Bill Self Press Conference Quotes

Sept. 2, 2004

LAWRENCE, Kan. – On the last two weeks of practice: “We have played close to excellent. We haven’t even talked about defense yet, believe it or not. We have just been trying to get guys to get the feel of what we want to do offensively, because that takes such a longer amount of time to get good at. I think offensively we look pretty good and defensively we try hard, we just don’t know what we are doing. But I think this team can be a great defensive team come December.”

On playing situations:“We are for sure not going to play Kleinmann and Jeremy (Case). Moulaye (Niang) is going to play and I have to visit with one other guy. But I anticipate that Jeremy and Matt are the only two that don’t play. There may be one more, but I will know more about that after today.”

On how Simien, Langford and Giddens look post injuries:“I would say Wayne physically looks the best with J.R. next and Keith behind them, but Keith has improved a lot over the last two weeks. He’s gone from 60-65 percent to 85-90 percent, so I think that Keith has benefited from the two weeks about as much as anybody has.”

On the starting big man situation:“I don’t have any idea, I imagine we will start Moody one game, but I would anticipate all six big guys starting on the trip. We play four games, so I don’t expect him to play all four. I would anticipate rotating them all to see some different combinations. But they are all about even to be honest.”

On the Canadian competition:“Well, the team that we play in the first game (University of British Columbia) split with Hampton a couple of weeks ago. And Hampton won 19 games last year, so I would anticipate that there will be some tough competition. And the team we play the last day (Simon Fraser) beat Hampton as well. Hampton went 2-2 on the trip, so I would anticipate those games being good competition. But I don’t know much about the other games to be quite honest with you.”

On the team defense:“Well I think we are bigger and stronger and quicker, plus we have shot blockers. I don’t know how much he will play but, C.J. (Giles) is one of the best shot blockers around. We have depth, which we can pressure people. So I think all of those things will help us become better defensively.”

On Kleinmann redshirting:“Matt’s been great, but he’s probably not going to be able to play much except for in a certain role as a freshman. We talked about, would you rather substitute age 23 for 18 and the obvious answer is yes if you are not going to play much at age 18. And I have talked to Jeremy (Case) about that as well. We are not 100 percent positive on Jeremy but I think we are leaning that way if he doesn’t become one of the top five in our rotation.”

On any surprises from practice:“I would say that all five of our freshman are a little bit better than I thought they were. I thought they were good players but I thought it would take them a little bit longer to kind of get a feel for it. But they have caught on quickly.”

On C.J. Giles:“I think he’s been great. C.J. is today where we thought he would be when he got here. Since we have started school he has been very consistent and tries hard, and been a sponge. His performance here of late has kind of matched his focus and effort level which has been very good. C.J. has told me that he could weight 260 pounds by the start of the school year and he’s up to about 228 pounds. But he has gained back what he lost.”

On the double header day in Canada:“We will probably play a majority of the reserves both games and the starters one game. Each game you can maybe have eight or nine guys that we will use.”

On what it will take for the Canadian trip to be successful:“Safety, health, win four games. You don’t usually become a team in September, and we don’t want to, that doesn’t help us at all. But usually you become a team at some point in the season.

On the hiring of the new strength coach:“Andrea Hudy has been on board here for about two weeks. She was the strength coach at Connecticut. We have watched and evaluated her closely over the last few weeks. All the people that have worked with her and come in contact with her sing her praises, so I am very impressed with her. I would say in our situation that a strength coach is probably, in my opinion, worth as much as an assistant coach. If you divide your program up, I would say that Bill Cowgill and Andrea Hudy are just as important as anyone on our staff.”