Men's Basketball Press Conference Quotes (2/25/08)

Feb. 25, 2008

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

On the recent struggles:

“The reason we are not playing near as well right now is strictly intangibles. Things that have nothing to do with putting the ball in the basket. It has a lot to do with the mindset of putting the ball in the basket. We’re not playing well right now. We played miserably on Saturday, but I do think that health is a part of the intangible equation. When you don’t have health that is when everyone else needs to rally around (each other). Our other players need to play a little bit better and pull the rope a little harder. There are some guys that are distracted for real reasons. Playing well through tough times is a sign of leadership and players coming together. We didn’t have that on Saturday.”

On the team’s identity:

“Usually you are pretty settled in on who you are as a team by now. We just haven’t had the intangible things that are controllable be as positive as it was earlier in the season. It is not unusual at all, it happens across <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>America to all teams. We see teams all over the place not play as well in February as they were earlier in the year. Certainly you don’t want it to happen to you. It has only happened one time since I’ve been here that we haven’t gotten a lot better (over time). We have always had a lot to play for, to me it’s the teams that don’t have a lot to play for and their minds get stale. Right now there are a lot of teams where the regular season doesn’t mean much, but to us it means a ton. We are playing for an opportunity to win a league championship. It’s disappointing to me that we are talking about intangibles right now because it’s the time when intangibles are the most important.”

On the team’s leadership:

“It probably needs to start with me because we don’t have a vocal leader on the team. We’ve been talking about this for four years and its not going to happen. I’ve got to do a better job of providing leadership for our guys. I can’t talk on the court. Our staff and I can’t do some things. But from a vocal standpoint, the vocal leader needs to be me. But from an on-the-court standpoint you would hope that the guards would be the ones to take control.”

On Sherron Collins:

“He is the guy (that can be the leader). His health won’t allow him to be that guy.”

On Saturday’s game:

“There wasn’t a lot of balls that they out-quicked us or beat us to. I thought it was as good of a job as we have done all year at going to the offensive glass and defensive rebounding. Going to the glass. We did a really good job in those two areas. Even when we made shots we did what we were supposed to do in terms of getting to the glass. It was a weird game in that in the second half OklahomaState scored most of their points with under 10 on the shot clock. In a typical game that is more fast-paced there would be more rebounds to be had.”

On the team’s mindset:

“The better you play now, the better you are prepared to play well later. You can still be improving even if the final outcome on the scoreboard isn’t what you want it to be. So I felt like in our three losses I did not feel very good coming out of the games because of the way we lost the games. Where if we would have lost the game differently, I would have had a different mindset leaving the game. The seniors have a chance to win four league titles and not very many people have the chance to accomplish that so it is very important to them.”

On comparing the recent struggles to Florida’s struggles during the same time last year:

“It is like comparing apples and oranges because Florida had already won a national championship last year. Our guys should not have the mindset that we know what to do and when the time is right we are going to do it. That should not be the mindset of any team that hasn’t done it yet. We haven’t been down that road yet. It would be giving our guys and our team way too much credit to compare us to a team that has already done it.”

On the big men’s production:

“I have been real pleased with the big men’s production. If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that our big guys would have averaged this many points I would have been pretty pleased. The rebounding differential has been pretty good for the most part all year. When you are at plus-7 in differential in a good league, that’s not too bad. There is another step we can take because there hasn’t been many times this year when all our big guys have been hitting on all cylinders. We are doing a pretty good job, but are just scratching the surface of what they can be as a collective unit.”

On Darrell Arthur’s foul trouble:

“The five fouls he had the other day could have been seven, so we got lucky. As a big guy it is ok if you are getting fouls challenging shots or going over the back. The problem is that I don’t think any of Darrell’s fouls were being remotely aggressive. In order to protect him we would have to change how we play and we are not going to do that. He just needs to do better.”

Sophomore Guard Sherron Collins:

On if the team has been distracted recently:

“I wouldn’t say distracted. I would just say our focus hasn’t been there. We just have to focus more. We know we are going to get everybody’s best shot so we have to start playing like it.”

On his recovery from his knee injury:

“(The recovery) can go slow but it is getting better. Day by day everything is feeling better. I’m still a little banged up, but you have to roll with it.”

On being a leader:

“I feel comfortable with (being a leader), but I got a little out of myself while I’ve been hurt. If you’re not on the floor, telling the other players out there is kind of hard. I still talk to them; I just try to encourage them more.”

On seeking the Big 12 title:

“Whatever happens, happens. We still have to go out and play. We still have to finish strong. We have to go into the Big 12 Tournament ready to play and with a different mindset.”

Sophomore Foward Darrell Arthur:

On the effect of the losses on the team:

“We have lost three games in the conference so far and it is frustrating. We have to go back into the gym and get back to work though. We have to start a new stretch and try to make it something that is positive for us. Hopefully we can jump back on to the good side and get some things going. We have a lot to work on.”

On the team’s problem:

“Since the beginning of the year we haven’t been able to get away. Every away game we either barely win or we lose. We just have to play better away, play more aggressive. I think we play a little bit looser than we do at home. We have to correct that.”

On his foul trouble:

“I’m kind of excited out there. I’m trying to jump everywhere and fly around everywhere. I’ve been putting my hands on people and they’ve been calling a lot of touch fouls. They get me out of the game really quick. It’s just something I have to work on in practice. It’s things that can be corrected.”

On whether they should play more zone to keep his fouls down:

“No, I don’t think we should run zone. We should keep playing man. We did early in the season and we can do it now. I think ever since we lost to K-State we have been on a downfall. Hopefully we can pick it up.”

Freshman guard Tyrel Reed:

On his preparation to play:

“For a while I was a little behind, but I think I’ve been pretty good for the past three weeks or so, and I think I am back up to speed. I feel that I’m ready and whenever I’m called upon I am going to go out there and give it my all, and whatever happens, happens. I’m always a little nervous when I get out there but I think I’m getting more comfortable with the minutes that I have been playing. Talking to the guys and being around them helps me get through things. Defense has always been (a tougher adjustment) for me; coming out and playing against such great guards every game, with their speed and physicality.”

On the Texas-KansasState game:

“I think we have to (root for KansasState). We put ourselves in a bad situation here and we are going to hope for the best and do what we can when the time comes to try to win out from here.”

Senior guard Russell Robinson:

On Kansas’ distractions:

“Individually, some guys have more distractions than others, but as a team I don’t think we really have any distractions. We just have to stay tough-minded; stay focused on the game and do what we need to do to contribute to the team. I think we needed to get these mistakes out of our system so we can learn from them. Fouling is a big one (mistake) and our failure to play smart. I don’t think we have been playing as smart as we can or as smart as we have in the past. Also, we need to continue to come together defensively. We need to work together as a team and communicate more – I think that is key.”

Senior forward Darnell Jackson:

On Kansas’ confidence:

“I think everyone needs to regain some confidence and find their role on the team; what they need to do on and off the court. It was a terrible game (against OklahomaState). I don’t think everyone was on the same page. There were a lot of things that were not gong right for us in that game.”

On Kansas’ recent struggles:

“You have to know your role every game. You cannot come into one game and not know what to do. Everyone has to bring something to the table. I think we are still confident, but not at the level where we used to be at the beginning of the season. After that first loss I think everyone went downhill because we didn’t want to lose. We have to be a team where we keep it `on’ all the time; you can’t just turn it on and off.”