Draft Quotes

June 24, 2010

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self

On Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry being selected back-to-back:

“I thought it was awesome. It was a great night for those two and their families, but also a great night for our program to see two kids taken that high at 11 and 12. I’m so happy for both of them. Cole has made so many sacrifices for himself and his family when he came back this year. And Xavier to live out his dream and play only one year here is a great moment for both those kids.”

On the Big 12 getting seven players selected in the first round:
“It speaks volumes for our league and there are still a couple of players that haven’t been picked yet. We’re obviously hopeful for one for sure with Sherron (Collins). I’m excited for our league and those individuals because it has been a real treat as a coach to compete against quality guys over the years.”

On how the Big 12 NBA Draft success has helped recruiting:
“I think it helps without question. Anytime you have players that go high – especially where (Kevin) Durant and (Michael) Beasley and Blake (Griffin) have gone, I think it brings immediate attention to your program. I think our league has been on a big uptick for a few years, not just since those guys started producing and getting drafted high. I think our league is here to stay from an exposure standpoint. Certainly being able to sell seven first-round draft picks will bode very well for our league for future recruiting.”

On Cole Aldrich’s pending trade to Oklahoma City:
“I think it’s great. We had heard that Sam Presti, their general manager, would love to be able to make a play to possibly draft Cole. It worked out perfectly. To have him down there with (Kevin) Durant, will be an unbelievable opportunity to have Nick (Collison) down there help mentor him will be great.”

On Xavier Henry at Memphis:
“I actually went down to Memphis this past week on Monday and spent the day with them, talking about players. We knew that X was on their board at that particular time. They need somebody that can make shots. They have a good starting five but they need somebody who can score off the bench and make shots. X is an improved player, just in the last two months. He’ll be a guy that has a chance to go down there and play an awful lot of minutes and be a legitimate double digit scoring threat for them as a rookie.”

On Sherron Collins not being drafted:
“I think it’s disappointing. I can’t believe he is not one of the best 60 prospects to come out of this draft. I feel for Sherron but certainly it’s not lost. He’s put himself in a situation where he’s going to have to work harder and be more disciplined than he ever has been to show everybody they made a mistake. Hopefully this will be a big carrot for him to basically prove everybody wrong.”

“To me there were many guys picked that can’t help a team win like Sherron can. But everybody has their own needs. I think it is very difficult to be critical of people until you have been in their rooms, heard the discussions and that kind of stuff. What I would do to educate Sherron is say don’t be mad at anybody, just change it.”

Cole Aldrich, New Orleans Hornets

Opening Statement:

“I would like to thank everyone for coming out tonight. I’m excited about the opportunities ahead of me. Its been a long way since I started playing basketball but dreams come true and the hard work has only just begun.”

On how playing with talented players at Kansas helped improve his game and will help him at the NBA level:

“It is really going to help me a lot because it is one of those things that really sets you up and prepares you for success.”

On how he feels about going to play with point guard Chris Paul:

“I am so excited. Chris Paul is one of the best point guards in the league. He is a very unselfish guy. It is going to be so much fun playing with those guys.”

On what he thinks his strengths are:

“Definitely the defensive side. The biggest things to my game are shot blocking, defending and rebounding. I’m kind of a unique big guy who loves to go bang around on other big guys and do the dirty work. I think I can really do that well and I’m going to continue to work on that.”

On how he would feel if he was traded to Oklahoma City:

“I think whatever team it is whether I stay at New Orleans or if I go to Oklahoma City, the need for a big guy is great. I am not going to try to go in and do spectacular things. I’m going to stick with the things I’m good at. I’m very good at shot blocking, defending and rebounding and I think that’s how I’m going to make my presence on the court early is by doing those things. And I’m definitely working hard on my offensive game, too.”

On how he feels about having teammate David West on the post with him:

“I think it will be good just going up and battling with another big guy. The biggest thing I’m excited about is learning from those guys and picking their brains. They have been in the league for years and I aspire to do what they did so far. So I think just picking their brains and going out there and learning a lot.”

On new Hornets head coach Williams:

“He’s only been there since the seventh. He ran our workouts. He’s going to be a great coach. He’s one of the those coaches that really loves to get on the court and be there for the guys and make sure they work for. I think he’s going to be another great coach to play for.”

On if he and Kansas teammate Xavier Henry have kept in touch:

“I have been texting Xavier over the past week to see if he had gotten an invite to come out here. He sent me a text late one night to say, `I got an invite, I’ll see you out there!’ I could just imagine how big his smile was. And I’m so thankful for my family. I’ve gone through so much and without them I don’t think we would be as strong as we are.”

On how he feels about two Jayhawks being drafted back-to-back:

“It’s great. Xavier and I have become great friends. We always text each other a lot and just hang out together. We’ve got a great friendship. He really looks up to me and I look up to him, too, so its really a special deal.”

On what his lost tooth says about what kind of player he is:
“I’m just that goofy guy who loves to go out and play hard. I was going up for a rebound my sophomore year against Kansas State and someone caught me. I had a mouth guard in so fortunately I only lost one tooth. Its just a characteristic of me, someone who loves going in the trenches and fighting for my team. Whether it’s breaking my nose my sophomore year or losing a tooth my sophomore year, I just love getting in there and fighting hard.”

On how he benefited from staying at college for his junior year:
“I think it helped me in so many ways, not only on the basketball court, but it helped me mature as a person. I went through a lot (this season) with my grandmother passing away and I just want to thank my parents for helping me through that.”

On what former Jayhawk and current New Orleans player Julian Wright has told him about the team:

“He says great things. With coach (Monty) Williams just getting signed about two and a half weeks ago, he’s going to bring a lot of energy and a lot of that fan base back to New Orleans.”

On what it was like working out with Coach Williams at New Orleans:

“It was great. He (Coach Williams) is a guy that really just loves to go out and run. He’s going to be a good guy to play for.”

On playing with point guard Chris Paul:

“It is going to be awesome. I was fortunate enough to play with Sherron Collins at Kansas for three years and now with Chris Paul, it’s going to be amazing.”

Xavier Henry, Memphis Grizzlies

Opening statement to the media:

“First of all I would like to thank God and my family and all my friends and all the people back home for helping me get to this point. I know without any of them I would not be the same person I am today and wouldn’t have gone through the same things I went through. I’d like to thank the organization, the coaches, and the staff for all having faith in me and choosing me here today.”

On including himself at Memphis:

“I’m going to take the same approach that I took to college. Kansas was a great team and I knew if I came in there, worked hard and kept my work ethic the same and stayed focused, I could compete for a spot at anytime. When I get to Memphis that first day, I’ll just play hard and keep my attitude the same. Keep the positive influences. That is the key to everything – as long as I work hard and try my hardest and give it my all then things will take care of themselves and that is what I am looking to do when I go to Memphis.”

On how the talent at Kansas has helped him:

“I think it helped me a lot. It helped me in a different way than you think. It didn’t help me boost it up. It put me back into a little role I had to play with two All-Americans on my team (Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich) and I think it helped me stay humble instead of going to a school where I could have easily gone out there and gotten 25 (points) every night. I learned from playing with those players that it’s good to step back into a role to help the team win. That is what I have been about – winning. Coming into the NBA there is always going to be other stars around you. I can fit whatever role the coach needs and I can excel at it.”

On the draft order:

“Around nine is where it all opened up. I had great workouts for nine-10 through about 15 or so. I knew I had a great chance of going around then. They took a couple of guys before. We had questioned marks on when they took them. Me and my brother (C.J. Henry) were calm and saying where do I do best next and where are the best options to go. Thankfully Memphis took me at the 12th spot and I’m happy to be here.”

On Cole Aldrich:

“He’s one of my best friends in this world. I’ve had so much fun with him over this past year and over this summer I got to see him a lot. I’m real happy for him. It was just like a 1-2 punch from Kansas, 11 and 12.”

On showing people more in workouts:

“I had great workouts. Coming out (from Kansas), everybody pinned me as a three-point shooter and great role player who is coachable. I’m all those things but that is mostly what I had to do at Kansas. In the workouts, I set it out for myself to go and attack the rim and be the most aggressive player. That’s what I did during most of my workouts. I was always the most aggressive, most assertive and I made it a point to get to the hole and to convert.”

On the city of Memphis:

“I don’t regret going to Kansas but now I am going to Memphis, I feel like I should be there. I’m going to be happy I am there. I am going to give it my all as soon as I step into the city.”

On Carl Henry being the best athlete in the family:

“Not any more. He could have been before but I think I caught up to him.”

On his Brother C.J. Henry’s influence being drafted by the New York Yankees out of high school:

“He had a huge influence because he went through everything about five years before I did. He jumped right from high school into the real world. He’s got a lot of things that he taught me, that he showed me. I’ve been moving just as fast. I went from one year in college. It all translates, all the real world stuff and my brother helped me a lot with it.”

On the impact he can make at Memphis:

“I think I can make a big impact on both sides of the ball, not just scoring. That’s a very aggressive part of my game and I just try to play the game with 100 percent effort all the time and that is what I will bring to Memphis.”