Bill Self Press Conference Quotes

March 8, 2010


Kansas men’s basketball head coach Bill Self met with media Monday to discuss the upcoming Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. Select players from the team also discussed the week ahead with media members.

VIDEO: Self Press Conference

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self

On the team having less of a margin for error this year as opposed to 2008:

“Maturity would be a big thing. We are the 265th-youngest team in America. That team was experienced at all spots and all times. They had been through it and been to an Elite Eight and done some other things that the majority of these guys have not experienced. I would say that it is not a negative statement at all, it is just a statement saying that we have balance which is great, but we still need Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins to produce. In 2008 we did not care whose game it was. This team is balanced and hard to guard, but I don’t think from a maturity or experience standpoint that we are quite where that team was in 2008.”

On what Sherron and Cole need to do to step up down the stretch:

“No matter what team it is in the tournament, the best players on those respective teams need to play well. Sherron and Cole are our two best players. They need to play well and for the most part, they have been consistent all year long. I do think that there is another gear that they could both get to. They know that too, that is not being remotely negative. Playing well does not necessarily mean more points; it means having more of a presence and imposing more of their will on their teammates. I do believe that Cole has to be an inside presence for us. Not only on the defensive end, but the offensive end, because you may have a Davidson game. Or you may have a Memphis game where you just don’t make shots and in order to score basket you have to be able to throw the ball in tight. He is as good as anybody in the country at that pivot position and he needs to play to that.”

On what situations the team’s lack of experience could pose a problem:

“I don’t know if it is a game situation as much as it is really respecting the situation, knowing that if we are not at our magic level, then anybody can beat us. For instance if we are not mature enough to handle distractions, if we are off a little bit, that could be enough to go home right there. To me that is one thing that the 2008 team was so good at. That was a focused group. It is easy to say that your team is focused, but you can’t really say that until they have faced the distractions that are getting ready to come their way. The distractions are multiple things: it could be tickets, popularity, family members involved, agents, runners or after college aspirations. There are so many things and if they can focus on just doing what they have been doing the whole year long with just our basketball family, then they will be fine, but that is easier said than done. This may seem trivial to many, but the majority of NCAA coaches that have coached in the tournament would all say that distractions have played a role, either good or bad, on how that team has played in a particular tournament.”

On the growth of this team from this time last year to now:

“We are a lot better basketball team than we were last year. Last year if one guy out of two did not play well, we probably did not have a great chance to win. This year it has been proven that we probably have enough depth and balance that different guys could step up different nights. In the NCAA tournament last year our third-leading scorer averaged seven points a game. That is not a good deal. It means that one of those guys has to be off just a little bit and you don’t win. This particular season we haven’t played that way at all one time this year, which I think is good.”

On moving back to the No. 1Ranking this week:

“I could care less. It is at the point in time in the season when your play will determine your ranking. I have said the entire time that I just want to play like a number one team in the country. We have been a three seed going into the tournament that was playing like a six or seven seed and we have been a four seed that was playing as well as any one seed. So much of it is matchups, it is nice to be ranked; but this time of year it probably means less than it does in your opening rankings. We are not playing to be ranked number one right now, we are playing to give us the best seed possible that would give us the best chance to advance to the tournament.”

On if he feels like Xavier Henry is headed for a productive postseason:

“I hope so. He has played very well. He did not score a lot of points against Missouri and a lot of that is how Missouri plays and guarded. I think he is on an up tick. I hope that we all play well, but are certainly nice to have your best shooters making shots this time of year.”

Senior Guard Sherron Collins

On what the team’s motivation is going into the Big 12 Championship:

“The lost from last year in the first round. Our first game is tough. We’re just going to go out there and play like we’ve been playing. We’re on a roll and playing pretty well right now. We’re trying not to lose and win every one.”

On last year’s first round loss to Baylor:

“It stung and it was embarrassing. For us to win the conference and then lose our first game in the tournament was very disappointing. We’re trying not to let that happen. We’re working hard and staying positive. We’re staying on top of our game and playing like we’ve been playing.”

On if his leadership roll is more important in the postseason:

“Yes of course. Especially the position we’re in. Last year we were supposed to lose and we kept winning. That was the easy part. We were sneaking up on people and surprising them. This year we’re the forerunners and already expected to be in the Final Four, it’s a little bit different. Me and Cole (Aldrich), we’re rolling through the change. We’re trying to keep all the guys calm and on the same page, but let them know how important it is. One bad half or a couple bad possessions in the tournament and it can be over. We’re really trying to get that through their heads.”

Freshman Forward Thomas Robinson

On what motivates Kansas to win the Big 12 Championship:

“We still have to prove that we’re the best team in the country. We want to go play like we’re the best team in the country and finish the season off as the best team in the country.”

On the keys to playing three games in three days:

“Having our minds right and making sure that we’re focused and keeping our eye on the prize. That will be our motivation.”

On how Kansas has been playing the last two weeks:

“We’ve been pretty consistent as a team, as far as our play, all year, but these last couple of weeks we’ve definitely locked in. We’ve been doing well.”

Freshman Guard Xavier Henry

On how Kansas is preparing for the Big 12 Championship:

“I don’t know too much about it yet, but after practice I’ll probably have a good idea of how hard we’re going to go and how well we’re going to prepare for whoever our opponent is.”

On if there is a particular opponent he would not like to face in the Big 12 Championship:

“To me everybody is the same. I just want to go out there and do our best and win. I look at everybody the same. We just go out there and have to beat them. It doesn’t matter who it is, we have to beat them.”