Dec. 3, 2005

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Western Illinois Postgame Quotes
Kansas 86, Western Illinois, 57
Dec. 3, 2005

Head Coach Bill Self
On the game:

“I thought we played pretty well. I was really disappointed on how the starters started the second half. We got beat last time at home and guys should come out with energy and for the most part we did a pretty good job. Hawkins played good in the first half, we didn’t shoot the ball well early, but carelessness is what lets teams hang around. We have to correct a lot of things, but there were good things that happened out there tonight.”

On increased intensity:
“I think I saw it in some guys. It is bothersome to me with the young guys because I think they have a lot more in them than they are giving us. I’m not talking about a points and rebounds standpoint, I’m talking about from a mindset standpoint. Until they learn and get it, lessons will be taught. I personally think we have already learned enough lessons, That’s the one thing that would really help our team the fastest is with the young guys learning what it means to be a player. There are some good things, but it is just a work in progress.”

On the freshmen:
“I want them to play, Julian (Wright) needs to get some confidence. Brandon (Rush) played 25 minutes tonight and he wasn’t aggressive like he needs to be. He tries to do what I want him to do, but still he needs to look to score and do some different things. Micah (Downs) did some good things we just need him to make some shots. Mario (Chalmers) had a good stat line except for shooting the ball.”

On the 25 team assists:
“That was good because last game we only had nine assists. The guys did a good job. We got out and ran well. Mario (Chalmers) had some great passes in transition to Julian (Wright) on the break. The guy that sparked us more than anyone was Stephen Vinson. I think Stephen came in and gave us some great minutes.”

On C.J. Giles:
“He played well in only 19 minutes. We got to get him the ball and he needs to draw contact because he is such a good free throw shooter. C.J. did fine, I think he lost a little conditioning when he missed five days of practice, but I think he is back to 100 percent health wise. We just need to get him back into running shape.”

On Christian Moody:
“Christian played well. He also played well against Nevada. He is a solid guy for us. I wish he was a little more aggressive offensively, and tonight he was. He had 12 points and did some nice things. He is a very smart defender and I am pleased with him. He was good tonight.”

Senior guard Stephen Vinson
On providing a spark off the bench:
“He [Coach Self] didn’t really say anything in particular. He was looking for a spark so we took that as motivation going in. We had a pretty good idea of why we were being sent in. We were doing the same thing we had been doing, we were just trying to execute a little better.”

On improving his game:
“I think I came into college an average defender, but now, I think my strength is my defense. That may be due to playing on the Red team in practice and playing defense for three and a half hours. Doing that for three and a half years, if I haven’t gotten a little better defensively, then I haven’t been doing anything. My freshman year guarding Kirk [Hinrich] was an experience. Aaron [Miles] and Keith [Langford] are great offensive players as well. They definitely helped me out a lot.”

Freshman forward Micah Downs
On providing a spark off the bench:
“Coach told us to come out and play hard. Some of guys were struggling a little bit so we wanted to see if we could get some fresh legs out there.”

On contributing in other facets of the game:
“I was a little off tonight. Coach got on to me a little bit about rebounding in the first half. In the second half, I tried to come out and defend a little better and get some rebounds.”

Freshman forward Julian Wright
On his confidence following the Nevada game:

“I came out and tried to be active and run the floor. Coach wants us to run the floor because of our athleticism. When we run the floor, good things happen. In the offensive set, I am still trying to do exactly what coach wants me to do. He wants me to let the game just come to me and on the first or second touch get a basket.”

On getting into the offensive flow of the game:
“I am not the type of guy that catches the ball and does something right away. I like to analyze and make a pass or drive and kick it out to a shooter.”

Western Illinois Quotes

Head Coach Derek Thomas

On the game:
“I enjoyed the atmosphere. I wish (Kansas) luck. I thought our guys played hard. We did a great job on the boards. Some things that we need to continue to work on are not turning the ball over and taking better shots. Other than that, I thought we did pretty good.”

On Kansas’ play:
“They ran through the passing lanes a couple of times, and did a good job with that. I thought our guys did a good job of adjusting to that. Other than that, I thought just dealing with the elements out there — not being able to do the same things Kansas was able to do on the other end — I thought that hurt us. We have a young team, and we have to learn how to handle those things. Those are things that happen on the road. That is why teams have home-court advantage.

On Kansas’ freshmen:
“I love Brandon Rush. I think he is an outstanding ball player. The others are going to come along. They need some of their older guys to help them get better, but hopefully they get a lot better and do well down the road.”

On coaching against Kansas:
“It’s an honor to be able to coach here. It’s got tradition. Growing up as a little kid, you always dream of being able to play or coach here. Being able to play here was fun. I wish we would have done a little better, and that Kansas would have been a little more hospitable. But they have things that they need to get done too, and I understand that.”

Sophomore guard David Jackson

On the game:
“We were down and things weren’t going our way. In the first half I tried to do anything I could to keep us in the game. It was working in the first half, but second half we didn’t come out aggressive enough. We had a good chance of beating them. We got within nine points. We just needed to chip away, play by play.”

On the opening play:
“It’s a good offensive play by Kansas. They read our defense, but we should have took it right to them.”

On playing Kansas:
“We can’t drop our heads when we play teams like Kansas. We have to keep our heads up and keep on pushing. We have to take it game by game.”

On playing on the road:
“We are going to have to play together as a team when we play on the road. This game we stayed together for the most part, but there were a couple of times when we started pointing fingers. We just have to stay together for all 40 minutes. If we do that then we can win on the road. We can beat teams when it comes to conference games.”