Kansas Men's Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 5, 2009

Video: Self Press Conference | Reed | Aldrich | Mc. Morris | Mk. Morris


Kansas Men’s Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Bill Self:

On the impact of C.J. Henry’s injuries:

“They would all play the same, no matter what. If he [C.J. Henry] was healthy, he would have played the same as the other guys. I don’t know which ones I would have put in first, but he would have played the same amount as the other guys. He needs an opportunity to get out there and show what he can do and build some confidence. I am hopeful that he will have a chance to play in the next exhibition game.”

“I am not concerned as much about the injuries as I am about the fact that he has missed so much time. Once we start playing games, we don’t practice as much. It is hard to get that rhythm and be out there. When you start playing games for real, you don’t put guys in the game just to get them in the game. So, he needs to be out there. As far as his long-term health, I am not concerned about that. I am just concerned about him putting in a position where he can get out there a lot.”

On the success of the starting lineup used in the first exhibition game vs. Fort Hays State:

“I thought it was fine. We will more than likely start Tyshawn [Taylor] next Tuesday, but I think Markieff [Morris] has played pretty well. I would say at this juncture, with our returning guys, he is probably the most improved player that we have. The lineups don’t make any difference to me right now. We were going to be bigger than Fort Hays State regardless of who we put out there.”

On the decisions surrounding redshirt players this season:

“I guess we could always say we are going to redshirt somebody and then take them off, but you can’t do it the other way. You can’t play them and then decide to redshirt them. I really think from our thought process, we are going to get through practice on Monday and then decide before the game starts on Tuesday, so that they will have an opportunity to play in the game.”

“They [Little, Releford, Teahan] all want to play and I would be disappointed if all didn’t feel that way. But the reality is, `would they be better at age 23 than they are age 19 or 22, in Mario’s case, or would this guarantee them graduating without having to come back after they leave’. These are all important decisions and I think I have a pretty good grasp on it. I do no think all three are going to do that, but I just know if we had played any of them that would eliminate the decision-making process. We will see what happens. They are fine with whatever. If you are a good player, but the deck is sort of stacked against you right now, but we really feel like you could be a starter here, then it really is not a bad scenario, especially if it ensures you graduate. If you think you are going to be better at age 23 than you are now, then it really is not bad.”

On the versatility of players at the guard position this season:

“You are not going to play six perimeter players that much, at least I am not going to. I will say this though; I thought a month ago Elijah Johnson would be a definite redshirt candidate, but right now I am not seeing that at all. I think he can help this team right now, let alone come January and February. We will wait and see how that plays out, but he has been an added bonus to us. I knew he had a chance to be good, but I probably did not know he could impact this team this early in his career. And in large part, that might be because of other guys being out or being hurt. You know, Brady [Morningstar] is out and C.J. [Henry] is hurt, so it has given him an opportunity and he has made the most of it.”

On the impact of Thomas Robinson:

“Thomas is real consistent. Thomas is probably our most consistent guy in terms of effort day in and day out, at least with our big guys. I have said this several times; Thomas has done as much to make the [Morris] twins better as anybody. He plays at a motor that they need to play at in order to keep up, as far as going after balls. I think Thomas has been very good for our team.”

On the role of Tyrel Reed:

“Whether he starts or not, I don’t know. I see his role being one who can make big shots and who we want to shoot the ball. He tries so hard and cares so much. He is an unbelievable leader for our guys. Everybody respects Tyrel. There is nobody that could play Kansas and not respect his effort. And as a fan, you should totally respect everything he does because he tries so hard and cares so much. I think his role will be comparable to last year. Maybe a little bit more as far as minutes, especially early in the season, but I really don’t know because I don’t know how these young kids are going to react to what they have ahead of them.”

On shots per game for Cole Aldrich:

“We have to get him more shots, but I would almost look at it differently; let’s get him more touches as opposed to shots. Get him touches in areas where he can shoot, and if they take that away, then hopefully he will become a better passer or better assist guy. He needs to get double-figure attempts. Last year, Sherron [Collins] averaged 13-14 shots a game and Cole averaged eight to nine. Sherron’s attempst should be comparable and Cole’s attempts should be a little bit more. I think there will be some games where we will need to consciously try and do it, but it should happen out of the flow, as your guys understand where shots are coming from because that is what we design it to do is get guys’ touches in different places. Sometimes when things are going well and other guys are making shots, a lot of times we can forget about the big fella and we don’t need to do that.”

Player Quotes

Junior center Cole Aldrich

On freshman Thomas Robinson’s energy:

“It’s helped a lot. It’s helpful having those young guys like Thomas because he has great energy. He comes out to practice and gives everyone else energy too.”

On the team’s size:

“Right now we are big and later in the season we’ll have Jeff Whithey in there who is a legit seven-foot man, so he’s really going to help us. We a have a lot of size, a lot of strength and the great thing is we are just as athletic as we were two years ago.”

On getting touches during games:

“It’s really important to have an inside-out game because if guys are struggling with outside shooting, then they can throw the ball to the big guys. If we’re struggling and get double-teamed, then we can kick it out and kick it out for open threes and just get the perimeter guys easy shots.”

On the competition within the team:

“It’s a lot of fun because practice is amped up that much more. Brady (Morningstar) could tell you that red-shirting for a year is tough. You have to go through the whole season without playing games, but it made Brady such a better player and a key player for us last year.”

Junior guard Tyrel Reed

On starting:

“It just depends on what coach sees. I’m not really worried about starting or coming off the bench to give the guys energy. It really doesn’t matter to me.”

On playing with an unselfish attitude:

“I put the team first. I’m not worried about scoring myself. I just want to get other guys shots and hopefully help the team win.”

On spreading the unselfish attitude around to teammates:

“I think most of the guys have a really good attitude and put the team first. I try to stress that.”

On motivating the red-shirt players:

“It’s tough for them because they want to be out on the court playing as much as they can, but I think it will be better for them. They can come back next year, be that much better and more experienced, so they need to take it as a positive.”

Sophomore center Markieff Morris

On if he feels stronger this season:

“I feel a lot stronger this year. Last year at this time I was around 215. This year I’m 20 pounds more than that. I feel a lot stronger with the ball.”

On starting Tuesday’s game against Fort Hays State:

“It was just an exhibition. It always means a lot to start for Kansas, but right now it’s just an exhibition game. Coach is just getting a feel for who he wants to start and who has been playing well in practice. He started who he felt was doing well in practice.”

On how hard he and his brother Marcus worked over the summer:

“I feel like I was step behind last year. I was a step too slow. I was a little too weak. I had to improve a lot to play at this level.”

On the level of competition in practice:

“This year practice is a lot more intense than it was last year. We have a good group of young guys that came in and we returned everybody so the competition was always high. We have more than one player than can beat you out at your position. You have to come in with a good attitude and give Coach what he wants so he can play you.”

Sophomore forward Marcus Morris

On what he hopes to get out of the last exhibition game next Tuesday against Pitt State:

“Just the experience for the young guys, it’s another time to get out there and play before it all really starts to get going.”

On how the freshmen played in the first exhibition game:

“I thought they did real well. They did better than I did last year. I fouled out in four minutes or something like that. Thomas (Robinson) and Xavier (Henry) both fouled out, but at least they waited until the second half. Elijah (Johnson) surprised me a little bit. He played one of the best games I have ever seen him play. It was the first game, but in practice he has been doing real well. He’s been leading the team. I was really surprised at the way he played.”

On his offseason workouts with brother Markieff:

“It was tough during the offseason working out six days a week. I did it for my team to become a better teammate. Last year we were new to a lot of it. This year it was my work ethic that helped me to improve and to become a better teammate.”

On the improvement he has seen in Markieff:

“Markieff is going to have a lot more dunks this season. He became a way better jumper. He’s like a jumping jack now. He has the most dunks in practice. He’s going to have a lot more dunks this year.”