Bill Self's Press Conference Quotes from March 23

March 23, 2005

Quoting Kansas Head Coach Bill Self
Season-ending media teleconference – March 23, 2005

On what has transpired since last Friday
“We had a team meeting when we got back then we met with all the underclassmen. Their attitudes were positive and very good. Everybody was getting out of here for spring break. Of the two seniors that were here (Wayne Simien and Aaron Miles) we spent an extended amount of time together. We weren’t dwelling. We talked about the disappointment. We talked about things they had to do with the young kids and with their upcoming schedule. We talked about how this is going to sting for a while and you are going to have to watch it on TV if you follow the tournament the next couple of weeks. People are going to say things and you should come to expect that. They all handled it pretty well. I think young people are pretty resilient, even though I know they hurt. They all had different things going on that could occupy their mind and their time.”

On Self personally
“I think I will learn a lot through this experience. I think that is what life is about. It’s not as much as what happens to you, it’s how you react to what happens to you. Nobody likes going through this. Fans don’t like losing to Bucknell in the first round. Players certainly hurt. Families, coaches and players, we all hurt. The thing about it is, you have to get a pretty tough hide about yourself and become thicker skinned. In coaching you understand these things can happen. You don’t anticipate them happening to you. You see them happening around athletics all the time. We’re not going to make excuses. We weren’t at full strength but still yet we were a three seed and Bucknell was a 14. Those are the type of games you still have to win and we just didn’t get it done.”

On how much it still stings
“It won’t wear off until the tournament is over. It hurts a lot. Every waking moment those are your thoughts. You can be spending time at dinner or at work, you’re talking about recruiting, whatever it is, still your thoughts are about that particular game and getting eliminated. It’s not going to wear off for a while.”

On watching the tournament since the loss
“I flipped channels a little bit on Saturday and Sunday but didn’t study any of the games. I looked to see what scores were and that kind of stuff. I really doubt I watch much of the tournament the rest of the way. It’s not because I feel like we should definitely be in the mix. Every time you watch somebody else play, you’re thinking about how you wish that was you and you’re thinking about in your mind how it could be (you). From a selfish point, that is why you don’t want to watch it. It makes you think of the things you are trying not to think about.”

On Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Sweet 16
“Anytime you have a 12 seed get to the Sweet 16, it’s a surprise. I think they play Illinois. There are upsets that occur. Upsets aren’t usually as major as people portray them to be. I’m not sure that was a major upset in them beating Boston College. It was probably a mild upset but not a major one.”

On not shaking hands following the Bucknell game
“I don’t think there is any question that if a group, regardless of the sporting event, wins or loses that you should congratulate the other team after the game. There is no doubt about that. I did not even really get that this had happened until the next morning. I called Pat Flannery myself and explained it to him. I apologized. I addressed my team about it as soon as I found out. Regardless of the situation, you always do that. There were players on the court, celebrating, and time elapsed and maybe they left as the time elapsed. I don’t think anybody would intentionally stiff anybody in that way, shape or form. These are certainly good people and that is a responsibility that we have. I addressed it. I am not happy about that at all, regardless of the circumstances. Even Pat told me, ‘Don’t sweat that. We were running around like we won a championship and certainly I can understand guys not waiting around for us to finish celebrating.’

On second-guessing playing Keith Langford as many minutes against Bucknell
“No, not at all. If other guys had been playing better, I think you could certainly make a case to back him off some. We did not intend to do that but we didn’t intend for the game to go as it went also. If we were to go down and Keith was not in the game, then I would really second-guess it.”

On Keith Langford’s comments following the game (printed in the Wichita Eagle)
“I found about that later on too. Keith did tell me he said that. I called him and I called his mother asking to clue me in on exactly what this meant. To me it would lead you to believe it was about his unhappiness in the last couple of years. He told me, and he was emphatic about this, ‘no, that is not what I meant at all. I don’t have any problems with anything with the basketball program. There are some things I wished people knew.’ I don’t know if he was talking about his health and everything he has been through. I know it was not basketball related.”

On talking with freshmen – and others – about transferring
“We wanted to talk with everybody before they broke for spring break because we didn’t anticipate not being together this week. All the meetings were positive but I’m not going to say positively that this is going to happen or not going to happen.”

On C.J. Giles (or others) needing surgery
“C.J. (Giles) is going to be fine from that standpoint, unless he were to re-injure it. We don’t anticipate any of our underclassmen requiring any surgery unless something that happens hasn’t occurred yet.”

On talking with Wayne Simien about his awards
“Yes we have. He was in here for quite a while on Monday. He said it was too cold to go fishing. We are all very proud of Wayne and what he has accomplished. He had a fabulous senior year and is very deserving.”

On Wayne Simien appreciating the awards with the way the season ended
“I don’t think you define careers or seasons based on one game, although it was a big game. I don’t think Wayne will have a problem with that at all. If that were the case, then there would be a lot of guys that are pretty disappointed over time. Chris Paul would be very disappointed, even though they won one game in the tournament. Hakim Warrick would be very disappointed. Some players never get to the tournament. Those awards are a culmination of a season and not just one game.”

On the signees expectations
“They are three good players that have a chance to be good college players. We think all three will have a big impact right off the bat. I hope they’re not unrealistic. But I also hope the expectations should be that they are going to be good.”

Lessons on the Bucknell loss
“We have talked about that a lot as a staff. We were loose. Our players were loose. We practiced pretty good that week. We had some distractions, unfortunately – not anything you could not overcome. Given the circumstances, I really don’t know. You can go back during the game and I think its still the right deal not to call a timeout with 10 seconds left but we got a bad shot so I guess you could always second guess that from an Xs and Os standpoint. We’re going to try and correct some things but I don’t know if we are going to try and beat ourselves up trying to think we did this wrong and what will we do in the future. We were loose. We were rested. We didn’t practice too long that week. We had them (Bucknell) well scouted. They made some shots and we didn’t.”

On what J.R. Giddens needs to improve
“I still believe J.R. is going to be a terrific college player but he has some things he has to work on. Hopefully he won’t miss from the end of the season until the start of the school year like he did last season with his injuries and surgeries. He needs time to get into the gym and get stronger and really work on his ball handling, passing, and playing a lot of one-on-one to really improve his skill level other than just shooting the basketball.”

On Giddens being relied upon for scoring next year
“I have no idea. If he’s here, and he said he is going to be, he is going to have to shoulder a big part of that.”

On next year being his team next year
“In coaching and recruiting you’re always thinking of the future. We have thought about that a lot over time and not just recently. It will be exciting that we will be so young and green. We won’t know what we are doing in a lot of ways but we will be fast and certainly athletic. The prospect is very exciting. How do we replace 21 (points) and 11 (rebounds) or whatever Wayne (Simien) averaged? That will be very difficult to do. I feel like we are going to have good players. We are just going to be very young. We will be one of the youngest teams in America next year.”

On the freshmen’s season
“I think C.J.’s (Giles) injury was a big blow. Injuries played a part of it but not totally. It is also more difficult for freshmen to come in and play if you have guys ahead of them – seniors primarily – that are going to play. There weren’t that many minutes. There were the four-spot minutes and the back up guard minutes. We never did get that consistently with our young guys. We did better early than we did late. There are some reasons why that didn’t happen whether it be confidence or fatigue or injuries or whatever that the appearance was they didn’t have as good as campaign as what we had hoped. The bottom line is those guys are going to be good players. I’m not saying all of them will be all-league performers but they certainly have a chance to be good basketball players. We’ve got to have one or two develop into an all-league-type performer and we think we can do that. With the class coming in behind them we need one or two of them to develop into those type of performers. You do that, all of the sudden you have yourself quite a team.”

On the newcomers’ senior seasons
“The time I saw Julian (Wright) play, he was fabulous. He had some inconsistent games too. All young kids will. Based on what we know and what we have seen, I think all three can have huge impacts next year. They all bring something different to the table. Julian is a basketball player. He does a lot of everything. He’s not a prolific scorer but he does a lot of everything. Micah (Downs) can really shoot, is athletic and has great feel. Mario (Chalmers) is about as an athletic guy you are going to find and can get to where he wants to go off the bounce. We’ll have some different things with those three that when they reach the table maybe we didn’t have this year. What we won’t have is strength as much and experience as much like we did with those seniors.”

On defensive pressure next season
“We thought we could end up pressuring a lot more than what we did this year. At the end we couldn’t pressure but one or two spots for a lot of different reasons. I don’t think that will be the case next year.”

On being a tired team at the end of the year
“I think you could make a case for that be it mentally, emotionally, whatever. I personally don’t buy it because the guy that should be the most tired is Wayne (Simien). We rode him pretty hard. He did get about a two-week break in there. I don’t buy that but certainly I felt like we played like that. Sometimes injuries make you look like that way too, when you don’t quite feel your best.”

On not having it Friday night
“Early in the game I thought they were quicker to the balls than we were with the exception of Mike Lee. That’s how I judge those sorts of things. They controlled the game on the offensive end better than what we did.”

“They were pretty quick on the perimeter. We weren’t as quick a team as when Keith was healthier. We just didn’t have that same first step as what we have had when we were really, really quick. We were a team that was potentially was very athletic and a team that potentially was average athletic in talking raw quickness. That was a night for whatever reasons. I don’t know if it was heavy legs, the emotions of the tournament, I don’t know but for whatever reasons we were not a quick as we were capable of looking.”

Accessing the season
“It was a very good year with a really, really bad ending. I don’t think you can have great years unless you can perform well in March. If you go 10-1 in the non-conference schedule with Wayne being out four of those games and beating Georgia Tech and Kentucky and then you go and win your league. We didn’t lose the league like so many have claimed. We won a piece of the league (title). We lost the right to win the sole possession of the league. I think before the season to say to have a great non-conference season and win the league, you would probably have a pretty good year. It was a just good season with a really, really bad ending.”