Men's Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 7, 2005


Weekly Men’s Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Bill Self

On who will start the opening exhibition game:
“I don’t know who is going to start. Who starts on Wednesday won’t necessarily be who starts the next week. We’re going to start the guys who have worked the hardest and played the best most consistently. It may be a little bit surprising, but that has been the nugget that I have put out there for everyone. I think we’re getting a better feel of how we’re going to piece this together, although you may not be able to tell in the exhibition games.”

On mixing up the lineups:
“I don’t think there is any doubt right now that our veterans would beat our younger guys, simply because they know what they’re doing. I think a good mix will be a blend of our older guys with the freshmen. I think that would be a better mix early on as opposed to throwing all the freshmen out there together.”

If anyone has solidified a spot in the lineup:
“I think Russell Robinson has been our best perimeter player and C.J. (Giles) has been our best inside guy. There is probably a good chance that those guys will start.”

“We haven’t quite defined everybody’s role and exactly how we’ll substitute. We need to play against someone else, and hopefully those things will come to light in the next few weeks by trial and error.”

On Julian Wright:
“He can play some `three’ but right now it’s easier for him to play the `four’ offensively. The matchup problem he creates is if he plays on the perimeter against a big guy.”

“His biggest advantage is being a `point-four man.’ Bringing the ball up the court as a big guy could mess with some people. We haven’t even looked at that stuff yet because we’re trying to get him and our team to understand how we want to play. We’ll start tweaking some things once we get more comfortable.”

“His biggest disadvantage is that he’s a typical freshman. He only weighs 212 or 215 pounds. He isn’t near as strong as some of the guys that he’s going to have to guard. He’ll have to use his quickness and not relax. He has a lot of things to learn in that regard, but I still think that he’ll be able to do it.”

On the team’s progression:
“I’m pleasantly surprised at how quick our guys have picked things up. In all my years of coaching, I’ve never thought I had a team ready to play the first game. I don’t think any coaches do, because there are so many situations that you haven’t had a chance to get to in practice. On the flip side, not many teams practice unique situation in the first month of practice. They’re primarily working on the meat and potatoes. I’m not saying we’re ready to play. I wish we had a little bit more time, but I am pleasantly surprised. I think we give up too many easy baskets and we don’t value the ball enough. We have to tighten everything up, because we don’t pay enough attention to detail. Those are thing we’ll talk about in February also. We’re about where I thought we would be.”

On things he’ll be looking for on Wednesday:
“Hopefully we’ll win. I’d also like to get some guys meaningful minutes in front of the crowd so that they can generate a little confidence.”

On Russell Robinson:
“He’s been very consistent. He’s like a machine. He shows up and goes to work and spends plenty of time doing it. He doesn’t complain and always sees the glass as half-full. He’s been a machine for us. He hasn’t shot the ball unbelievably great, although he has shot it well. He hasn’t been taking care of the ball exceptionally well, although he is also much improved in that area. He just gets it.”

On C.J. Giles:
“C.J. gets it pretty well too. He hasn’t even scratched the surface of what he can become just because he’s so long and athletic. He’s doing pretty well.”

“Offensively he has improved because he thinks he can score. He has some confidence now. He’s going to have to score for us to be any good. He can score, but he hasn’t done it when the lights are on yet.”

On the sophomores:
“Every one of our sophomores has become pretty good. They have definitely improved, but not quite to where we hope they end up. Darnell (Jackson), C.J. and Sasha (Kaun) have all improved as big guys. As freshman, everyone says they want to play, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are ready to play. These guys wanted to play last year, but they weren’t ready. Fortunately we had other guys who could play most of the minutes. Now, they’ve tasted what it’s like to sit on the bench and they have the mentality that they aren’t going to let the freshmen take any time away from them. I think they’re hungry, and they want to be impact players at Kansas.”

If the freshmen are ready:
“They’ll probably have more of an impact by the middle of December than the freshman last year did the whole season. They’ll grow up fast.”

On the most impressive freshman:
“The last week to ten days it has been Mario (Chalmers). There have been days where Brandon (Rush), Micah (Downs) and Julian (Wright) all look great, but Mario has probably been the most consistent. I would have told you someone totally different two weeks ago.”

On Mario Chalmers:
“I think he’s going to be a point guard that can play off the ball. He and Jeff Hawkins will be able to play together just fine. He’ll also be able to play with Russell (Robinson), Jeremy (Case) or Brandon Rush and he’ll be the primary ball-handler. He’s a very bright guy. He has a very good basketball IQ. It’s amazing how much he has learned just in the past two weeks. He knows why we do things whereas other guys just do it.”

On Micah Downs:
“People talk about Micah as being a great shooter, and he is. I haven’t seen anyone guard him yet though. We know he can shoot, but can he come off a screen and get a shot off in a short amount of time? I think he’ll able to do those things, but he just has to show he can do it. I would say the same thing about Jeremy Case.”

On Rodrick Stewart:
“I’m trying to figure him out. He’s a great athlete and can do a lot of things. I don’t know what his role will be yet, because we also don’t know what roles the other wings are to play as of right now. If Rodrick wants to become a good player and play significant minutes here at Kansas, then he has to become a great rebounder and a great defender.”

“We’ll have plenty of time after the first semester ends to slide him in and see what he can do. Rodrick has been in our first group 50 percent of the time so far, mainly because we don’t know what our first group is. We’ve tried a little bit of everything. I don’t think he’ll be left out. He’s going to have plenty of time to show us what he can do in practice sessions.”

On Brandon Rush:
“He’s getting more comfortable all the time. When you first to talk to him he’ll come across as very polite and shy, but after you get to know him you won’t be able to shut him up. He’s been a real treat to be around. He has a great personality. You can tell he’s starting to get it because he’s starting to become more comfortable in his own skin. It’s going to take him a while, and he’s going to be nervous. Even though he has all these high expectations and all this hype, he’s still going through all the things the other freshmen are going through. He’s just a kid that’s going to be playing in his first college game on Wednesday.”

On the point guard position:
“I go through phases. It will be either Hawkins or Mario, but it could be both those guys. They could play together a lot. Don’t get too hung up on who starts. It’s going to change quite a bit.”