KU Men's Hoops Preview Fort Hays State

Nov. 7, 2011

  • Coach Self Interview
  • T. Robinson Interview
  • J. Withey Interview

On Monday afternoon Kansas players, along with head coach Bill Self, spoke with members of the media in Allen Fieldhouse about the Jayhawks’ final exhibition opponent, Fort Hays State. Self fielded questions about the improvements he would like to see in the next game as well as his thoughts on if KU fans are concerned with Missouri leaving the Big 12.

Below is a transcript of Coach Self’s and select players’ interviews.

Bill Self Press Conference
November 7, 2011
Lawrence, Kan.

Kansas head coach Bill Self
On what he is looking for his team to improve upon against Fort Hays State:
“I’d like to see our newcomers play less tight. Naadir (Tharpe) was tight the other day, Justin (Wesley) was tight and Kevin (Young) was tight. I’d like to see those guys play a little more loose so we can see what they can do. I just want to see total improvement. I don’t think anybody played that well the other day. Statistically we were fine, other than turnovers. We need to do a much better job. It’ll be nice to have Thomas (Robinson) in there so we can see how things are going to play out with having our best presence in there.”

On if he has any reservations of letting Thomas Robinson play against Fort Hays State:
“We could (sit him out). He’s not 100 percent. He’s wearing a brace and the training staff says that he should be okay. We’re probably going to keep him in the brace a little bit longer. I think he needs to get out there. He needs the reps, too. He needs to see the ball go in the hole.”

On if he was happy with Jordan Juenemann’s performance against Pittsburg State:
“I wasn’t totally ecstatic about anybody, but what I did like was that they tried hard, they just didn’t play very smart in most ways. Jordan’s got to be one of those guys that comes off the bench and is a great defender and ball mover. He made some mistakes that are easily correctable just because he was excited. Jordan’s done well. He’s going to possibly play some minutes going forward but I think he can play better than he did (against Pittsburg State), I think our whole team can.”

On his admiration for Conner Teahan for waiting for his turn to influence the team:
“He’s been great the whole time. He’s been Jeremy Case for our program. He’s been the guy who wasn’t quite in the top rotation to play a lot of minutes. Jeremy was one player away and Conner has been one player away for three years. I think he’s good and I always have thought he’s good. He can really shoot but he’s become a much more complete player. I totally have respect for someone who can stick it out the way he has. Travis Releford has done the same thing. Jeff Withey has done a comparable thing. Now it’s those guys’ time to shine. Elijah has done that – only for two years – but he’s done that. The guys have worked so hard to get to this point now they need to take advantage of it.”

On if he believes Kansas fans are disappointed that Missouri and KU will no longer compete with one another:
“I don’t really talk to fans but the ones that have talked to me, they couldn’t care less. Our fans aren’t going to determine what we do but Missouri isn’t going to determine anything we do either. This isn’t being critical. We wish them the best. I hope that they’re happy where they’re at. There are no ill feelings about them leaving. This isn’t like Oklahoma or Texas leaving either; a school that could break the league up. I’m happy with our league and wish they wanted to be a part of it but I’m not going to cry because they’re leaving. They’re doing what they want to do but certainly when they do that then people should understand that we get to do what we want to do, too. I don’t think anyone in our administration would be too excited about playing them right now at all.”

Junior forward Thomas Robinson
On what he expects from the other post players on the team:
“I expect their best; especially from Jeff (Withey). We’re going to need him more than anything this year. Justin (Wesley) and Kevin (Young) are going to need to come in and give us good minutes. Really, no one can afford to slack off so I expect their best every night.”

On if he thinks he will be tentative in his return after his knee injury:
“My knee is not a problem. So that speculation is out of the question. It’s not a problem.”

On if it was hard to watch last week’s game from the bench:
“It wasn’t that hard just because I was excited to see how everyone was going to play and how everything was going to turn out. I was more on my feet for the first half of the game than me being mad about not playing.”

On if he is anxious to play with some of the players he hasn’t seen much time with yet:
“Definitely. We are going to need everyone from top to bottom this year to step up and play together. Different groups and different situations are something I’m looking forward to. I’m excited.”

Freshman guard Naadir Tharpe
On what he saw when he watched the film from the Pittsburg State game:
“I saw mental mistakes and lackadaisical plays that I never should have made. I have that one game under my belt, so now I’m going to be much more confident going into the game tomorrow (Tuesday vs. Fort Hays State).”

On the emotions of running out to 16,300 fans at Allen Fieldhouse for the first time:
“The adrenaline was pumping. I was excited. It was just a great atmosphere. I was just happy to be out there.”

On what he’s trying to improve against Fort Hays State:
“Definitely my turnovers I need to improve on and being much more of a general out there. Even though I’m a freshman, with Tyshawn (Taylor) and Elijah (Johnson) not being able to play, I need to step up to the plate. I’m going to have to be able to lead the team much better than I did in the first game.”

Senior guard Jordan Juenemann
On how he played against Pittsburg State:
“I made some mistakes that I wish I would have not committed, but I learned from them. It felt good playing in the game, getting out there and getting some experience. It felt comfortable, and that was good for me.”

On if he’s expecting to play a lot of minutes against Fort Hays State:
“We’ll see how practice goes today, but there’s an opportunity with us being so short-handed in the frontcourt. I’m looking forward to that. Hopefully, I can get that opportunity.”

On if he knows any of the players on Fort Hays State:
“I know quite a few of them. I played with them across the state of Kansas. My best friend Jason Ball plays for them. It will be cool to play them.”

Junior center Jeff Withey
On his triple-double against Pittsburg State:
“Some people have been teasing me a little bit about the triple-double just because it was an exhibition game. I didn’t think too much of it anyway. It’s the beginning of the season. I want to do it against Texas maybe or somebody like that. That would be more meaningful for me.”

On if the triple-double helped his confidence:
“It definitely helped my confidence. I’m trying to build off that, continue that momentum and bring that style of play into my next game.”

On the impact of Thomas Robinson being back:
“It’s going to help a lot. We’ve got one of our best rebounders back. Things will just go smoother I feel like in the paint with Robinson back. They’re definitely going to be looking at him to probably double team him, so it’s going to be easier for me to get offensive rebounds and stuff like that. They’re going to be focused on boxing him out. Hopefully I can slip in there and get extra rebounds. It’s going to make my job a lot easier with him back.”