Self, Jayhawks Discuss Missouri Rematch

Feb. 26, 2009


Kansas men’s basketball head coach Bill Self and select players met with the media Thursday afternoon in Hadl Auditorium to discuss Sunday’s rematch of the Border Showdown with Missouri. Former Kansas star Kirk Hinrich was also on hand to discuss his jersey retirement this weekend.

Men’s Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Feb. 26, 2009

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self

On Cole Aldrich’s lack of foul trouble lately:

“I think he has probably gotten a little bit smarter and also he has some guys around him that have done a real good job of collecting the majority of the fouls that are going around from an inside spot. The other day, if I’m not mistaken, 22 minutes into the game, the four spot had collected over 10 fouls. They have done a good job making up for Cole, but he has gotten a little bit smarter and is moving his feet better.”

On the media comparing Cole Aldrich to Kevin McHale:

“Well they are both tall; they are both white; they are both from Minnesota, so there are obviously three similarities and they both have funky shots, so four similarities. He doesn’t quite have the footwork that McHale had in his heyday, but Cole does have pretty good feet for a guy as young as he is.”

On if Sherron Collins was tired at the end of the Missouri game in Columbia:

“I think he got tired, but I don’t think that was the reason that we didn’t perform well. Everybody gets tired, but your best player has to be in the game during the most crucial times and he played 39 minutes against OU and I didn’t think he was tired then. Missouri does do a good job of putting pressure on you for an extended period of time, basically the 40 minutes they put pressure on you as far as keeping you on your toes. I do think we need to find a way to steal him a little more rest time, but I don’t think that’s the reason why we lost the game. I’m certainly not going to put that on him. We lost that game because they were just better than us down the stretch.”

On how Mario Little is getting back into the swing of things:

“He was doing very well and now he’s hit a little bit of a funk, but he’s going to be up and down some. He will be one of our four guys in our ‘big man’ rotation, even though he’s not a big guy. He’s not going to play much on the perimeter this year, it’s just not going to happen as it’s evident by the way things have gone. For the most part he’s going to settle into that four spot, but our four spot is a perimeter player half the time, so he’s just got to get back to playing the way he was playing when he wasn’t thinking so much. He’s going through a phase right now where he’s thinking way too much and when you think, you are slow. He needs to get that swagger back that he’s lost the last three or four games, but he will get it back.”

On if people are starting to see this season as more than a rebuilding season:

“I don’t know what people are thinking on the outside, but certainly we have put ourselves in a position that we can have not a good year but a great year and certainly a terrific year, based on the pieces that we thought we had coming into the season compared to what we lost. Expectations should change, but we are still a team full of young guys that are trying to find their way and growing each and every week. It’s been a lot of fun to be around. I would think that if you talk about the people being fans, it has been enjoyable for them to watch these young guys mature throughout the course of the season. We shouldn’t get giddy saying we have done anything, because we haven’t yet, but we have put ourselves in a pretty good position.”

On how his expectations have changed:

“I don’t know. I never thought that I would be thinking about seeding, but we have a legitimate chance to get a really good seed. I did think that we would be thinking about winning the league and to me the whole thing is not getting ahead of ourselves. We have a lot of work to do. We have three tough games, starting with a team (Missouri) that’s playing about as well as anyone right now. I told our guys we are not even going to talk about the league race this week; we are just going to talk about Missouri. That’s what we need to do, take it one game at a time. We have put ourselves in a position right now where I think that my expectation of where I hoped we were has been surpassed. Now we are thinking about if we take care of business because we control our own destiny, we can win the league. I’ve said all along that the best team in our league has the chance to compete for the highest of stakes, because our league is so good. I do think we are in the equation and I’m happy to be part of the equation as opposed to being on the outside looking in.”

On if he is happy the Big 12 Tournament is finishing a day earlier and how it will affect the NCAA Tournament seeding:

“Yeah, that’s something that the coaches voted unanimously on. I think it will make it easier to be slotted where a well-thought-out committee should slot you as opposed to everything is thought out but you have only 45 minutes to work with and get people in. Making sure that there is no other team in your league that you can meet until the Elite Eight and you have all of the pod systems that you have to take into consideration. I think it will be easier to really get an accurate count of where you are at, giving the committee as much time as possible. I wish everybody finished on Saturday and if it wasn’t for TV, I think every coach would vote unanimously on that.”

On Kirk Hinrich getting his jersey retired:

“He deserves it. When I got here, I didn’t think there was a criteria, other than the greatest players that play here deserve to be considered for that, and of course he, without question, is one of the best to play here. We did put the minimum five year waiting period on everybody, because we think it will mean more to the guys coming back if they have had the chance to really think about what they have accomplished as opposed to doing it right at the time that they graduate or leave school. I think it will be great and our fans will be excited. Coincidentally, he has an off day which is good, but he picked the Missouri game. He wanted to be here for that particular game.”

On how much Missouri has improved:

“I told our guys as soon as the game was over, that it will be harder to beat Missouri at home than it was beating Missouri in Columbia, because Missouri didn’t play well against us in Columbia. They scored 16 points in the first half, this is a team that’s averaging 80 points a game and they hang 16 on us in the first half. In the second half they played really well and we didn’t play very well obviously. I do believe this will be a harder game for us to win because I anticipate them coming in here and playing very well. They are a better team than they were back then, but on the flip side, I think we are a better team as well. It should be two really good teams playing Sunday.”

Kansas junior guard Sherron Collins

On Missouri’s performance in the last Kansas match-up:

“They made turnovers that they don’t usually make and they missed shots that they don’t usually miss (in the first half). They had good looks, but they just couldn’t hit them. I think they’ll play better on the road.”

On the revenge factor of this rematch:

“It’s Kansas-Missouri, and they beat us the first time. It’s definitely a game we’ve been looking forward to. I thought we gave it (the game) away. We get frustrated with ourselves because we had the game in our hands and let it slip away. We turned the ball over and made dumb mistakes late in the game. It’s a game that we look forward to getting back.”

On Missouri’s attacking defense:

“They’re going to trap you once you get the ball. We just have to attack the pressure. Once you get the ball, you’ve got to go. They’re going to come up behind you and try to back-tap. We have to attack them and go to the rim.”

Sophomore Center Cole Aldrich

On what upset him most about the game at Missouri:

“Our uncharacteristic turnovers towards the end of the game. It might have carried over from the way we ended the Oklahoma State game. We kind of got a little careless at the end of that game. It might have carried over a little bit. It was all due to their pressure. They’ve shown over the course of the Big 12 season that they can really turn a lot of teams over.”

On if fatigue was a factor in Kansas’ loss at Missouri:

“I would say a little bit. They really were relentless throughout the whole game. For 40 minutes they went press. It was tough. It can definitely wear teams out. I think we’re going to be a little more prepared for it.”

On if playing in Allen Fieldhouse can affect the pressure of Missouri’s press:

“It definitely could change things. It’s a tough pressure whether we’re in Columbia or we’re here in Lawrence. It’s still a heck of a press. It turned us over 27 times. That’s two games worth, plus a little more, of turnovers for us in just one game.”

On what the team can do to not turn the ball over as much:

“One thing that we didn’t really do that good of a job of was attacking. Watching film, when we did, it seemed like we were just trying to get over half court. We didn’t attack it. I think we can really learn from that.”

Former Kansas guard and current Chicago Bull Kirk Hinrich

On getting his jersey hung in the rafters with so many other Kansas legends:

“It is an unbelievable honor. I feel like Allen Fieldhouse is a magical place, so rich in tradition. There have been so many great players that have played there and it is an unbelievable honor to have this happen.”

On what was so special about the Kansas teams he played on:

“I think the most special thing about the teams that I played on was the chemistry and comroderie amongst the team. Everybody gave up part of their game to fit into the team and do what we needed to do to win. That is ultimately what I feel Kansas basketball is all about and that is what I am most proud about being a part of.”

On being recruited by Kansas:

“It is a crazy cycle. To think back to when I was in high school to have a chance to play for a place like the University of Kansas overwhelmed me. After playing at Kansas I truly understand what all of the tradition is about. It is an honor to have the opportunity to have my name hung in the rafters.”

On how this honor ranks among his other accolades:

“I feel like it is the ultimate honor. I don’t know if there is a greater honor in basketball than to have your jersey hanging from the most historic basketball building in the world.”

On Nick Collison being there for the presentation:

“I think it is great. I think that I owe a great debt of gratitude to all my teammates. I feel like every individual accolade is created by a great team environment, great coaches and guys who have given up selfishness. He is one of my better friends; he played on my AAU team and was in my same recruiting class. I had a lot of great memories playing with him and getting to know him.”

On how his Kansas experience prepared him for the NBA:

“I learned so much under Coach Williams and while I was a player at Kansas. I feel like the main thing I carried with me from Kansas to the NBA was determination and hard work. I felt like when I left Kansas, I knew what it took to win. Obviously the NBA is a completely different level, but I felt like I had as good of a foundation as anyone could have entering the NBA as a result of my time under Coach Williams and at the University of Kansas.”

On what game in Allen Fieldhouse he remembers the most:

“The game that I remember most is probably senior night. Any Kansas player will probably tell you that it is just a very special night. The Kansas basketball family and fans really show you how much they appreciate your hard work and dedication. Just to be able to share that with my family and teammates made it the most special game I ever played in Allen Fieldhouse.”

On choosing to come back for the Missouri game:

“It was a no brainer. Playing in the Missouri-Kansas rivalry for four years, I definitely understand how important it is. Some of my most memorable games were played against Missouri. I am excited to have the opportunity to be at the game. I am really looking forward to the ceremony, but also just being there to experience a game again. It has been awhile and it is always special when Kansas plays Missouri.”

On how he would like to be remembered by Kansas fans:

“I would like to be remembered as both a winner and a guy who just laid it on the line every night and played his hardest his whole career. I don’t really have any regrets. I feel like if the ball would have bounced a different way, we might have had a championship. I just want to be remembered as a guy who played hard and gave everything he could to the University and to the fans.”