White 111, Blue 111

Sept. 24, 2011

Recap | Final Stats

Legends Press Conference

Legends of the Phog
September 24, 2011

Current Kansas Men’s Basketball Coach Bill Self
On if Legends of the Phog went as well as hoped:

“I think it was better than what I’d hoped and I had thought it’d be great. Mario (Chalmers) and Paul (Pierce) were key to getting everybody back because they’ve done so much for this place the last 15 years. Also getting Coach Owens, and of course, one of my mentors, Coach Brown, back I think is always a treat. I thought this would be really cool and it turned out to be­–I don’t know how these guys feel–a lot better than what we even envisioned.”

On if coach Self attempted to get assistant coach Danny Manning to play in the game:
“I did. I thought we’d put him out there against, obviously (Scot) Pollard and some of the other guys who weren’t in the best shape, and we were going to run a little flex-cut-ducky and let him shoot a jump-hook and make sure nobody tried to block it so he’d score and everybody would have gone nuts. I think he thinks he’s found a second career: he was doing a little sideline reporting and he wanted to do that. One think about Danny is, to me, he epitomizes this place as much as anybody because to have so much individual fame, he deflects it to everybody else. Even for him, to be a part of our staff and what he gives to us is special, but he wanted this to be their day. He’s here every day. He wanted it to be their day because they’re not. That’s just how he operates.”

On what Legends of the Phog meant for the recruits that came to the game:
“I have no idea. One thing about recruits, we may not get them because when you recruit really good guys, competition is stiff. You may not get them, but I guarantee you, we’ll give them something to think about if we can just get them here. The unfortunate thing tonight was, in my opinion, I wish we’d had every recruit we’re recruiting here today. There’s so much competition for Late Night (in the Phog) but not as much competition for September 24th, so it didn’t work out that way but we had some in here and I can’t believe they didn’t have a great experience and feel great leaving out of here.”

On considering the returning players and coaches as a family of sorts:
“Well yeah, but I think it’s deeper than that. Just because you have guys back doesn’t make it a family. I think there needs to be a common thread that runs through everybody. Thing about it is, no matter who’s coaching here, you can never ever say that you’re the best coach–Dr. (Phog) Allen coached here–and no matter who’s playing here, you’re never going to be the best player–no disrespect guys (referring to Pierce and Chalmers), but Wilt (Chamberlain) played here. You are a part of something that’s so much bigger than yourself. I don’t know if guys get it when they’re 18 and they get here on campus but they get it by the time they’re 19, 20 or 21.

“Wayne Simien told me one of the coolest things in ’08 because he was in the office right after we won (the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship). He came up to me and said, `Hey coach. Congratulations, man,’ and I said, `You were such a great player, I just wish you would have had the opportunity to win a championship,’ and he said, `Coach, you don’t understand. I did.’ How many places can somebody say something like that and here they are, not even a team member? But it meant as much to him knowing that we won it because he is a team member and always will be.”

Former Kansas Head Coach Larry Brown
On being back in Allen Fieldhouse:

“When Paul (Pierce) said it was so loud, he didn’t want to listen to me anyway. I do remember at halftime he said I haven’t ever lost a game in here so I don’t want to experience one. Like Paul and Mario (Chalmers) said, (Kansas head coach) Bill (Self) has made it great for all of us to continue to be a part. I think when you play here or coach here, it doesn’t get any better than this. I remember when I was at Carolina, we used to go around and they used to talk about the Carolina family. Coach (Dean) Smith had so much to do with that, but this family here is remarkable. To see the way they respond to Paul and Mario and have all these prospects, that’s pretty cool. I’m happy Paul said we should continue to do this because it’s a place you’ll never forget.”

On Coach Ted Owens:
“He was out of timeouts, you know. Bill told me we had college rules so he was two over the limit. We really won. I knew a lot about Kansas because of Coach Smith and Coach (Dick) Harp. When I was a sophomore, we played in the Jayhawk Classic. We played at K-State and then here against Kansas and I’d heard Coach bragging about the interest and enthusiasm and it was remarkable. I got to know Ted through Coach Smith. He told the players, 23 years he spent here, 19 as a head coach. He had tears talking to everybody about his love for this school. When you inherit a program, I had ideas about how special this place was listening to Coach, but until you coach here and are involved, you don’t realize it. Ted left me with a pretty good group. I was blessed to have a really good team. The values those kids had because of their relationship with him (Coach Owens) was pretty neat. He left me with some good coaches. I was fortunate enough to have Bob Hill and (John) Calipari. It was a remarkable staff and then Bill (Self) showed up. Ted Owens had a lot to do with this program and to see his feelings about it were pretty remarkable, but he wanted to beat my ass. I could tell you that.”

Boston Celtics Forward Paul Pierce
On coming back to Allen Fieldhouse:
“It’s a special feeling when you come into Allen Fieldhouse; it’s a players’ gym. Once you walk into the Fieldhouse the adrenaline starts going, and I told the guys when we came back from the lay-up line that I felt like this was a game seven playoff game. That’s how much adrenaline I had and the chills that I got walking into the gym. I feel at home when I walk in there, and it’s good that the game ended the way that it did.”

On knowing he was going to hit the three-pointer with five seconds left:
“Of course I did. If you don’t believe that you’re going to hit it, then why be out there?”

On never losing a game in Allen Fieldhouse:
“Yeah I told Max (Falkenstien) at the half that I don’t plan on losing this one so I think I’m 55-0-1.”

On how this big shot compares to other ones in his career:
“It’s right up there, I’ll put it right behind the birth of my daughter.”

On wanting to do this again:
“I mentioned to Coach (Bill) Self that we should do something like this where we can get together. Like I said, this is a family type of program; the guys come back. I stay in touch with Ryan Robertson and other guys that I played with. I talk to Mario (Chalmers), we have that type of relationship because we have that link because we’re Jayhawks. It’s beautiful. Other schools don’t do this around the country to where they come back. This is a special place. Coach Self said we can come back anytime and I plan on coming back a lot more than I have in the past. You really don’t truly realize how special this place is until you come back and you step away from it and see it again; it’s unbelievable.”

On what he thinks about the changes in Allen Fieldhouse:
“I told Coach that I would have stayed four or five years in school if this was like this in 1995. This is a great place to play; they have all of the amenities and I’m sure the players really enjoy it thanks to Mario (Chalmers).”

On the differences of when he played here to now:
“It’s all the same just a lot louder. I was talking on the bench and I could barely hear Coach (Larry) Brown during the timeout. I mean, all game it was that loud. This atmosphere, this is a loud place to play and if you’re the opposite team then you are in trouble. I’m glad I went here and didn’t have to play as the opponent here.”

On if this reminds him of the environment when Wilt Chamberlain came back:
“Oh definitely. That was one of the greatest moments from my time here at KU. You look at a player like Wilt who paved the way for a lot of players at Kansas and also the NBA. That’s really where I saw the first type of family atmosphere here because when I was here they brought back some of the old teams, Wilt came back and other former players were always coming around. This is just a special place and we’re always welcome back as players.”

On what he said to Mario after he made the game-tying shot:
“I said that’s the way it’s supposed to end. It was just like his championship shot and everyone got a replay of it tonight.”

On Coach Neil Dougherty:
“I think he really just gave me the confidence to come out here. It was tough for me at the time; I was the youngest of three boys, so it was tough leaving home, leaving my mother, because it was me and her growing up, because I was the last one out of the house, so it was tough for me to get away. Between him and Coach [Roy] Williams, I felt comfortable leaving home, leaving my mother by herself, going a thousand miles just to play basketball. I trusted those guys, and Neil was like a father figure to me. I remember days going over to his house, just getting away from campus, going to eat, spending time with his family. He was a player’s coach. He always gave me confidence on the sideline. I remember my junior year he told me I was better than Ray Allen right now, and I didn’t believe him. It’s crazy I play with Ray Allen now. That’s just the type of person he was, and my heart just goes out to him and his family, because they really need to feel comfortable being here.”

On being a part of the Kansas program and a member of the Boston Celtics:
“I have really been blessed to be a part of two great traditions. When Coach (Self) asked me to come back, I didn’t hesitate to tell him yes, it was just a great opportunity for me to come back. I have been wanting to come back; I wanted to be here for the basketball camp, but it didn’t work out with my schedule, so when he asked me it was like a no-brainer to come back and be here around my old teammates and reflecting on memories. When I first got here, I walked the campus, went and saw some of my old classes and where I stayed at, saw some of the things they added on. It brought back a lot of great memories, and I am glad I had the chance to come back.”

Miami Heat Guard Mario Chalmers
On keeping in touch with other former Kansas players:
“Pretty much we all keep in touch. It’s different with me and Paul (Pierce), because Boston and Miami have that rivalry going. Everywhere else, if I go to Oklahoma, me and Cole (Aldrich) go get something to eat, and Brandon (Rush) in Indiana, so it’s good every time we play each other. We get together, we talk, we hangout. It shows our old team (the 20008 National Championship team) was a special team; we all felt like we were each other’s brothers, we all stay in contact, we all try to hang out as much as possible, that’s just how we are.”

On if he heard the fans cheering before he hit the game-tying shot:
“Yeah I heard it. It’s something that I’ve done before and something that I am constantly doing but with this type of atmosphere, it’s fun to come out and be with all of the other guys and the coaches again.”