Head Coach Bill Self and Kansas Players Preview UCLA Game

Dec. 4, 2009


Kansas men’s basketball travels to Los Angeles to face UCLA in Pauley Pavilion on Sunday, Dec. 6. This will be the Jayhawks first real road game of the 2009-10 season. Head Coach Bill Self and a few Kansas players met with the media before practice on Friday to preview the game

Head Coach Bill Self

On the difference of UCLA’s team without [Drew] Gordon:

“It does not really change our approach. They are deep inside. They can play four or five big guys, and of course, they are one short now. He was an athletic, big guy. I mean, we tried to recruit him, so we think he is good, but they are also getting [Tyler] Honeycutt back from what I understand. So, they are losing a guy who can definitely put up some decent numbers, but they are also gaining a guy who has a lot of hype and is certainly a good player.”

On the test UCLA will pose for the young guys on the team:

“I think it is a big test. The Memphis game was a good test for us, but I think this is going to be a much more difficult game for us, going on the road. Also, when you’re UCLA or Kansas or Carolina or Duke and you have lost a couple games in a row and lost your last home game, you are going to come out fighting. We will get a great effort from them. They are certainly talented. They are young and beat up, but this will be a good test for our guys to see how we react in somebody else’s building.”

On the style of play of UCLA:

“There have been some rumors that he [UCLA head coach Ben Howland] might play some zone. Ben plays less zone than we do, which isn’t much. From a defensive standpoint, on the perimeter they may want to play some zone, but I don’t know exactly what that indicates. I have watched the tape of our Elite Eight game and we couldn’t score on them and they couldn’t score on us. The only way either team scored is if the other team helped them off turnovers. They will be very good defensively.”

Freshman Guard Xavier Henry

On playing in the team’s first true road game:

“We’re looking forward to seeing what the different atmosphere is like. We probably won’t have a lot of fans there, but it’ll be great once we get there and get going. We’re expecting a really good game, so it should be fun.”

On being on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Wednesday:

“I’ve been on Top 10 one or two more times before that, so it wasn’t too big of a deal. Some people told me I leapfrogged the guy or whatever.”

On making the transition to the Division I level:

“It’s really just Coach (Self) teaching me how to fit into the system, offense and defense. So everyday, I’m just working at getting better.”

Freshman Center Thomas Robinson

On facing UCLA:

“It’s our first real road game, so we’re going to find out a lot about ourselves as a team in a game like that. I’m anxious to play.”

On if playing Alcorn State helped him prepare for UCLA:
“I’d say any game helps you prepare (for the next one). You go into every game hoping to work on something and we want to get better every time on the floor.”

On what he thinks he can do to help the team improve:

“I would say just continue to do the things that Coach (Self) asks me to do.”

On if the team is having fun:

“This is a fun team to be on. We have a lot of young kids, but I think we’re mature in a way when it comes to basketball. But this is a really fun team to be on.”

RS-Freshman Center Jeff Withey

On returning to practice:

“I have been back at practice for three days now and my knee feels really good. I have been going through normal practice drills and just trying to get up and down. I can only practice for a certain amount of time everyday though, until I get cleared to go full-speed all the time.”

On anticipation of playing after a year and a half break from real competition:

“I am really, really excited to play. I cannot wait. It has been a really long time. I am actually kind of nervous, but I think I am ready. I know my time will come and I just have to be patient.”

On his role he will play this season:

“Right now, I see myself as an energy guy who comes in for Cole [Aldrich] or plays with Cole. I am defensive player, who can go in a block shots. I am going to try and do whatever I can to play as many minutes as I can, so I’ll do whatever it takes.”

Senior Guard Sherron Collins

On facing UCLA on its home court:
“I am eager to see it [Pauley Pavilion]. I have never been there, but I have played against them [UCLA] my freshman year. We didn’t win that one though, so hopefully we can change that this time. I’m not really thinking about that game, because it is a whole different team now with a lot of different players. We have watched them play a few times and they are still a good team, no matter what the record shows. We cannot overlook any opponent. We have to look at this one the way we do every other game.”

On playing another team with such a historic program:

“That is what you come to Kansas for; to play in big games and get tested and be in situations like this. I think this is a perfect challenge for us and I think we really need it.”

On preparing the team for a challenging road game after the rout of Alcorn State:

“I think it is Cole [Aldrich] and my job, as well as Coach’s job, to let the young guys know that this is not going to be like the Alcorn State game. It is not a pushover game and not one to just mark on the calendar as a win. We really need to go in there and play because it is going to be a tough game in a tough atmosphere. I think we have made them aware and we will tell them again on the way there. I am anxious to see what they can do, but I think they will be alright. As freshmen, the butterflies do come, but by the time the ball gets in their hands, they will be alright.”