Bill Self Teleconference Quotes
March 7, 2005
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
On Keith’s ankle:
“The word late last night was that it was not cracked, or fractured; it is a severe sprain that will allow him, hopefully, to rehab this week. We’ll evaluate this weekend whether he can play this weekend. He thinks he can, and we hope that he can, but that remains to be seen. He is not lost for the season, which the medical staff originally thought that could be the case.”
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On Keith possibly not playing in the Big 12 tournament:
“There will be thoughts about that, if that is what we have to do. We will see how his progress is, but there is certainly the chance that he could not play this weekend.”
On Keith’s replacement:
“J.R. will start, and it could be Mike, if that is the case. In the first half yesterday Hawkins kept us remotely in the game. He was our best perimeter player in the first half. We just need to get some guys playing. We picked a bad time when Keith went out, to have guys not used to playing. We just need guys to step up and be players like they are. We are capable of that; I don’t really know where we will turn to yet. He (Keith) is such a big part of what we do, but I know we won’t change much. Mike, J.R., and Hawkins all have to collectively play to their ability.”
“I think Keith has a presence. We haven’t played like we are capable of playing the last three weeks or so, and certainly he gives us the best chance to be as good as we can be. But when you have a starter go out, that is when teams have to get tough. We lost three games in the league when we were missing a starter. That’s not an excuse. Guys have to step up and be tougher and harder, and that is what we have not done. We have to step up and realize what we have lost and how to make up for it in other areas. We just have to get our guys to understand that. We just haven’t responded very well when we have had starters out with the exception of Wayne early in the season.”
On why the team is responding differently compared to earlier in the season:
“I don’t think that they (the team) looked at Christian being the same piece missing as they did Wayne. We know Christian is a very important piece, but the team was so together and so hungry when Wayne was down. I don’t think when Christian went down, we had that same mentality that we had to be tougher and harder than we have been all year. As for yesterday, I can’t put my finger on it. Things are going well, and then you lose your best perimeter player, and it deflated us rather than making us tougher and harder. The way that occurred is the exact opposite of how you’d hope a team would respond. You would hope a team would really hunker down and do what they had to do to put them in the best position to win the game. We didn’t guard and we didn’t rebound.
On practice this week:
“We have to get these guys playing with zest and energy and life. We had a lot to play for yesterday and I didn’t feel like we acted like we had as much to play for as we did. To me, that is between the ears as much as it is the physical aspect of it.”
On the Big 12 tournament:
“We just played our best game of the year a week ago, and then played pretty well against Kansas State on Wednesday. The thing about this tournament is you can play well and lose. Our first round game, regardless of who wins between Kansas State and Texas A&M, we are going to have to play well. The Big 12 Conference tournament has more to play for this year than in years past. There are teams that are fighting to get in that have a really good chance to get in, and teams fighting for seeds. We put ourselves in the situation where if we don’t perform well we could drop a lot, but we still have a chance to help ourselves if we perform well. We need to put it together and play a lot better, and we may have to do it without Keith. We need to rise to the challenge. But certainly other teams have a lot to play for, maybe more so than last year.
On what a number one seed means:
“It means a lot for me, and for our players too. But the reality of that is we are on the outside looking in big time–we would probably have to win our tournament to have a shot at that. It is a goal, but it can’t be our immediate goal. Our goal is to get better everyday and go up to Kansas City and play the game with the energy and passion that the game is meant to be played. If we do that, the chances of good things happening are a lot better.
On playing Kansas State/Texas A&M on Friday:
“The plus is that hopefully we will be ready to play. I am more worried about us. But I will say this; nobody in our league plays harder than A&M. They play like a hungry team. K-State came to Lawrence the other day and played very, very well. We made some shots otherwise the game could have been very interesting. I think it will be a great first round match-up. The advantage we may have is that they only have 24 hours to prepare for us, so to speak. That would be the advantage of getting a bye; you get 3 or 4 days to prepare for the first round game, preparing for both teams, where they only get 24 hours.
On why he felt the team lacked effort against MU:
“I don’t think it was intentional. We were up 11-3 when Keith went down, and we got off to a great start. We just played a pitiful next 20 minutes, the last 17 of the first and the first three of the second half. I don’t know the exact reason, but I think confidence is a little bit of it. We have some guys that play very confidently when things go well, but when things don’t go as well, don’t play with as much confidence. You can’t base your game on whether or not a shot goes in. That’s why we didn’t celebrate when we got a piece of the crown, because the goal was to win it out right. So I can’t put my finger on it.
On a time table for Keith:
“He’s on crutches, and will remain on crutches the rest of the week. There is a chance that he could play this weekend, but there is also a great chance that we will hold him out too because we want him to be 100 percent next week. We will see how he progresses. If he can get to the point where he is 80 or 90 percent than we will play him, if not, then we will definitely hold him out.”