Men's Basketball Coach Bill Self Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 17, 2006


Kansas Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Bill Self

On junior Darnell Jackson’s play thus far:
“I think Darnell has done a great job of being a producer from a points and rebounds perspective. I am not going to get too carried away and say he’s playing great, because nobody played well the other night. I think he’s improved, but I don’t know if he’s quite doing the things we need him to do in order to really help our team the most–from a screening, a defensive, an intangible standpoint.”

On the team’s defense:
“Our whole team the other night was bad defensively. Whenever you don’t guard that well and force help, allowing the other team to play behind the help, that’s what makes it tough to defend when you’re playing against a great player. We all need to get a little bit better. We lost more than people may think from last year. We lost our best on-the-ball defender (Jeff Hawkins). We lost a big guy that could talk and cover for everyone (Christian Moody). And we also lost a walk-on player, who when he was in the game, never let his man get a shot off (Stephen Vinson). We’re not the same team defensively we were last year. We’re about as good defensively this year as we were when we started out last year. To me, that’s frustrating because with the carry over we have, we should be further along. “

On the team’s response following the Oral Roberts loss:
“It’s hard to say because yesterday was a day off and we’ve only practiced once since then. The thing about losing that stinks is the potential to compound the problem. There’s always that potential. The positive thing about that, if it even exists, is that you can identify certain things and expose areas that help eliminate an issue before it becomes an even bigger issue. It’s very disappointing. It’s been a miserable last 36 hours. It’s early in the season, we’re young and we’re going to need to learn some hard lessons.”

On how the amount of early games affects the team’s play:
“It would be great to be healthy. I would love to have our whole team. The fact that we’re playing so many games in a condensed period without Sasha (Kaun), well it’d be better if it were spread out so he could get a chance to play some because he is getting better.”

On Kaun’s condition:
“He’s progressing very nicely, but I don’t know if we’ll have him back in the next week or so. If we didn’t have four games in six days, he could play in more games, but I am very confident he’ll be back after that.”

On what steps he would like to see the team take in preparing for the rest of the season:
“To me, I feel like every team has to have an identity and a personality before you can ever be anything. If you don’t, then you’re going to look good some days and look not so good other days. You’re going to play great as a freshman one day and other days you’re going to look like a freshman. You have to develop that common denominator–toughness, energy, enthusiasm, things that you can fall back on when other things aren’t going well. The thing that was the most disappointing the other night was not that we played miserably, and we were bad and they were good, but what most disappointed me was we allowed them to be good and we didn’t do anything to stop ourselves from being bad from an intangible standpoint. The days we play well, we’re going to win just about all those games. The key to having a great season is winning the games that you don’t play well because no team plays great every night. If you play great 30 percent of the time, you probably have a lot of talent. You have to win the games where you are average or below average, and that was something we did not do the other night.”

On whether he thinks the Oral Roberts loss could help the team:
“In the scope of long-term goals, I could see this happening. I can see this helping our team in the large scope of the season. It could be something we can look back on and say that this is something that helped our team. In the short term, I don’t see anything positive. I didn’t see anything the other night where I thought we could tell our players we could build off this. Over time, the mindset, the spoiledness, the softness, the lack of preparation and the non-aggressiveness may help us achieve our goals. I think it could be a positive for us, but it remains to be seen whether we are mature enough to spin a negative into a positive.”

On the team’s lack of aggression against Oral Roberts:
“We were passive at some times and your best players can’t be that. These are things we saw coming in practice. My wife knows very little about basketball, but she said something the other day that was totally accurate. She said `if you love to play, that is really love to play, what does it matter who you’re playing? Why does it matter, if you love to play, that you have unbelievable practices some days and pitiful practices the next day, if you love to play? Wouldn’t it be really good and average as opposed to great and pitiful? If you really love to play, you’re playing as much for love as for who the opponent is. Every time you lace them up, you should enjoy being out there, if you really love to do it.’ To me, that is what is really frustrating. The season is long and every team will have good games and bad games. This will happen again, and it will happen with every program in the country. Two games into the season, if you really love to play, your batteries should still be charged. And we didn’t come out Wednesday like our batteries were charged. Maybe she does know more about basketball than I thought.”

On what the team needs to do better:
“The problem is not just the outcome of the Oral Roberts game. The problem is the preparation. I think we gave up something like 13 points off scouting report just on which way to force guys. That didn’t have anything to do with talent. We weren’t as prepared to play that game the way we should have been in some guy’s minds. They didn’t get into the preparation like they might in other scouting reports. That is what frustrates coaches. Every day we’re going to get another team’s best shot, and Oral Roberts is a good team, but they shouldn’t come in here and win. When you take every team’s best shot, good players are going to play great and average players are going to play good. That’s what happened the other night.”

On what Brandon Rush needs to do to play better earlier in the game:
“Some of us may equate Brandon playing well to scoring points, but that’s not the deal at all. The other night, I think he thought he was ready but he didn’t do the things in his mind that he did against Northern Arizona. I feel like it was as much of them doing a good job and he just being a count off from where he needed to be.”

On the threat Towson’s Gary Neal poses:
“He can score. I watched some tape on him and he can get it going both ways. We need to do a better job on the opponent’s best player. If we allow him to have a big night, he could score 40 points. Averaging 27 points a game is very good and he can obviously get the ball in the basket.”

On what he thinks of the format of the Las Vegas Invitational:
“I think it’s good. I think it will be the wave of the future. It allows you to play in an exempt tournament where it only costs you one game, but you play four. You will see more of these in the future. Even the Preseason NIT is now the same way.”

On his concern of not having a shot blocker:
“We are going to be a different team even when Sasha gets back. We are having guys play too many minutes on the front line right now. Sasha was our best low post defender last year. We are going to be a much better defensive team when we get Sasha gets back. It could be a blessing in disguise because it has forced other guys to play more than they would have if Sasha would have been in there the whole time.”

On Sherron Collins:
“He is trying. He doesn’t know the whole floor yet. He is probably as far or further along than a lot of our freshmen last year. It just takes a little time.”

On Towson Coach Pat Kennedy:
“Pat has always gotten players whether he was at Florida State, DePaul or Montana. He is a very personable guy and has been good for our game for a long period of time.”

On the team being young:
“We are a young team and I am not happy with our team right now, but that should fall as much on me as it does on them or more so. It is my responsibility to get them to understand. A lot has been given to us from a perception standpoint that we haven’t earned. We haven’t earned anything. We have guys on the cover of Sports Illustrated. I am not saying that they don’t deserve it, but guys that have been on the past covers from Kansas are Pierce, Vaughn, Manning, Collison and Chamberlain. You just don’t have guys on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It is great for us from an exposure standpoint, but these guys are still young and trying to find their way. We are not the most mature team to handle the things that have come our way. We haven’t earned what people thought of us, but we have earned what people have thought of us over the last 36 hours. Things like Sports Illustrated if you are not very mature can certainly make you think or forget why we played well last year. We may have lost a little bit of edge that we had last year. We won’t be a very good team until we get that back and hopefully this will help us get that back.”

On the team’s leadership:
“Leadership has been an issue from day one. We have guys that are capable of being leaders, but we don’t have one guy yet that can make things right by taking matters into his own hands. That is what great teams have. I haven’t had that since I have been at Kansas. One guy can change the whole mindset of a team from a toughness and responsibility standpoint. We have a bunch of really nice kids that are responsible on their own. Coaches can help, but this isn’t something that happens overnight. I am hopeful that Russell can do this for us. He is a good leader, but he isn’t there yet. We need to become a better talking team.”