Weekly Men's Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Feb. 27, 2006

Head Coach Bill Self

On the Texas game:
“After looking at the tape again, the first 10 minutes we probably played every bit as good as them or maybe even a little better. We were up one 10 minutes into the game, and we had missed good shots and they had made shots. We got off to a decent start, but the thing that I think killed us was our lack of soundness defensively. We went to trap the ball twice and gave up six points. Those things are correctable. We didn’t do a lot of things from a soundness standpoint defensively — things that are correctable. There weren’t very many 50-50 balls throughout the game, but of them they got about 80 percent, and that’s something that we have to correct. That’s obviously been an emphasis for us. They were just better than us that night.”

On the Big 12 race:
“We need help to win the league. The biggest thing we can do is do well this week. We have to get help to win the league, that’s always been the goal. We had an opportunity to put ourselves in a lot better position on Saturday and didn’t make the most of it obviously. All we can worry about is beating Colorado. Winning the league will always be a goal of ours until we can’t win it anymore.”

On their potential NCAA seed:
“I won’t talk to the team about that. I think that’s pretty premature. If our whole focus right now is beating Colorado and trying to win the league, I don’t think you bring stuff like that into it just yet. We have talked about where we could potentially be seeded, no doubt about that. We’re not going to get a one or two seed — that’s not going to happen no matter what happens, unless something strange occurs. We have to finish strong and focus in on us.”

On his demeanor in practice today:
“We’ll practice the same way we always do, and I’ll be the same way as always. It’s okay to lose if you did the things that gave you the best chance to win. Then you can just say, `That team was better than us that night.’ It’s not okay to get beat in the way that we got beat. Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. I’m not saying it’s okay to lose. I’m saying that if you go down there knowing that you have to do certain things that give you the best chance to win, and if you don’t do those things and lose then it’s not okay. If you do those things and they still beat you, then they did the things I wanted them to do but we just weren’t quite good enough. We did not do all the things that we should have done. Basketball isn’t like football. You don’t base everything on one game. You base everything over time, and there were certainly some things that we did out of character. If one game ruins us, then we are soft. It didn’t ruin Texas. How can we base the season on one game when you’re starting three freshmen and two sophomores? To me, that’s something that we can’t allow to happen. I’ll encourage the guys, and I’ll get on them. I’ll be the same way I’ve always been.”

On Colorado:
“I think they’re going inside more. Before they were playing (Andy) Osborn and (Chris) Copeland primarily together and now they’re playing (Julius) Ashby a lot more, and he’s giving them more of a low post presence. They’re a dangerous team. They’re very hard to guard because they can stretch it from all five spots. They’re not a conventional team at all. They’re going to come in and fight hard. They’ll play hungry just like they should, but we should too.”

On senior night:
“Unfortunately Moulaye (Niang) couldn’t play this year, but he’s as solid a guy as there is. Stephen (Vinson) helped us win games at this level this year when nobody would have guessed that, and who could have predicted what Christian (Moody) has done. Although he hasn’t been playing as much lately, he has helped us win a lot of games here, and probably nobody anticipated that. Of course Jeff Hawkins came as a guy paying his own way as well, and he started the first half of the season for us. When the career leading scorer of your senior class has about 300 points, it’s obviously not as decorated a class as they’ve had come through here, but as far as maximizing their abilities, these guys did it pretty well.”

“One big reason why the freshmen have done better here and done so well in the league is because the seniors have accepted their roles and haven’t fought it. If they had fought it, our chemistry wouldn’t be near as good as it is.”

On Max Falkenstien:
“It will mean a lot for the four seniors to play. I would say if you could try to sum up those guys’ four years and the emotions they have and multiply it by 15, that would give you an idea of what it will be like for Max. I would think he will be very emotional. It will mean so much to him. He’s been as a good as an ambassador for this university and the athletic program as anyone ever has, maybe the best. If you stop and think about all the lives he has touched along the way — people in western Kansas or wherever that have never seen Max but know his voice the first time they turn on the radio. It will be a great night for him. I certainly hope our fans and our seniors pay homage to him in a way that will make this go down as one of the most memorable nights of his life because he deserves it.”

On what Stephen Vinson will be remembered for:
“I think he should be remembered for how hard he played and how tough he is and what a great ambassador he’s been. If we have to sum up athletes that give their hearts and souls for four years to a place and they’re remembered for a 12-minute stretch of one game (this year’s Cal game), I don’t think it’s really fair to those guys. He’s done a lot more than just play well in that one game.”

“He and Christian are our spiritual leaders on the team. They go the extra mile to mentor the young guys. They’re always there on time. They’re there whether their bodies hurt or not. Stephen has just been a great role model and the standard for our guys to work for.”

If he agrees that Christian Moody is the best walk-on in history:
“There are some walk-ons out there that are pretty good. There are some guys out there that pay their own way because they’re promised something at the end. When you talk about a guy that goes somewhere with no anticipation of being a scholarship guy or being a starter or a guy to impact a program, you’d have to put Christian right at the top of every list.”

On Jeff Hawkins:
“He’s grown up a lot since he’s been here. I think KU has been really good for him. Jeff certainly has played very, very well at times and been one of our key performers throughout the time that I’ve been here. Here’s a guy that comes in and has to play four years behind Aaron (Miles). He has kept a positive attitude. I think he’s going to leave here a much better man than how he entered the place. Jeff has a bright future. He’s got personality, he’s tough and has a lot of things going for him. Certainly he’s been through some ups and downs here and there, but I’m not sure that’s different than all programs across America. He’s responded to those quite well.”

On Moulaye Niang’s future:
“I think Moulaye will be counting his own or counting someone else’s money. I think he’ll get into some sort of business or sales. He’s very people-oriented. He’s getting a degree in business, and he’ll certainly do well with that.”