KU Men's Hoops Previews Long Beach State

Dec. 5, 2011

On Monday afternoon Kansas players, along with head coach Bill Self, spoke with members of the media in Allen Fieldhouse about the Jayhawks’ upcoming opponent, Long Beach State. Self fielded questions about how his team will need to play to defeat the 49ers, as well as how he thinks his team stack up in the rebounding department.

Below are videos and a transcript of Coach Self’s and select players’ interviews.

  • Coach Self Interview
  • T. Taylor Interview
  • J. Withey Interview

Bill Self Press Conference
December 5, 2011
Lawrence, Kan.

Kansas head coach Bill Self
On what he has seen from Long Beach State that has impressed him:
“The same thing that Pittsburgh has seen and the same thing that Louisville saw. They are so fast. Casper Ware is as good with the ball as any guard in the country, he can make plays. They’re just a good team, a little undersized, but they are extremely fast and they certainly create a lot of havoc defensively.”

On the style of basketball Long Beach State plays:
“Long Beach will play fast and try to score every time in transition. They really are in attack mode. Really, the only other team that we have played like that so far this year is Kentucky who will try and run off of everything and Long Beach State does that. They have a good team; they are definitely an NCAA tournament-type team, I expect them to win their league. They are not backing away from playing anybody. They have already played at Pittsburgh, at Louisville, at Kansas is next and at North Carolina is after that.”

On if he worries about his team looking past this game to Saturday’s Ohio State game:
“I don’t think so; if we look ahead to Saturday then we’ll go into Saturday with three losses. This team will probably be the second-best team we play at home in the non-conference (season) without question. They are certainly capable of giving us a lot of problems. It was Long Beach State 18 years ago that came in here and held Kansas to 49 points and that Kansas team could really score. They’ll come in here ready to play.”

On the rebounding ability of his team:
“This team has rebounded quite well considering how I thought we would probably be at this stage. I do think that Jeff (Withey) could rebound the ball better, there are too many games where he is getting two or three (boards) and he should be up in the six or seven range every night. Jeff, for the most part, has done a pretty good job. Whenever we really needed rebounds, in the biggest games we’ve played, Jeff has been a big-time factor; against Duke, Kentucky and against UCLA. He just needs to be more consistent.”

On Elijah Johnson’s drop in shooting percentage:
“The thing about it is, shooting comes and goes. Sometimes that just happens. It looks good and he says it feels good and he needs to keep shooting. I am not as much worried about his shot, I’m worried about his shot affecting his other play and losing aggressiveness in other areas. In practice he has been on fire. I think that he can become a more complete player than how he has been playing so far.”

Kansas senior guard Tyshawn Taylor
On looking past Long Beach State to Ohio State on Saturday:
“We are not looking past Long Beach State because we know they are a good team. We worked on our defense yesterday and are going to work on our offense today and be prepared for them because they are a good team who could come in here and beat us if we are not ready. We are trying to get better every day. It is still early but we have some big games and when conference comes it is going to be just as tough so we have to be ready.”

On Coach Self talking to the team:
“It was a regular talk, nothing bad but he just wanted to clear things us up and let us know how he was feeling about us as a team. He was asking questions and wanted to know how felt about some different things, so I think it was a good talk.”

On Long Beach State:
“They are an explosive offensive team who likes to get out on the break and they score most of their points basically off of their defense. The one-three-one trap that they have is real effective so we have to definitely take care of the ball against them.”

On his and the team’s performance versus South Florida:
“I think it was about picking my spots because I feel like a lot of the shots that took were not forced and were pretty good shots. I was looking for my shots more once I started making some. When we came in at halftime, I knew I had not played well but I wasn’t down because I did not think there was anything that we were doing really bad. I know we all missed a lot of shots in the first half and our defense wasn’t our best but I did not think it was horrible, so when we came out in the second half, I just told they guys that we have to continue doing what we’re doing and our shots will fall.”

Junior center Jeff Withey
On focusing on Long Beach State without looking ahead to Ohio State:
“It’s actually pretty simple. It’s early in the week so we can just focus on Long Beach. I know today is going to be a good day; we’re going to do a scouting report on Long Beach. It will be a good test for us to see if we are ready for Ohio State. We have to come out with a lot of energy and work on a lot of things. It’s good to have a game right before Ohio State because that will be a very tough game. Long Beach is a good team, too, because they already beat Pitt. It will be a good game.”

On Long Beach beating Pitt:
“We know they are capable of winning. We have to look at it as another good game and we’ll be prepared for it.”

On what the team needs to do to be prepared for the next couple games:
“I think we’ll be ready. Coach (Self) talked to us for a long time yesterday (Sunday). We know what we have to do, and now we just have to prove it out on the court. I think we’ll come ready to play tomorrow. Coach (Self) really motivated us with all the things he talked about. He challenged us and today’s practice has to be a good one.”

On what Coach Self’s message was:
“We aren’t playing up to the expectations that we should be. We can be a really good team and it’s all up to us to play harder.”

On if the talk was longer than most:
“I would say so. It was a good motivating talk; one that he kind of called us out. We need to be ready for these next couple games. If we can beat Long Beach and then Ohio State that can really turn around our season. It can definitely help us out a lot.”