Men's Basketball Meets With Media to Preview TCU

Feb. 22, 2013

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Kansas men’s basketball head coach Bill Self held his weekly press conference with the media to discuss the Jayhawks’ double-overtime win at Oklahoma State Wednesday and to preview their upcoming Big 12 Conference game on Saturday when they host TCU.

Head coach Bill Self
On the 115th men’s basketball reunion:
“I’m sure other places in America do it, but I don’t know if anyone does it any cooler than what they have at KU for years, with the reunions. They only do them every five years. I think it means something to all those guys that do come back. I know at one point in time we had right at 200, or just south of 200, ex-players that were signed in to come back. I know we’ve had some cancellations because of weather concerns. It should be a fun day, one where–it’s not so much us seeing them back, it’s them coming back and being with each other, to me, is what’s really cool. You don’t get that opportunity that often, to hang out with guys that were certainly lifetime friends, compadres, during their time here. Nobody ever forgets those days.”

On if the current team has gotten back to guarding like he’s wanted the past three games:
“I thought during our losing streak, against Oklahoma State the first time, we didn’t guard them, at least like we’re capable of. TCU we didn’t guard like we’re capable of. And certainly, OU, they shot a high percentage for the most part. I think we’re definitely defending better. We really guarded Oklahoma State well (Wednesday night), considering how poor we were on the offensive end. That was remarkable–how poorly we shot. I thought that was remarkable to go down there and win. Basically, it could have gone either way; it was a last-possession game. Our defense and rebounding certainly kept us in the game.”

On if he believes any good came out of the TCU loss:
“Not yet. I watched the tape; of the three games we lost in conference play, or the four games we lost this season, there’s only been one team that handled us from start to finish and that was TCU. Michigan State we got a four-point lead late, Oklahoma State we got a four-point lead late, Oklahoma we were down one with a minute-and-a-half left. TCU was the only game we didn’t have a chance to win. I look at it a little bit differently. They probably played us as well as anybody’s played us all year. Granted, we didn’t play well, but they had a lot to do with that, too.”

On redshirt freshman forward Jamari Traylor’s recent play:
“Jamari’s learning as he goes and he did give us some great minutes the other day. He was energetic and those sorts of things. We’re better in half-court offense, although that was hard to see, with our veterans in the game. But as far as energy and running and jumping and doing things like that, he’s definitely been an added boost for us. He’s going to be a heck of a player, he just needs time. I don’t know if you noticed his hand is messed up, his right hand. It’s a sprained thumb. We’re thankful that he’s playing, to be honest with you, because we thought when he hurt it that he may be out for a while. He’s definitely been a bonus for us.”

On Traylor having a high ceiling as a defender:
“I think Jamari can be a great defender. He’s not tall. I’d like to say he’s 6-8 but you guys know he’s not. He’s a shorter inside player. Le’Bryan (Nash, Oklahoma State) would be a good match-up size-wise for him to go against. There’s not that many prototypical type four-men that are out there, that are 6-9 or 6-10 and can post or play away from the basket. He’s usually Jeff’s (Withey) backup, so he’s having to guard the other team’s five the majority of the time. He’s done a pretty admirable job of it.”

On if Naadir Tharpe’s game-winning shot against Oklahoma State will help his confidence:
“Well I hope it boosted it. He wasn’t that happy after the game because he knows there were some things he could have done differently to maybe not put us in that position. We watched tape yesterday and offensively, we watched over and over and over. We weren’t as organized as we should have been and the sound got to us with the noise level and not being able to communicate well and (there are) things like that that we have to be better at. That really falls on the guards more than anybody else. Ben’s (McLemore) shot here against Iowa State was a huge shot. Naadir just made a play where he had to bounce it, he had to beat a guy, you’re talking about a 5-10 kid throwing a jump hook. That’s not exactly a shot that we practice every day. It was as big a play as anybody has made this year for us.”

On Tharpe’s play after Elijah Johnson fouled out against Oklahoma State:
“I thought he did well. Our team won so he did well. We didn’t make any shots, but he did fine. I thought defensively he did pretty well for the most part. He let (Oklahoma State’s Phil) Forte get loose twice. With the scouting report defense, you don’t do what he did. It ended up costing us five points and he knows that, but I thought he did a good job.”

On if Tharpe was recruited for his intangibles as much as his talent:
“I thought the biggest thing Naadir had going for him were his intangibles. Everybody likes him. He’s funny and he makes everybody feel at ease. He showed up at his visit in a tie. Nobody does that. If we can get guys out of a hoodie, we think they are really dressing up. He’s a cool kid in that regard and people like him. They gravitate toward him. I don’t think last year’s personality showed the way I wanted it to nor the way he wanted it to. This year he has come so much into his own and is feeling more comfortable.”

On if he thinks the Sacramento Kings traded former Kansas player Thomas Robinson before he had a chance to prove himself:
“I don’t have any idea. I haven’t talked to their general manager or their coaches. I know this: Thomas is happy. He’s in Houston and he’s happy. I think that’s great. He gets to go to a team that has a chance to make the playoffs. I think Houston, right now, is the eighth-place team if I’m not mistaken. I’m happy for Thomas and I’m really happy for the Twins. Marcus (Morris) has had a good year and Markieff (Morris) last year was exceptional. Markieff finished sixth in for the Rookie of the Year last year. They will both play better now that they are together. You watch, Markieff’s production per minute will be elevated and so will Marcus’. Hopefully, they will get a chance to play together some because I don’t think they are in the playoff hunt at all. I was happy for them. I’m probably happiest for (Marcus and Markieff’s mother) Angel (Morris) because now she can save money because she only needs one place to live as opposed to two.”

On closing in on 500 wins in his career and his place in Kansas’ basketball legacy:
“I don’t see what we’ve done as a huge part of the legacy of the school. When I think of KU basketball–and this the way it should be over time–I think of Dr. (James) Naismith and I think of Phog Allen. There have been six coaches after Dr. Allen and that’s the legacy of our school. Coach (Ted) Owens and (Dick) Harp had success here and Larry (Brown) had great success here in a short amount of time. Roy (Williams) experienced great success when he was here and we’ve had some success since we’ve been here, but this is far bigger than any modern day coach. We’re talking about the history of the game that we all love. When I think of Chicago Bears’ football, I don’t think of (Mike) Ditka. I think of George Halas. When you think of the (Dallas) Cowboys, you think about Tom Landry and they won Super Bowls after him. There have been guys who have experienced success here and all that stuff, but when you think about the coaches, you should think about two. When you think about the players, you should think about them all when you’re talking about the history and the legacy of this place.”

On Naismith having a losing record:
“If people get on my butt too much, I’ll remind them of that. He did beat Topeka YMCA.”

On his memories of Kansas’ 1988 National Championship team while he was a graduate assistant at Oklahoma State:
“All teams go through stuff. KU was really, really even midseason. They were 12-8. I don’t know what their record was coming in to Stillwater, but when they came to Stillwater, they weren’t very good yet. They hadn’t shot the ball well and they go 6-of-6 for the game from three. They beat us in an unbelievable game. From there, they just kind of took off. I do remember that we certainly contributed to KU’s success that year. We had the opportunity to play KU on Danny’s (Manning) senior night. The band was in tuxedos. I think the three officials were in tuxedos. It was one where we had no chance before the game even started and then of course that’s when the Archie Marshall deal occurred at the end. That was great because Archie is the one guy more than anybody else who will say, `what if?’ about his career. It could have been so special from an NBA perspective if he hadn’t torn his two ACLs. I remember going to see (then-Kansas head coach) Larry Brown Sunday night before Monday’s (championship) game against Oklahoma in Kansas City. I thought it was really cool. He wanted to know how we broke the press against Oklahoma. I’m thinking, `you’re going to ask me, but I know for a fact that you’re not going to listen.’ He had a 6-11 guy he could throw it into and break it that way. I wasn’t a part of it, but it was nice to feel somewhat included because of my past history with coach.”

On if TCU has any particularly bad matchups for Kansas:
“I think the way that they played us the first time was absolutely perfect. They didn’t give angles. They cut off transition. They did a lot of things that were very good and that have given us some problems. I watched the tape and they whipped us. They beat us from start to finish. Regardless of our play, they beat us from start to finish. No other team that has played us has been able to do that. They controlled it the entire time. I think we cut it to four and missed an uncontested three that was the closest we got there with about four minutes left. They definitely have our respect.”