Bill Self Wraps Up 2010-11 Season With Media
March 29, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Head Coach Bill Self Press Conference
March 29, 2011
On next year’s roster:
“I have no idea. That’s a nice way to put who’s leaving and who’s staying. I haven’t even talked to our guys yet, I’m going to talk to them this afternoon – not about that – but I’ll get with them next week. They need some time to unwind and I need some time too and it’s certainly – not speaking negatively at all – wouldn’t surprise me if a couple of guys or even more put their name in the hat but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t. It’s kind of up in the air and there is a lot to think about and talk about moving forward so that will be discussed when I get back from Houston. It’s a situation where we need to have a great spring recruiting class; not a good one, a great one. We need to sign two, three, four kids depending on if we do have departures and hopefully we are in position to do so.”
On if he needs to know right away if guys are leaving because of recruiting:
“With the new rules, I think we’ll know sooner rather than later. I forgot when the kids have to declare but if anybody is going to go, I’d rather know now. But I also don’t know that to be the case. I would much rather, in a perfect world, have the kids we have now that can return, return next year. We also have to be prepared to go out and sign some guys and hopefully we are in position that we can do that here in a couple of weeks if we need to.”
On what he will recruit position-wise:
“We obviously need to sign a couple of guards or wings, there is no question about that. To be honest with you from a bigs standpoint, a lot depends on what the twins (Marcus and Markieff Morris) decide to do and I haven’t even talked to them about it yet. I’m not saying they are or they’re not (declaring for the NBA draft), we just need to be prepared.”
On what the first steps are for the guys that are thinking about leaving for the NBA:
“Well I can talk to NBA general managers, which I have done in the past, and see where they are on their board right now but it’s hard to tell where people are on the board right now because kids haven’t started declaring yet. Wait until the dominoes starts to fall and then you can find out where they are stacked up against others. I don’t think it’s an imminent deal where I have to gather all of the information for them or they seek it out themselves. The big thing is to just have an open line of communication with them and their families. I mean selfishly, we all want everyone to always come back but kids have to do what’s best for their families when the time is right. If the time is right then they need to go, and if the time is not right, then they need to stay.
What they have to decide based on all of the factors and the factors could be where they are projected, the lockout, and there is a chance that these kids could actually declare and not get paid. Then an agent might say, ‘well you’re closer to your second contract now’ and another person could say ‘but how do you make your second contract more attractive if you don’t play any games?’ The one thing I would say is from a common sense standpoint – not that I have much – is if there is a lockout, if the season doesn’t start until February or whenever it would be, it’s hard for these young kids to go in when there isn’t any training camp or practice time to show that they need to be playing games when the playoffs are three months away. So it could be a lost season for some of those guys because there is not going to be an opportunity to grow and learn and play through mistakes when you are playing five games that week and you have to win. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.”
On if there is a spot where he would tell a guy to go or stay if his projection changes:
“No, I don’t think there is a spot. It’s such an inexact deal. The thing that I would recommend is that if you are in the lottery – the five teams that could possibly pick you – if you are just going to base record and the percentage of the odds that of the five teams that pick between let’s say 10 or 15, four of them you would be really high up on their board and be a need. I don’t think it does much good to say, well this team really, really, really likes you and if you’re available and they pick at three but you’re not their best player on their board, then that doesn’t help you. That’s where it gets to be kind of sketchy. You don’t want one team to like you, you want a whole bunch of teams to like you because that one team could have some things happen in the draft spots prior to them that changes their whole focus when their time comes. They could trade, or they could do whatever, so you have to have backup plans, and contingency plans. In my opinion, if you don’t go in the first round then you’ve wasted an opportunity. You have to have a lot of people like you in order to be in the first round. All agents, all NBA draft experts, NBA people, you will get all different opinions (from them). There are 60 people that should be guaranteed to be first round picks and there are only 30 picks so some people are going to get left out.”
On Marcus and Markieff Morris’s growth potential:
“The twins did great this year. Both of them have improved a drastic amount and how about Marcus? He got the sixth-most votes I guess for AP All-American. Marcus was the first pick for second team which is remarkable. Markieff had a year like Marcus had last year. To me, this is the best frontline in the country and I still think they can get better. Marcus just needs to improve his perimeter skills and he needs to be a three man or a three and a half and play more on the perimeter probably because that will be his natural position moving forward. I think those kids are really good and I think they can play at the next level. I don’t know if the timing is quite right for them yet but we’ll just have to wait and see. I know there are a lot of people out there that think a lot of them and they should because they’re both really good.”
On how long it will take to get over what happened in San Antonio:
“I don’t know if you really get over it immediately. I think with kids, they get over it a lot faster than adults do. It’s amazing to me – I look back over my kids and it hurts so much, hurts so much and it does but then you go home and you’ve got a girlfriend, you’ve got this, you’ve got that – with coaches and adults, it’s just a way of life. This is what your whole family kind of throws them into and it is hard to get over. I’ve been disappointed 12 of the last 13 tournaments I’ve been in – well when Duke beat us by 41, I wasn’t too disappointed because the better team won – but it’s a tough deal for everybody.
The thing that is most disappointing to me is that you can throw out the seeds – although the media won’t – but it was still set up for us regardless of seeds, we were the better team in my opinion. We weren’t that day but we were the better team and that’s tough to stomach. Knowing that you don’t get opportunities yearly to do that and you have to take advantage of your opportunities. I think that’s what life’s all about. When an opportunity presents itself, you have to pounce on it. For the most part, this team did a great job this year but in the last game, it obviously wasn’t happening.
It doesn’t take away from the fact that we had a great season. You can’t have a great season unless you perform well in the postseason and we did perform well – we got to the Elite Eight – but it still leaves a bad taste because in my biased opinion, we should still be playing and it hurts. It will sit with us for a real long time. I won’t get over this one for a really long time, nor should I. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that you really look and analyze: what we lost, what we had coming back, different roles the players had, suspensions, deaths, injuries, all of the things added up, there is no way this team could be 35-3.
You would never think that and to think that these kids played to such a high level, to be real candid with you, they spoiled me. No matter what we found a way to win in games but in that last game we didn’t find a way. That’s sports though and that’s what makes sports so great is that every day is a new day and there are no guarantees. A couple of weeks from now I’ll be able to reflect back on how special this group of kids that played on an unbelievably high level, consistently, all year. It amazes me how well they’ve done.”
On what you hear around you about the game:
“I don’t hear much about it. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. There’s nothing wrong with that. I think it’s hard for people to see the big picture when the result was such a negative one. The further you go, the higher the stakes. I’d rather be in the game and come up empty than not be in the game. When you put yourself in the game, there’s a serious chance that you’re going to get disappointed. You see that all the time, and that’s what happened to us. You just learn to deal with that. They say that (Michael) Jordan missed a lot more shots when the game was on the line, than he made, but nobody talks about those. It’s just tough to swallow because it was set up so good for us. I really thought we’d play for a National Championship this year.”
On the looseness of the players in the tournament:
“In the last game I thought the more shots we missed, the harder we tried. There are a lot of things in that game, in my opinion, should have gone the other way. We had a lob dunk get called for a three second call. That’s not what caused it, but there were just so many things that could go either way. Then we didn’t make any shots. There defense had something to do with that, but it didn’t have anything to do with the open looks in the first half. Their were no leg problems or anything like that. It was a tough one. We played so well to start the second half, but we shot ourselves in the foot a few times when had the chance to really put the pressure on them. We haven’t been a good free throw shooting team all year long, and it’s never cost us a game until the very end. If you’re 10 for 12 from the line the game’s got a different feel to it.”
On Thomas Robinson’s future improvement:
“I think Thomas has to improve just as much as anybody, because when he plays well, he’s terrific. He’s very inconsistent. He needs to take a step like Markieff (Morris) did this year. I think Thomas has terrific talent and he’s a good player, but he can become a much better player and I think he will. His skill set is going to improve. It’s amazing to me the type of year he had considering all of the stuff he went through. Hopefully he can play with a free mind and be able to just play as opposed to think and have so many things going on in his head.”
On Josh Selby’s future improvement:
“I think Josh is a really talented kid. I think that we saw some of that early. Usually it’s kind of opposite. Guys usually start off slow and they build up but he started out fast. In my opinion it’s due to injury. He’s a terrific talent. He’s going to be fine. I think moving forward, he’s going to be a pro-type guard. This was a tough year for Josh. It kept him from being himself, and it’s hard to deal with for a guy who’s never dealt with something like that before. We projected him to be a point that could score. I really feel like, right now in his development, he’s a two. That doesn’t mean he can’t play the one. That’s something he really needs to work on. You look at those guards left in the Final Four, Kemba (Walker) is a three-year guy who has had the ball in his hands a lot. He was recruited to be what he is. You look at Shelvin (Mack), he’s a guy who’s played a lot of games and was recruited to be what he is. (Joey) Rodriguez is a senior. Josh hasn’t had had a chance to develop into what they are because he hasn’t got the reps. So with reps, I think he could become a guy like that. He’s going to be fine.”
On losing to a mid-major team:
“The reality of it is we didn’t play well, for whatever reason. People or experts will say whatever. You’ve got to win a lot of games to go 35-3. This is going to stick with us for a while. The bottom line is that we lost to a team that we were favored to beat. We just blew a great opportunity. When you’re a high seed you’re going to play a team that is a low seed, according to the experts. The mid-majors fall into that category. Players got to play and we just didn’t quite have it. We got on our heels early and they were in attack mode.”