Men's Basketball Weekly Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 30, 2005


Weekly Men’s Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Bill Self

On the team:
“Obviously we have a long way to go. I think one thing that was encouraging was that we did fight hard. We never quit or folded up. I thought our first-shot defense was very good. We could have rebounded the ball better. We’re not exactly where we thought we would be at this stage. We’re going to have to adjust some things and maybe do some things different to get our big guys more touches. These are correctable things. As a group, I think this is going to be a really good team. I don’t think we can get too excited on a win or too down on ourselves after a loss. It’s natural to go through ups and downs.”

On things he learned about the team in Hawaii:
“I thought that we were a better penetrating and driving team than we were a shoot-off-the-catch-type of team. I thought our big guys would be better from a passing standpoint. We’ve known for a while that we weren’t going to have Darnell, so we tried to play in a way that wasn’t going to force us to play quite as big. To be honest, we probably didn’t play through our big guys enough. Sasha (Kaun) and C.J. (Giles) have both improved a tremendous amount. I also thought the way we spread the ball and drive it would get us to the free throw line a lot more. We have to get to the line to give us a chance.”

On perimeter shooting:
“I think they’re all good shooters. (Jeff) Hawkins shot the ball very well up until a certain point. He’s going to make some shots. He’s a better shooter than what he showed in Hawaii. I think Russell (Robinson) is also a better shooter than what he’s shown. Same thing for Mario (Chalmers). You take the one game against Arkansas away, and Mario hasn’t shot the ball consistently yet. The one guy who has made shots for us is Brandon (Rush). He shot the ball very well. All four of those guys can shoot it. We also have to get Micah (Downs) involved. He hasn’t shot the ball too well yet, but I think he’s going to be a good college shooter.”

On the trip to Hawaii:
“I think it was a good trip. I don’t think the timing was the absolute best, but it was still good for us. It threw us in the fire. We should have won the Arkansas game. We missed free throws and had to get some stops that we didn’t get. Arkansas is an NCAA tournament-type team. We played at a pretty good level except for the start and very finish of the Arizona game.”

If this team is fun to coach:
“Yes, they are. They’re frustrating sometimes. I think that my intensity level is equaled by their’s. A lot of that has to do with their youth. I’ve said all along that this is going to be a great team to coach. We’re going to continue to get better and better.”

On Nevada forward Nick Fazekas:
“We did a pretty good job with Nick last year, but a pitiful job on him two years ago. I watched Nick play over the summer with USA Basketball. He’s really a good player. He’s a face-up guy with a low post game. We’re going to have to be very sound defensively against him or he’ll make our young guys not look very good. He has a knack for basketball. You forget that he’s 6-11. He’s definitely a long guy. There’s a certain way we’re going to have to defend him to slow him down and not give him good looks.”

On Nevada:
“I think they’re every bit as good as last year and maybe better because of Marcelus Kemp. They lost some guys, but Kemp, who was hurt last year, is really good. He’s their leading scorer with 24 points a game and hasn’t even started yet. This team is also battle tested. They certainly have a legitimate ranking right now. I don’t know if they’ll be the best team we’ve played to date, but they certainly can play with anyone that we’ve played so far. This is going to be a very tough game for us.”
On this stretch of games:
“I think this is a key stretch for us. We have a chance to play some very good teams coming up. We’re going to find out a lot more about our team, more so than we did in Hawaii. Here, we’ll have a chance to tweak things whereas in Hawaii there was no chance to make adjustments.”

What the team needs to find out about itself:
“In-game execution, getting stops when we need to get stops and the value of certain possessions are all things we need to work on. Our energy level at home has been better than it has been away from home. It’s like that with every team. If we can get a consistent level of energy defensively, that will really help us.”

On Russell Robinson:
“I think Russell would be the first to tell you that the way we play has really been to his strengths. He probably hasn’t put up numbers or played like he thinks he can play. I think Russell is doing fine.”

On the the team’s balance:
“We have more guys that can feed the post this year. We might not have one guy average seven assists, but we could have three guys that average four. That makes you more balanced. Last year our team didn’t have near as much balance.”

On the team’s response to the Hawaii trip:
“I think we’ve had some good days since we’ve been back. We’ve practiced pretty hard. I think our guys have responded well. I’m pleased with Hawkins. He hasn’t shot the ball like he is capable, but he is still doing the things we know he can do. I think Christian (Moody) will start to become more assertive than he has been. We didn’t play Christian as much over there, and hopefully that bothered him a little bit.”

On matching up against Nevada guard Marcelus Kemp:
“Brandon’s done a good job against the other teams’ main guys, like (Arkansas guard) Ronnie Brewer and (Arizona guard) Hassan Adams. Kemp would be a similar matchup for him. Brandon has made great progress. He’s much better defensively than we thought he would be.”

On Julian Wright:
“He’s starting to find his niche. Julian has improved as much, if not more, than anyone else on our team since the start of the season.”