Men's Basketball Media Day Quotes

Oct. 14, 2004


Head Coach Bill Self

Opening statement:

“Well it’s good to see everyone. I hope you are all doing well. We are obviously anxious about getting started tomorrow night. We are very much looking forward to this season. Last year at media day, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, and I did for the most part, but last year was a year of transition. A lot of things went well but some things did not. I love how we finished, even though you’re are never happy when you lose your last game. Our great finish was a springboard for this year. I couldn’t be any more excited than I am about coaching this team. These guys have worked hard, they appear to be hungry, certainly it has a chance to be a very fun season around here.”

On the Canadian trip:

“The trip gave us 10 days of extra practice. With those 10 days we were able to put in a lot of the meat and potatoes, not detailed or intricate situations, but it will give us a head start for practices now. When you have a group of veterans like we have returning, and you throw in the freshman we have coming in, I thought that it was important to give the young guys some experience, but most importantly to get us ready for October 15th. The Canadian trip will not help us be a better team in January, but it can surely help us be a better team come Thanksgiving.”

Season outlook:

“We are not going to make any bold predictions, but we are one of the teams out there that has a chance. The guys like each other, they will share the ball, they will sacrifice for each other and for the most part they will have one goal in mind. I believe that when you have those qualities and those kind of players, you have a chance to have a lot of fun.”

On the four seniors:

“To have these four guys stay together out of 16 possible years, I think that gives us a leg up. I asked our guys what our advantage was. It’s not talent or good players. It’s not athletic ability or perimeter shooting, there are a lot of teams that have that. Few teams have four seniors that have been through the fire like we have.”

On Wayne Simien:

“I hope that he is healthy. Here is a guy that played hurt all last year and he averaged 18 (points) and nine (rebounds). A healthy Wayne could be a much better player than he was last year and he was one of the premier players around. I think his role will not look a lot different from the fans’ perspective, but we expect him to lead in practice and in the games. I think we can cut back on his reps in practice, but that doesn’t guarantee anything. I have never been one to worry about injuries.”

On preseason polls:

“There is not a lot of consensus in the preseason polls. In the polls a lot of these guys like to be different and that is why you have six or seven teams ranked number one. If that is the case, you can say that we are one of the top seven highest rated teams in America right now. With the guys that we have returning and the new guys that we have, we will be one of the teams that people talk about early season.”

On Russell Robinson:

“There is no doubt that Russell will be in our rotation. He can play the one, he can play off the ball. I think the big thing about Russell is that he just wants to be a player. He is not hung up on this or that, because he just wants to be out there. He is tough and talented enough that he will earn his way. Our older players love playing with him. Usually you can tell when they respect a guy, when the older players want a freshman to do well.”

On playing faster this year:

“We will play faster because we will have more bodies. Aaron (Miles) won’t have to play 35 minutes a game. I think that playing shorter spurts of minutes, guys won’t pace themselves. Last year, depth was an issue, so I think that will give us more possessions in a game than we had last year.”

On Darnell Jackson:

“Darnell has a lot of potential and he is going to do a lot of good things. I anticipate him to be a banger, an active body. He is probably our best passing big guy. I can see him doing a lot of things. I can see the three freshmen having a war everyday to see who will be playing the majority of the minutes next to Wayne.”

On the schedule:

“It is a great schedule and we have a lot of home games. The biggest negative that I see is that we don’t play our first road game until January. I didn’t want that, that is not what we intended to do. I don’t see any negatives besides that, I think it’s a good RPI schedule. I think we will have a chance to get some confidence by playing at home.”

On the team’s hunger level:

“I would say the hunger level this year is greater than it was last year. I have coached really hungry guys. I love coaching guys like that. We are the hunted instead of the hunter. To me that is a totally different role. I believe that we see it as, `if it doesn’t happen this year there is no next year’. I like that, I like being able to see the finish line. I think that will benefit this team. Our seniors will shape the attitude and the mindset of all our young guys.”

On the perimeter players:

“I don’t want to get hung up on positions because the best three perimeter players should start, regardless of size, as long as one of them is a point guard. I think that you could start three point guards. At Illinois, they are starting two points guards and a one and a half. It is irrelevant as long as you have a guard that is big enough to guard a three and you have good enough ball handling. Sometimes guys are better off the bench even though they might be a better player.”

On the Big 12:

“I don’t know why anyone would sleep on Oklahoma State. They return four starters and only lost one guy who played a lot of minutes and they had an exceptional recruiting year. I think Texas is going to be terrific, they are going to be young but they have great experience. Oklahoma is going to be much improved. Tech is going to be really good, as will Missouri. I think our league is going to be balanced, there will be three, four or five teams that are perennial top-20 teams. We could have as many as four in the top 10 at the same time.”

Selected Player Quotes

Senior Forward Wayne Simien

On the aspects of being a senior:

“I won’t miss boot camp. I’m glad I got that out of the way. I’m really letting a lot of things soak in, but it has gone by really fast. I want to be able to sit back and enjoy it.”

On the upcoming season:

“People often say there is always next year, but for the seniors, that is not the case any more. On paper, we are a great team, but we have to prove ourselves on the court. With the personnel we have, it should be a good season.”

On his health:

“I am 100 percent. I don’t worry about getting hurt. If (injury) does happen, I know how to deal with it.”

On Coach Self’s second season:

“Last year was a different type of year with a new coach and new players. From a leadership standpoint, it has been a lot easier. Last year, it felt as if we were all freshmen.”

Freshman Guard Alex Galindo:

On playing with four seniors:

“I really want to help all of the seniors, because they are missing something (a championship). I am going to do everything I can for the team to win. Whenever I am down, I go and talk to (the seniors) because they have all been there before.”

Senior Forward Keith Langford:

On the senior’s sense of urgency:

“I don’t look at the season as our last one, I just want to go out and win. The hunger is there for everybody. If the team is half as hungry as I am, we will be fine. I feel as if I have a lot to prove.”

On Late Night:

“I think everyone will be impressed with the seniors at our last Late Night.”

Senior Guard Michael Lee

On this year’s team:

“This team has a great chance to do some good things. Right now, we are well on our way.”

On the seniors’ last season:

“Anything short of a National Championship would be a disappointment. (The seniors) have done anything you could ask for besides winning a National Championship.”