Men's Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 16, 2005


Head Coach Bill Self

If the young players on the team are coachable:
“I think we’ve been very coachable. Sometimes we’ve been a little head-strong and stubborn which most good athletes are in some form or fashion. They are trying hard to please and they are going to get it, but they aren’t totally comfortable yet. They are gaining on it each and every day and each and every week. We’re certainly a lot more comfortable than we were four weeks ago. Sometimes guys that know more than one way are more difficult than guys that just know only one way to do certain things.”

If the new players have to unlearn anything:
“Not so much unlearn. I personally believe a lot r to have a freshman come in and have an impact than a junior college guy. Junior college guys have been doing it a certain way at a high level, much higher than high school, for two years and it usually takes another semester or so to get adjusted. Sometimes high school guys are even easier than guys that have been involved in other programs.”

On his team being vocal:
“I think they’re maybe a little bit more vocal. But that’s not a natural gift that most of those guys have. It’s unnatural for Russell (Robinson) to be very vocal and the same for C.J. (Giles), Sasha (Kaun) and Darnell (Jackson). When you look at the exhibition season, Sasha was great one game and the other game the production wasn’t quite that good. Same with C.J. Same with Russell. You’re going to have guys that are doing this a little bit because they’re young. I believe that we are going to have nights where Sasha can get 18 or 20 (points). Then we can flip it the next night where C.J. can get 20. I don’t think the guys are over-confident because they haven’t performed consistently individually at a high level. They’ve just shown flashes.”

The effect on the team’s depth with Darnell Jackson out:
“We need to make sure C.J. or Sasha are able to defend the `5′ the majority of the minutes in the game. It would be an easy decision for me who to start and who to play together most of the minutes. It would be C.J. and Sasha. But you don’t want both those guys to have two fouls with 12 minutes left and now you are defending the post with Julian (Wright) and Christian (Moody) which isn’t big enough. We need Matt Kleinmann to be ready. But we also will play those guys together some. Don’t be surprised if they don’t play together some. Not because I’m mad at them, but to make sure one of them stays out of foul trouble.”

If C.J. Giles and Sasha Kaun are getting better at not committing fouls:
“I thought last game they were both pretty good at it. They both played about seven minutes before they each had a couple of fouls. They’re better but they’re not great. A lot of the times they foul it is the guards’ fault. Guards are out there over-pressuring and gambling, it forces help and those guys are the help guys. Our guards have to be more sound so our big guys don’t foul them.”

On C.J. Giles’ and Sasha Kaun’s ability to pick up the X’s and O’s compared to last year:
“I think they’re both very good. I think they probably both get it and understand it about as well as anybody on our team and they are doing a good job of coaching the other guys. Last game C.J. was good offensively but he did some great things defensively. Talking, pointing and sorting. Sasha is the same way. Christian should be and is our best defender as far as understanding what we are doing but those guys are gaining on that real quick.”

If he still has questions about this year’s team:
“I think until you play other people you always do (have questions). I don’t know how we’ll react when teams play a zone. How are we going to react when people press? How are we going to react when we are down five with three minutes left? Or when we are up five, being able to protect the ball. It’s one thing to do things in practice. But to do it under game conditions, there are a lot of things we don’t know. One thing about last year’s team, regardless how we played the first 35 minutes, for the most part, those guys finished games. We won a lot of close games last year. I don’t know how good we’ll be. I don’t think you can be a great team unless you are able to finish games. So we’ll have to wait and see on that. All indications are to me is that we can be pretty good before it’s said and done.”

What they’d like to accomplish at the Maui Invitational:
“There is some point in time in every season where teams become teams. Where you go through some stuff and rally around it. It usually happens away from home where you have no distractions. Where the guys are off by themselves. Where there are no family and girlfriends. It’s just basketball to be quite honest with you. A lot of times teams become teams over Christmas break because there are so many distractions during a school year. I’m hopeful that we become a basketball team over the next week. Not to the point where we’ll be but we’ll have a good feel of being able to trust each other, lean on each other.”

On scheduling Idaho State before going to Maui:
“Well we can’t play until Friday and the tournament starts on Monday. We felt good about getting one game in. So there was no way we could play Friday, Saturday and travel Sunday. This is the maximum that anybody could do in regards to the rules of how you have to schedule.”

If this is not the ideal year to play in a tough Maui Invitational:
“I think if I said that then I’m making excuses if we don’t do well. I think it’s a perfect time for us to go over there, young and all. I think we’ll know more about our guys. The perfect time to play everybody is when you are experienced and prepared. That doesn’t happen with many teams this early in the season anyway. I think it’s a great time for us to go. Just throw these young guys in the fire because they are going to be thrown in the fire later anyway.”

If there is time to have fun in Maui:
“Yeah, Thursday. They’ll see the beach, they just won’t get in the water. We’ll get there Saturday. EA Sports is putting on a PlayStation competition for all the teams so they’ll hang out with all the players. Sunday, we’ll practice for an hour and a half. The rest of the time will be free to an extent. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday it’s business. Then Thursday they can go enjoy the sites. I’ve always found out that you have more fun when you play well. And we need to make that our focus as opposed to trying to have a good time.”

Challenges Idaho State brings:
“They’ll switch defenses. They’ll play a lot of zone. They’ll play man. Their record wasn’t what I’m sure they hoped it would be but they also have seven newcomers. They are all older kids, JUCO kids. They had a couple of redshirts last year that will both be in the starting lineup. I believe two of them combined for 40 points last game. This is a team that not knowing much about them, I know enough by watching on tape that they are capable and they can shoot the basketball.”

On having the team look ahead to Maui:
“We haven’t even talked about Maui. We’ll talk about that Friday night. Today and tomorrow is all Idaho State. There won’t be any talk about anyone else.”

On how the team shares the basketball:
“I love the fact that they don’t care who scores. These guys do share the ball. They are all pretty good passers. I think we are a better passing team than we were last year. If you take Aaron (Miles) out of the equation I don’t think there are any questions that this team would be a much better passing team than last year’s team.”

On the start of the season:
“I’m excited. It’s been one of those falls that we’ve had a lot of stuff hanging over our head that we didn’t have any control over. I’m excited to get all that stuff behind us. I’m excited to move forward. I love our guys. I don’t love how we always play but I love our guys and they are trying hard. I need to be patient with them. I think if we do that, over time we’ll like the end result. This is the most fun time of year other than March. Going to Hawaii after playing Idaho State, I don’t see how it could be much better being a coach or student-athlete.”