Self Discusses CBE Classic at Weekly Press Conference

Nov. 13, 2008

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas men’s basketball head coach Bill Self met with the media Thursday afternoon in Hadl Auditorium to discuss the upcoming CBE Classic in which the Jayhawks will play two home games and two games at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Men’s Basketball Press Conference

Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008

Head Coach Bill Self Quotes

His thoughts on having a tournament to start the season:
“Last year we got four home games out of our tournament, this year we only get two. I don’t mind these tournaments at all. They are good revenue-makers for the school because we get to host two games. We also have a chance to play at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, which is always good. It’s a good tournament with a great field. Hopefully we’ll perform at a very high level, because we’re going to have to.”

On his team thus far in the season:

“This is a really, really young team. Probably the youngest team I’ve ever had. It can test your patience, but at the same time it’s exciting and new. I really believe I’m going to enjoy coaching these guys. It’s fun to see how much better certain guys have gotten in the time they’ve been here. We’ve really had some guys improve a lot.”

On who has improved the most from last season:

“I would say Cole (Aldrich) has improved the most. He really didn’t have a great first exhibition game, but the other night he was fabulous. He scored real points. Sometimes a guy is a great high school scorer and scores high school-type points because he can overpower the guy he’s going against. His release was high, and it’s a hard shot to contest. Each and every day to see where he was at Late Night last year compared to where he is now, it’s remarkable how far he’s come.”

On the play of Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar:

“They’ve been solid. They understand better where the ball needs to go and where the shots are coming from. Defensively they have a concept of what we’re trying to do. They’ve both improved a lot as well. We talk about Cole getting beat up a lot last year, these guys had to guard Mario (Chalmers), Brandon (Rush), Sherron (Collins) and Russell (Robinson) every day, too. They had to guard great athletes. They’ve gotten a lot better. Everything looks good when you make shots, and those guys have been good shot-makers for us so far during the preseason practices and exhibition games.”

On hanging up Kansas’ fifth National Championship banner and the school’s great tradition:

“If you look at it from an objective point of view, it would be hard to argue that we don’t have as much historical value in our game as anyone. The inventor of basketball was our first coach, and the father of basketball coaching was our second coach. That’s pretty strong right there. And arguably the most dominant player ever played here. I think our program is as tradition-rich as any in the country. And to hang another banner will be cool.”

On how the National Championship affects recruiting:

“It gets us in the game, but it doesn’t have much to do with signing guys. People we’re competing against have experienced similar success or have an in with the youngster maybe in some ways that you don’t have an in. It’s a lot more difficult going into someone else’s turf and recruiting guys than it is recruiting guys in your own backyard. I do think us winning it has been a huge asset. There’s no doubt about that. There are very few people that we call that don’t accept the call, which is positive. And I do think that we can be in the game with just about anybody. But being in the game and being ‘the one’ is night and day. You still have to do your job. When you’re in the game against schools that we’re competing against on a regular basis, they have similar things to sell also. But it’s really been an asset, something we can always sell. You can statistically line it up and make it look even more impressive. It’s an impressive thing, but I’m not sure that gets anybody.”

On Tyshawn Taylor being a defensive presence:

“Tyshawn needs to be our lockdown defender on the perimeter. If he learns to play with his hands in a legal way, I think he has the same type of talent as Mario (Chalmers) to come up with steals and deflections and things like that. I don’t know if he can anticipate as well as Mario, I don’t know who does, but I certainly think he can be a guy who can be one of the steal leaders in our league eventually.”

On where the rebounding needs to come from, other than Aldrich:

“Quintrell (Thomas), Markieff (Morris) and Marcus (Morris) have to be those guys. Collectively, they need to average 12-14 rebounds a game. If they can do that, I’d say we’re off to a pretty good start. Maybe 15, but we have to have them come through to do that. And then have Cole get his eight or so and then fill in from that point forward. But we need those three to rebound the ball.”

On if KU will take advantage of its size advantage against UMKC:

“I think we will take the same approach. We should, with the size advantage, play through our bigs more. They’re going to play some zone I would think. We’ll know more after watching them play tomorrow night because we don’t have anything on them yet. Last year that was a single-digit game with about 10-12 minutes left and then we pulled away at the end, but they played us good here. And we had a pretty nice team. Playing UMKC the way they play, we have to attack the different defenses, whether it be a 1-3-1 or whatever type of zone they play. And they’ll play man as well. Then obviously we have to get to the three-point shooters, and not give up layups because they run so many back cuts. If you’re going to evaluate us on how we play, we have to take those two things away, which is easier said than done.”