Men's Basketball Coach Bill Self Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 30, 2006


Kansas Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Bill Self

On his new contract:
“This is something that Lew Perkins (Kansas Athletics Director) and I have been talking about for a while and I am excited about it. I am excited about it for a lot of reasons. We love it here at KU. We love the players in our program. We love the direction that we are going and love the people that we work with. There certainly has been a strong commitment made to the entire athletic program and basketball has benefited from that. We’re excited about being a part of it for at least five more years.”

On evaluating his performance thus far at Kansas:
“We haven’t won in the NCAA Tournament like we had hoped. If you told me before we got here that we would win the Big 12 two out of three years and finish second the other year, I would say that is pretty good. If you told me that we would lose in the first round twice, I would say that is very poor. I think our staff has done a great job recruiting and we have great kids in the program. I don’t need to give myself a grade. All is know is that we’re trying hard and we got all the pieces in place to move forward and the foundation has been set to be solid for a long time.”

On the importance of finishing up the contract negotiations:
“I think this is not that important because we knew this would be done sometime before the season started and we knew this was going to happen at the end of last year or the beginning of the summer. Certainly I think it’s good to know that your family can be secure and that you can start building toward the future. Also, this won’t allow things to be used against me in recruiting. If I had just one year left, that is definitely something people would talk about in recruiting. I think when you get to the last year of a contract, there will always be questions about whether a person will be returning. With this, those questions will never surface.”

On Saturday’s game against DePaul:
“I know quite a lot about them. Coach Wainwright beat us the last time he came here, bringing his Spiders from Richmond in, and that was a tough loss. His DePaul team is certainly a tournament-type team. Their record is probably not what they thought it would be, but his teams always get better as the season goes on. They will have their full compliment of players. They have reinstated Keith Butler, who is a big-time shot blocker that transferred from Temple. Wilson Chandler is a pro and Sammy Mejia is a guy I tried to recruit to Illinois. He is a very good player and the team is very athletic. It will be our first true road test. Playing in Las Vegas was certainly playing in a home away from home.”

On his anxiousness to see the team play on the road:
“I am anxious to see where we are. The Florida game was not a road game, yet it was still good to play away from home. This will be totally different. I’m sure we’ll have a nice contingent of fans there, but this will be far from a neutral site. “

On junior Sasha Kaun’s status:
“The doctors and trainers have told us that he will experience pain. That is going to happen. And when you play with pain, there is a tendency to get nervous about it. We may want to back off until the pain subsides so that we’re not going every day with the pounding. We were off yesterday and we’ll practice hard today. Hopefully, over the next week, given our schedule, we won’t kill him from a pounding standpoint. We hope by Christmas that he will be pain free.”

On why scheduling a game in Chicago is beneficial:
“In some respects yes, the game was set up for Julian Wright and Sherron Collins. But also, it is a good home and home and we get to play in an area that we like to recruit. We get to play against a Big East team. I think the state of Illinois has great basketball pride and Chicago does as well. And 20 years from now, Chicago will still be a hotbed for players. The guys up there love to play hard and tough. I love recruiting up there and obviously we’ve had some successes up there since I came here. I think it has served its purpose.”

On Wright and Collins’ excitement level heading into Saturday:
“I am sure they’ll be very excited, though I haven’t spoken with them since the Dartmouth game. I think they are very excited.”

On how he sees his team performing up to this point in the season:
“I don’t think any coach would say their team is where they should be. We’re doing ok, but we still have a lot of stuff to learn and do. We will be a lot better come Christmas than we are today. I think every coach would say that. We have a lot of talent and certainly we’ve made some strides over the past 10 days in a positive direction, but we still have some major steps to take.”

On the offense’s production:
“It hasn’t been great. Against Dartmouth, we played well offensively, but their possessions were so long so that’s what kept the scoring down. I don’t think we’ll be a team that averages 88 or 90 points a game. I see us being a team that focuses on making other teams play poorly. I don’t think we’re going to be the type of team that likes to outscore teams. If that is the case, we’re going to have some bad nights. Offensively, we have some talented players, but already teams have schemed ways to slow us down and we need to make sure we’re great defensively.”

On the team’s rebounding so far:
“I think we have improved in rebounding the last few weeks. The numbers might be a little skewed after the last game, but if we can be a plus six or seven team over the course of the season, then I would say this team has done well battling on the boards. Still, we haven’t blocked out like we are capable of doing, but we have got better at that the last 10 days. “

On if he’s surprised freshman Darrell Arthur is leading the team in scoring:
“I am surprised because I thought it would be Brandon Rush leading us in scoring. Darrell has had a very good first seven games of his career. He’s been efficient maximizing his minutes and he’s off to a great start. He does get a lot of easy shots, which helps him shoot over 50 percent. Big guys have a better chance to do that because so many of the shots are in tight. When you really look at Darrell and his college points, I’d say he’s shooting 50 percent or close to it, which is great for a young guy. Shooting percentages can be skewed because of breakaway lay-ups or dunks. But when it comes to backing someone up and scoring over them in the post, I’d say he’s close to 50 percent, which is very good.”

On how he would describe Rush’s season thus far:
“I would describe it as solid. He’s done everything that he did last year. He has been more aggressive offensively. He hasn’t shot as well and hasn’t made his free throws, but he has been solid. Now he needs to step out of that solid character and become a very aggressive, go-to type player. But he’s young and that type might not yet fit him, but it will.”

On shutting down DePaul’s Chandler and the team’s perimeter defense:
“Chandler is great. He’s a fabulous prospect who has shot the ball well from beyond the arc, while Mejia has not, though he is certainly capable of doing so. Those are two guys we have to get to behind the arc. Chandler is difficult because he’s going to play the four a lot. He is a legitimate four who can step away from the basket. Our perimeter defense has improved since the Oral Roberts game. If you look at that game, it was not our perimeter players that hurt us, but that their big man brought ours out to the perimeter. That is what hurt us, their big guys playing away from the basket.”

On DePaul’s extended preparation time for the game:
“I think it concerns them because they have had a long layoff and it concerns us because we don’t know what they are going to do. Whatever they were doing before, I’m sure Coach Wainwright has tweaked. We have all their games they’ve played thus far, but knowing Coach Wainwright, he’s probably put in a few things over the last few days that will be the first time we’ve seen them. “

On the USC game reuniting twin brothers, Rodrick and Lodrick Stewart:
“I don’t know if I have ever had brothers play against each other, let alone twins. That will be a big game for both of them. I don’t know if Rod will guard him, but if he scores against him, he’ll only get one chance. We will not specifically ask Rodrick to guard him, but I’m sure they’ll get matched up against each other sometimes.”

On Stewart’s play over the past few games:
“I think Rod played well against Florida and the other night, so hopefully he’s on an incline, moving forward, and shows that he needs to be out there some more.”

Selected KU Player Quotes

Sophomore Forward Julian Wright
On playing in front of family and friends:

“It’s going to be a good opportunity just to go back home and see some of my friends and family. My main objective is to go out there and play to win. It should hopefully be a good reception for Sherron and I [because we are] on the team.”

Freshman Guard Sherron Collins
On playing in Chicago:

“I’m probably going to be a little nervous. I’m excited too, at the same time. I’ll just be a little nervous before the game starts and before I get out there. I’m going to see my family. I’m going to see my mom. I haven’t seen her in a while. It’s going to be a good turnout. There’s going to be about 20 to 30 people there for me. I turned my phone off earlier in the week so I wouldn’t be bothered by all the ticket calls and everything.”