Bill Self Press Conference Quotes, 11-3

Nov. 3, 2004

LAWRENCE, KAN. – University of Kansas head coach Bill Self met with the media Wednesday (Nov. 3) to talk about the exhibition season opener against Emporia State Sunday.

On the team’s health:“As a total team it is not very good. We still have three guys that haven’t practiced yet in Alex (Galindo), Jeremy (Case) and Stephen (Vinson). We have some guys that are dinged up, but not to the point where they haven’t been able to practice the vast majority of the time. I’d say that of our guys that played the majority of the minutes last year, our health has been above average. For the guys that are trying to earn some minutes, I don’t think our health has been that great. But Wayne, Keith and J.R. they have done pretty well.”

On the rotation during the exhibition game:“What you will probably will see is that more players will play. We will try to figure out a rotation. I don’t know how long each player can play. We will try to do that with what we feel is our core nine or ten. But everybody should play.”

On his relationships with Emporia State coach David Moe:“I have known Dave for a long time. Of course he was an assistant at Colorado for years when I was at Oklahoma State, Oral Roberts and Tulsa. He is really a good guy. He has done a good job down there. People like him, I went down there to spend some time with him earlier this fall. He likes his team. He has a tough stretch. Gonzaga on Friday and Kansas on Sunday, that would be a touch stretch for anyone.”

On the remaining starting spot:“I will tell you right now, we could start Christian Moody, Sasha (Kaun), C.J. (Giles) or Darnell (Jackson). Just depending on how this thing pans out. They have all done well, all of them have shown flashes of doing great, but no one has consistently outplayed anyone else. I anticipate them all playing some. But right now I couldn’t tell you who will be starting in that spot right now. I can’t tell you who will be starting in the other spots right now in the exhibition games, that will be based on performance to date. Who we think will be our starters when we start playing games, will be different than who we will start on Sunday. We will wait to see how it works out in practice this week. Christian is our best perimeter out of those four and he understands what we are doing better than the other three. He is probably the smallest, so that would force Wayne (Simien) to guard the five. The other guys are big enough to defend the five, which would allow Wayne to defend the four. Sasha is our best rebounder in traffic, Darnell is our best passer. C.J. is our best shot maker and shot blocker. They are all talented in their own way, but nobody has jumped ahead of the other one. Sasha has probably been the most consistent of the three freshman big guys. But he has also been the healthiest.”

On practices to date:“I don’t think practices have been bad, but they haven’t been great. We have talked a lot about that as a team. I feel like our energy level and our enthusiasm and intensity haven’t been consistently good enough. I guarantee there are some teams out there who have worked harder than us on certain days. There have been a lot of days where we have worked real hard. I think it is a lot of reasons, a lot of veterans, health concerns, sometimes players tired of playing against each other. Plus this team has had more practice days than most teams because of the Canada trip.”

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 with. So I think all of those things will help us become better defensively.”

On preseason polls:“I think it is very misleading to be ranked anywhere right now. I don’t think it means anything. I think what the preseason ranking has done for us, is that it has been positive for recruiting and fan bragging rights. I also think that with expectations it forces your team to play in a situation where there is a bigger bullseye on your back, which naturally should help you play games later in the season because they are going to be pressure packed games. I think if you slide under the radar screen, sometimes you get a false sense of what you are because you are not really sneaking up on people as much. Which I think is why Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina over the years have been so good. They have taken people’s best shots. I think there is some advantage of being ranked high, it may not help with your wins and losses but it may make you tougher as a group.”

On Sasha Kaun:“He is a sponge. He is picking stuff up. He is starting to get it. Now is the game too fast for him? Yes. But it is not quite as fast for him as it was before. What the freshmen need to do is guard and rebound, reverse the ball and screen. If they do those things, they are going to have the chance to play a lot. Scoring is important, but for them to get minutes early they don’t have to be our go-to-guy, they just need to help the team be better.”

On practices this year compared to last:“I would say practices are a lot better than last year. I said several times last year that we were a poor practice team. The good thing is, that in the players’ mind, we don’t have to go quite as long as we did last year. If I was going to grade our practices, I would probably give us a “B.” We’ve had some “A” practices but we have also had some borderline failing practices.”