Self Previews CBE Championship Rounds

Nov. 21, 2008

LAWRENCE, Kan. —Kansas men’s basketball head coach Bill Self met with the media Friday afternoon in Hadl Auditorium to discuss the upcoming CBE Classic championship rounds in which the Jayhawks will play two games at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., against Washington and then either Florida or Syracuse.

Men’s Basketball Press Conference

Thursday, Nov. 21, 2008

Head Coach Bill Self Quotes

On if he has a feel for what the rotation will be this year:

“I think I have a better feel. But the whole thing is I can’t go into Kansas City playing against these caliber teams thinking I have to get everybody in the game. Our rotation may vary week to week, at least early on, but I can’t go into these games thinking we have to look at different combinations. We need to find something that we feel most comfortable with and go with that. We may end up playing 10 or so, but we can’t just try to get everybody minutes to see what’s working. I think the competition is way too stiff to be doing that.”

On what he thinks of the Sprint Center:

“I love it. I think it’s a great venue. The lighting is good, and it’s one of the few big arenas where you feel like the fans are pretty much on top of you. Back behind in the bowels of the arena, the locker rooms and everything couldn’t be better. It is definitely a player/coach-friendly type environment. It’s about as good as I’ve ever been in, in that regard.”

On the CBE Classic:

“I think this is perfect for us. It’s probably perfect for Washington, Florida and Syracuse, too. It’s a good way to find out where you’re at. I think that we’re going to have a good team, and I think all the other three teams in the field are going to be very good. But I don’t really know where we’re at right now. To be honest, I don’t think we will really know that until we have other people guard us and us guard other people to kind of magnify a few things that we do well and also expose our weaknesses. Everybody needs to know what they are. Right now I think I know, but I haven’t had anybody show me just yet. Hopefully they won’t show us too much on our weaknesses, but I think this is good.”

On Washington forward Jon Brockman being a measuring stick for Cole Aldrich and some of the other KU forwards/centers:

“Jon is the preseason Pac-10 Player of the Year, and he is a stud. We tried to get in there, and I felt really good because he told me we finished sixth in his recruiting process. We were just outside of that top five. We would have loved to have had him and had an opportunity to work with him. I think that he’s an All-America candidate. He plays big like (Blake) Griffin plays big at Oklahoma. He’s a guy that definitely creates space and creates touches for himself. Looking at the stats, he already has 15 offensive rebounds in two games, so he’s a fabulous rebounder. He’s a terrific player, and he’ll play at the next level without question. We won’t play against many of his equal this year at all. He’s one of the better players out there.”

On if he can take anything from what happened in Maui (2005) with a young team there and apply it to this team:

“We won’t even talk about that, but there are some similarities. I was thinking last night, we played a great first game against Idaho State before we went to Maui and we were going over there thinking `Wouldn’t it be great if this group of young kids could go over and win this thing’, and next thing you know we’re just hoping to beat Chaminade. So I don’t want to get too hyped up, I’m just pretty level about it. I probably approached the Maui tournament the wrong way. With that field, I should have approached it as a great learning experience and a way to get better, but I approached it saying, `We have to play this way to win it.’ I’m just approaching this as a matter of fact, let’s see where we’re at type deal. Of course the competitive juices will flow as much as they ever do with our entire team, but I don’t want to put too much emphasis on this tournament because I may have done that in Maui.”

On Lorenzo Romar’s Washington team:

“They are fast, real fast. And he’s always had athletic teams, but this is one of the better teams that he’s had since he’s been there. They had that great team that was a No. 1 seed back when they had Brandon Roy, and they’ve been knocking on the door for quite some time. They won the league (Pac-10) in 2005, and winning that league is a great task. But they are fast, in transition defense and limiting Jon’s good touches will be vital for us to have any success. They will mix up their defenses some, but it should be a fun, fast-paced game. They want to play fast and we want to play fast, so I think the ball will move up and down the floor pretty quickly.”

On Florida and Syracuse:

“I’ve seen them a little bit on TV so far. I haven’t studied them like I will, but they both look very good. Florida can really shoot, and they’re long and they really get the ball up and down. Syracuse is the same way. They’ve been playing quite a bit of man so far, and everybody’s told me that they might play some 2-3 zone, too. I say that jokingly because we all know they will do that. How we attack their length will be a huge factor if we have an opportunity to play them. Both teams are very good and definitely should compete and have a chance to win their respective leagues, which is saying quite a bit coming from both of those leagues (SEC, Big East).”

On why Florida is the only team in the CBE championship rounds to be shooting over 30 percent from three-point range thus far this season:

“I think stats right now don’t mean much because you can’t really judge much on two games. Florida does have good shooters though. The biggest reason why teams shoot well from beyond the arc is because those teams have good shooters. We know Syracuse has guys that can shoot, and we know Washington has guys that can shoot, and personally, I think when people are looking it up they’re saying `We know Kansas has guys that can shoot.’ So that’s like saying a pitcher’s ERA is 7.2 because he has two bad innings in his first two outings. After 10 games, it will mean a little bit more. I think all four teams are capable of making the three.”

On Sherron Collins enjoying the game this year:

“I think he just feels better about himself, in large part because his body doesn’t hurt. He’s gone through a lot of stuff since he’s been here. But he does look good out there to me. His mindset is good, and he knows he has a great responsibility and he’s liking it. I’m very pleased with him because he’s doing all the things you would expect the leader of a team to do. When you do those things, you feel better about yourself.”