Post Game Quotes
March 20, 2009
MODERATOR: We are joined on the dais by Kansas student athletes ColeAldrich and Sherron Collins, Head Coach Bill Self. We will begin thepress conference with an opening statement by Coach Self followed byquestions for the student athletes.
COACH SELF: Well, I think obviously, two good teams played together.North Dakota State, they gave us all we wanted. And I thought theywere terrific and just the way that we expected them to be.
And I thought we played very well, especially on the offensive end,very efficiently. And of course these two guys carried us down thestretch.
Q. This question is first for Cole. Cole, can you talk about why andhow Sherron was so effective today? And then, Sherron, can you talkabout the same for Cole, why he was so effective down there?
Cole Aldrich: I think we really set him up for good shots. That’sthe one thing that Sherron can really do, is get in the lane and setother guys up. But, you know, we really set some good picks on him andfreed him up. And you know, he’s unreal with his handles. And he canreally get into the paint.
Sherron Collins: And how Cole was effective, they had a sag indefense where they had a lot of size, so we couldn’t feed him the ballthe way we normally do. So we had ran some sets for him and got himthe ball inside.
But he just went and got some rebounded and made some plays. And hemade some tough catches that other people won’t go get, so he finishedat the rim as well.
Q. It almost looked like a mini duel between you and Woodside attimes. Can you describe what it was like being out there with youmaking a bucket, and he would come back and vice versa?
Sherron Collins: I was tired. It was tough. He had good play, one ofthe best guards I played all year.
Coach explained how good he was and I didn’t know he was that good.But he’s tough. And I just think, you know, I didn’t take it as aduel, I just try to do something, you know, to make a play scoring orget somebody else involved, just to keep the lead.
Because, you know, with him, now they was knocking at the door. Theycould make a run at any time. I just wanted to keep the lead.
Q. Cole, did you ever dream of playing here in the Metrodome in anNCAA basketball tournament in a Kansas uniform?
Cole Aldrich: Well, you know, I came here I think my junior year towatch a few teams when they had the Regional with I think it wasFlorida, Boston College, Villanova and another team, you know. And Iwas just a huge basketball fan back then. And, you know, I hadcommitted already, and that’s kind of one of my dreams is just to comeback home and play, you know.
The state of Minnesota has been great to me and the state of Kansasand all the Kansas fans have been phenomenal. Really opened their armsto me and my family, and I’m just glad to be home and playing well.
Q. Sherron, when did you feel like you guys got the handle on thisteam, North Dakota State, today?
Sherron Collins: Probably late in the second half. There were timesin the first half I thought we could crack them, but we just didn’ttake care of the ball, took a bad shot maybe.
Like I said, didn’t take care of the ball. Late in the second halfwe went on a little run and got up by double figures and I think wecontrolled the game from then on out. And I thought Tyshawn did a goodjob late on Woodside, getting over the screen and containing him. Hewas able to give us and me a breather, too. I think it was late in thesecond half.
Q. For both of you guys, in the second half there it seemed thatevery time that North Dakota State would pull within three or fourpoints, either one of you would have a big bucket on the offensiveend. Can you talk about that. And I guess just the flow of the gameduring that five minute stretch or so.
Sherron Collins: It was a fun game to me. I like those fast pacedgames. You know, get them down the floor. And every time they scored,you know, like I said, just trying to come back and, you know, get itback on the other end. Whether it was throwing it to Cole or megetting a shot or setting somebody else up.
Like I say, I just wanted to keep the lead. Keep the lead and maybe,you know, get away with this one. But we were able to make the stopslate in the game, so we came away with it.
Q. Sherron, can you talk about what you and Woodside you spokebriefly after the game when you were congratulating them and they toyou. What did you say to one another?
Sherron Collins: He told me to keep it going and go as far as wecould, and I told him I respected him and he’s a good player, one ofthe toughest players I guarded all year, keep his head high. And he isreal talented and probably can do some things with it.
Q. Cole, did you find yourself having to exhibit some patience interms of getting the ball and getting some touches tonight? And, also,were you nervous at all playing in front of home town fans?
Cole Aldrich: I wouldn’t say I was nervous at all. There might havebeen just a tiny bit of it just because we’re playing our first roundin the NCAA tournament. You know, it’s not because we’re playing athome.
But, you know, I think one thing we kind of struggled at the verybeginning just to throw the ball inside. And Coach said at one point,hey, we have got to get the big fella some touches down there. Andthen from there on it was, you know, they’d throw the ball up and Iwas able to keep it up and go or dunk it and throw it up and Sherroncan hit shots like that.
Q. Cole, how about a comment from you on Woodside. It looked likeyou guys I think I counted four different players trying to defend himtoday. You know, just a comment from you on Woodside’s performance.
Cole Aldrich: He’s so good. You know, he’s got they run the highlittle pick and roll which I struggled to guard it. Many times. Coachwould definitely tell you that.
COACH SELF: I agree.
Cole Aldrich: You know, I struggled at times because he’sdeceptively quick. You know, he’s kind of got that little hesitationand think that he’s going to pull back and he just throws it into allhigh gears and just gets around you.
You know, I can see why he and scored 60 in a game. He had 37against us. Anybody that can do that in the first round or any game isreally good.
Q. Cole, we had you for eight dunks. Have you ever had that many ina game before? And to follow with that, your eighth and final dunk,the 3 point follow, did you sense that was the one that finally gotyou the win or sealed it?
Cole Aldrich: I think my record for dunks is probably 12. I think Ihad that in high school sometime, 12 or 13. You know, the follow updunk was just, you know, one of those things where I was just going tocrash the board because I thought there might be a chance that, youknow, we would miss it.
And, fortunate enough, you know, it came off right and I just tookit and threw it down. I didn’t even know that they called it a 3 pointplay until Sherron and the other guys were, yeah, you got to shoot afree throw and whatnot. It’s just kind of one of those energy playsthat really hurts another team. And really helped us.
Q. Just a comment, Cole, on the crowd. Obviously a large NorthDakota State University contingent, fun atmosphere, what was yourcomment?
Cole Aldrich: It was a great atmosphere. You know, it was I’d saythree fourths NDSU, but they definitely brought their crowd. Becausethis is their first time in the NCAA tournament. And, you know,everybody from the whole state of North Dakota was probably theretonight (laughter).
COACH SELF: He said it, not me. Make sure you get that.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much. We excuse them back to the lockerroom.
Q. If you’d known that Sherron gets 32 and 8 and Cole 23 and 13,those are the kind of games that you usually blow teams out. What doesit say about the resiliency of North Dakota State?
COACH SELF: We needed them all. And, you know, we got the draw andstarted watching tape, I knew this was going to be not a 3 versus 4team, they’re good. And if they get comfortable shooting thebasketball, which they did early in the game, you know, they can lookvery, very good. Especially offensively.
You know, we executed good. Very well offensively. We didn’t stopthem. And, of course, Woodside went nuts against us. But they’retough. They’re good. They had, you know I am leaving out of herethinking we had to get tougher today to win. And so that’s a goodthing.
Q. Bill, Sherron was played very well yet they kind of neutralizedone another, he and Woodside. Then can you talk about the significanceof Cole and eight dunks, that’s quite a bit?
COACH SELF: Yeah, and he ain’t got 12 or 15 in a college game, Ipromise you.
But I thought that, I thought Sherron made shots early and wasreally, you know, if you look at it, we have no offense early otherthan Sherron. We were tight offensively, and he kind of took thepressure off of everybody by shouldering the whole load early.
And, of course, Woodside got on a roll and he’s good. Of course wehad three or four, five different guys guard him from time to time.He’s terrific. And I am sure he had one of the best games he has hadin his career.
But really down the stretch, probably the difference in the game wasus being able to get easy baskets in tight. And I’m looking at thisthing now, you know, we scored 21 baskets it says here in the paint.And if he can get 42 points, you know, and that’s not counting fouls,but if he can get 42 points in any game in the paint, you probablyhave a chance to be successful.
Of course Cole is the biggest reason for that. But the other guysmade some plays to get easy shoots, too.
Q. Bill, does Cole exert patience when he’s not getting the ball?Does he have to do that? Or does he have to be more assertive?
COACH SELF: I think a little bit of both. You have to be patient.Sometimes teams can do some things to keep you from getting the ball.And their weak side help was they played a sagging man and they putthe weak side guy behind him or fronted him or three quartered him.
And I thought that sometimes when we make shots we forget aboutthrowing it inside, too. But the second half we did a great job ofgetting him involved. Did a great job. And he finished strong. And weran a few little set plays to play two man game with he and Sherronand that worked out really well for us.
Q. Sherron Collins has had an unbelievable year, and I think much ofthe attention in the Big 12 went to Blake Griffin because of the yearhe had. Where does Sherron rank in terms of the point guards that youprobably coached in your college career?
COACH SELF: Well, I think that while I was actually coaching them, Iwould put him at the top of the list. While I was actually coachingthem. Of course I just had Deron one year and he was the best defenderin the Big Ten in my opinion as a freshman, but he hadn’t developedhis stroke yet like he did later on.
Now, without question I would say that Deron Williams is the bestguard I’ve ever coached, you know, obviously. But I’ve had some goodones. And I had some good ones last year.
And you go back to Deron and D and Frank Williams, and, you know,Aaron Miles and guys that we’ve had recently, but nobody that I’vecoached impacts a college game more than Sherron. While I was actuallycoaching him, nobody.
Q. Coach, one of I believe it was one if not the last timeout, canyou tell us what you were telling your players? Because it seemed likeyour team really picked it up defensively the final three, fourminutes.
COACH SELF: I don’t know that may not have been the very last one,but that’s what we talked about is we’re going to win the game on thedefensive end as opposed to the offensive end. You’re up seven or sixor whatever it was with 3:30 left the game is still in question. Thereis no doubt about that.
But we had great offensive possessions down the stretch. And thendefensively, we did defend better, although they still scored. But atleast we made them use 15 or 20 seconds to score.
But, I mean, I’m not going to sit here and brag about our defensetonight. That’s obviously not the deal. Because I thought our offensewas better than our defense and carried us tonight or today.
Q. Bill, I don’t remember Cole’s non dunk. I thought he had ninedunks. Do you remember his non dunk? And were you surprised at all?And obviously philosophically they don’t play zone, but I was a littlesurprised they didn’t try some zone. Sherron was getting into thepaint so easy and Cole was dunking the ball so often, were yousurprised?
COACH SELF: Not really, because we watched a lot of tape, and theydon’t play zone. I mean, I think they have a 2 3 which is brought outof the archives about as much as our 2 3 is. We almost went zonebecause we couldn’t guard them there for a good stretch. But thatdidn’t really surprise me, because that’s not who they are.
I really think when you’re playing and the game’s magnified andpossessions really matter, if you’re going to go down, you’re going togo down doing what you have the most confidence in. And certainly Imade some serious coaching mistakes trying to do something that wedon’t hang our hat on, and they obviously hang their hat on their mandefense, so I don’t see any surprise in that at all.
Q. I believe the five turnovers by the team is by far a season low.
COACH SELF: Yeah.
Q. How important was that in today’s win?
COACH SELF: You know, if you look at it, if we have 12 turnovers,you take seven possessions away, the game could be different. So itwas very important.
You know, whenever the ball is in 2 guard’s hands as much as it was,you probably are not going to have as many turnovers. And today Ithought we played with the ball through Sherron’s hands more than wedid most games, and he was on. And the flip side they played the wholegame through Woodside’s hands. And I don’t think there are going to beas many turnovers when there is not equal opportunity, so to speak. Sothat was important for us.
Q. Bill, at the end of the game you put your arm around Woodside.Can you share maybe what you said to him and just your impressions ofa kid getting one shot to play in the tournament and the performancehe had?
COACH SELF: You know, I don’t know him at all. But, their whole teamseems class to me. And I know their staff is. And their fans seem tobe. And I thought it was, you know, from an objective perspective,although I didn’t feel this during the game, I thought it was prettycool, the setting for them today. And all I did is tell him he is thebest guard we play, and Sherron said one of the best. And we haven’tplayed anybody harder to guard than him. And that’s basically what Itold him. I think he is a terrific talent.
Q. On the Woodside thing, you didn’t really have an answer for themdefensively the entire game
COACH SELF: We allowed him 37 (laughter). What do you guys want?
Q. I think you did try four or five guys, you tried to switch out onhim?
COACH SELF: That’s not really we played Sherron on him, Tyrone onhim, Tyshawn on him we played Tyrel on him. Put all of our Ty’s onhim. And even Brady guarded him a couple of possessions. Sometimesthat happens in the course of the game, you get switches and thingslike that.
We tried different guys. The biggest reason we tried different guysis because of Sherron, not wearing him out. That’s the biggest reasonwe tried different guys.
Q. Coach, was there a point down the stretch where you startedfeeling comfortable? I mean, was there a point, was there a series ofplays or plays that you thought okay, we’ve got this one finally?
COACH SELF: I can’t remember exactly. I have a hard time doing thatuntil I watch the tape. But if I am not mistaken, we were up 8, maybeunder 4, and Woodside and we played great defense and there is 13 onthe shot clock after a timeout. And he makes a step back 18 footergoing to his right, which is really a hard shot. And then I’m thinkingit is 6, and then after that I think we played really welloffensively. We used the entire clock and got exactly what we wantedlate. That was a big key for us.
Q. Coach, is there anything that you take from this game, learningfrom this game, that you take into the game on Sunday?
COACH SELF: You know, I’m sure there is some things. I think the onething that is really positive for us is this was a harder game from anemotional standpoint than I think maybe outside people think, becauseyou talk about their experience. And they are experienced, but this istheir first deal. But still they had a free shot today. And that’s theway it should be. And that’s why upsets occur.
So our guys in the back of their mind they know that. And other thantwo guys, that’s the first time anybody has played in a tournamentgame. So if anything, I take from it that, you know, we should be ableto breathe a little bit. And I don’t mean that from a playingstandpoint, I just mean like we should be able to exhale a little bitbecause I think our guys, especially other than Cole and Sherron, theymay not admit to it, but that was a relatively tight group.
So hopefully they will understand, hey, we can play at a pretty highlevel in this situation, which hopefully will bode well for the nextgame.
MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach.
COACH SELF: Thank you guys.