season losses and now:
“The A&M loss certainly stung pretty hard. I thought we regrouped from that pretty well. We’ll look back at that loss at the end of the season as a positive thing that happened to us, but I can’t quite say that yet. But that would probably be the one game to me.”

On Darrell Arthur getting into foul trouble:
“Darrell is averaging about 20 minutes per game. If he didn’t foul so much, he’d be averaging about 26 a game, probably. I do think the last two games he’s been playing with a more free mind and he’s not worried about screwing up because he’s got fouls to give. He’s being more aggressive. I do think that weighs on his mind. I think that is something he’s worked hard and concentrated on. We’ve tried putting him in a better position where he plays smarter defensively and because he’s done that, he’s been a more productive offensive player.”

On Brandon Rush’s struggles versus Kansas State:
“He was sped up. He’s trying to get the shot off instead of exploding and jumping and using his athletic ability. I think all players go through that at some point and time, especially young ones. He’s also been pretty good; so he just went through a little funk. He’ll be fine.”

On playing four games in 10 days and Russell Robinson:
“I think we’re fine. I feel pretty good about our team’s conditioning, we are going to be shorthanded on Saturday. Russell [Robinson] got hurt yesterday. He sprained the bottom of his foot, very similar to a turf toe. It’s not a turf toe, but similar to that. It’ll be treated like an ankle injury or a turf toe injury. I think he will be very doubtful on Saturday and availability on Monday will still be unknown. Hopefully he’ll progress nicely, but we won’t have him on Saturday.”

On Sherron Collins accepting the starting role on Saturday:
“He started a couple games this year, so I think he’ll be fine. I don’t think he’s hung up on that at all. I think he’s hung up on playing hard and winning.”

On Russell Robinson’s injury and the effect on the team:
“He fell down and a player fell on top of him. It twisted his foot the wrong way. It happened yesterday in practice. He’s out. He had [a boot on] earlier, I don’t know if he’s wearing it now. He might be out for Monday’s game too. It’s less than 50-50. It depends on how fast it heals. I think we’ll have him back after that, though. It hurts our team, no question. We’ve got enough guys and our bench will have to step up and do a good job in his absence. We can play Julian [Wright] on the perimeter some. It certainly limits the bodies we can throw at people in certain game situations and with foul problems. I think it definitely hurts. I like having Russell out there. Russell does so many things that don’t show up. He gives us toughness and a presence. He’s been on a roll lately. His assist to turnover ratio lately has been terrific. He was probably playing as well as he played all year, so it’s a blow. He’s a leader and he will be missed. I know guys will step up and fill the void, and play well in his absence. Everybody on this team will be disappointed that he’s not able to play.”

On Sherron Collins’ football ability:
“I don’t think being a wide receiver has anything to do with him getting to the rim. I like football players. There’s something about their mindset that likes contact and things like that, which are positive. He was the shortest guy and he had to fight for everything. There’s something about that which makes him fearless.”

On how this weekend going into Monday will prepare the team for the tournament:
“We’ll take the same approach. It’s a little bit different though, because we’re traveling on Sunday, too. And of course in the tournament, you don’t travel. We haven’t experienced this in the last two years, but in my years of that, the tournament is a pretty trying and tiring time depending on when your game is and things like that. There’s been times that we’ve played a 10:10 p.m. tip, and we’re having dinner at 1:30 a.m. after the game and drug testing and everything else that needs to be done. And you shoot the next day at 2 p.m., and you’re up all night trying to get ready and that kind of stuff. I do think the Saturday-Monday is good preparation for that, even though I don’t think it totally prepares you for tournament time.”

On Mario Chalmers’ play:
“Mario [Chalmers] had played great. Mario hadn’t played bad, he just didn’t score. For him to come out and give us, I think 12 in the first half [versus Kansas State], and two of the shots he had made were shots when Kansas State had momentum. He’s poised, he’s confident. He likes the ball in his hands. And sometimes you shoot, and you just don’t make them. I don’t think that will affect him at all. He made some really good plays driving into the lane. When you lead the league in steals, you want to gamble more. There’s a time to do that and there’s a time not to do that. I think he’s done a real good job of understanding and picking his spots smartly. I had no idea [that Chalmers would become an offensive threat]. He came in as a point guard and we’re playing him as a combo guard. If he stays at Kansas for all four years, he’s going to be a 1,600 to 1,800 point scorer for us. That’s pretty good at Kansas.”