Kansas Head Coach Bill Self and Players Preview Cal Game

Dec. 21, 2009


Head Coach Bill Self

On Cole Aldrich’s health:

“He is still under the weather. I knew he didn’t feel great, but after really watching him and studying him, I realize he really doesn’t feel very good. He is having a hard time breathing, but he is okay. He just has a bug right now, which a lot of people get. We have done all the tests, and I just think he has a little bronchitis thing.”

On Cal:

“They obviously shoot the three very well. They have not shot it as well as they did last year, as last year they led the country in three-point field goal percentage and I think [Theo] Robertson led the country individually in three-point percentage. [Jermone] Randle, [Patrick] Christopher and [Jorge] Gutierrez can all really shoot the basketball. With Robertson back, they are able to play him as a big or as a little. The biggest thing for me to be concerned with is they score fast. They really push it and try to get a shot in early offense or in transition. They really have great confidence pulling up from anywhere. You will see tomorrow night, they will take some quick, deep threes and we have to be able to defend that because those are really good shots for those guys.”

On Cal’s 7’2″ center Max Zhang:

“He is going to play. They will have some other guys as well. Cal has gotten deeper. Now, they haven’t played in 14 days, so we don’t know exactly how they are going to switch things up, but they will play their full compliment of guys, and certainly they expect him to be a factor.”

On bouncing back after the poor play against Michigan:

“The thing is, there have been a lot of teams that I would take a double-figure win and go to the house with and not be upset. Our guys can not play to the score. They have to learn to have a killer instinct. Our guys have to play to that possession, as opposed to playing where the possessions don’t count much. That is what good teams do. We are not mature enough to do that. I think the reason we played poorly in the second half was primarily because of our own immaturity. We had a big lead and didn’t feel challenged going into the half, so there was no energy coming out of halftime. Whereas on a good team, for instance, if you turn it over, you become the best defender on the other end because you can not compound that turnover. We just did not have that. We did do some good things defensively after watching the tape. But after showing the guys the tape, they were all in 100 percent agreement that we have to better.”

On the game versus Cal evoking more energy from the fans and players:

“The reason the crowd was not as lively against Michigan was because I think we did a really good job of neutralizing our own crowd. Certainly, we expect a great crowd tomorrow night. People should be in a festive mood because it is right before Christmas. This is not coach speak: Cal is good. They could easily win the Pac-10 and they are the best team we have played so far. They could come in here and have success if we are not ready to play, and even if we do play well, this is a game where possessions are going to be magnified in late-game situations.”

On the death and legacy of Oral Roberts:

“It is an unbelievable story how a guy can go from his beginnings of living in a tent to build a university. He will go down as one of the most innovative and maybe as good of a fundraiser as there has been, ever. An individual who comes from very little means doesn’t just go out and build a billion-dollar university overnight. He was the first televangelist. He is the grandfather of televangelists. He is very well respected. He is certainly controversial, but I absolutely loved being around him. He had the biggest presence of anyone I have ever met, with the exception of Bill Clinton. He would just walk into a room and all eyes would automatically go to him. He had an unbelievable way with people and was certainly good to me and Barry [Hinson] as well. So, it is a sad day, but it is also a great day to celebrate a life that has given so much to so many.”

“Yes, I understand playing time is going to be hard to come by. We have a lot of good players so whoever is playing well at the time is going to get those minutes. We are deep and I think that gives us the opportunity to play as hard as we can whenever we’re out there because we have a lot of guys to throw at opponents. Everyone is going to be giving a 100 percent while they are out there.”

Junior Guard Tyrel Reed

On if he’s satisfied with the amount of playing time is getting:

“Yes, I understand playing time is going to be hard to come by. We have a lot of good players so whoever is playing well at the time is going to get those minutes. We are deep and I think that gives us the opportunity to play as hard as we can whenever we’re out there because we have a lot of guys to throw at opponents. Everyone is going to be giving a 100 percent while they are out there.”

On if California is the best team KU has faced so far:

“It is definitely the best team we have faced. They have a lot of guys that can really shoot the three. They led the nation last year in three-point percentage. It is going to be a challenge for us.”

On if the team was disappointed about its performance versus Michigan on Saturday:

“Yes, coach was disappointed, we were disappointed. We were up 21 points and we didn’t put the foot on the throat to really win the game. We didn’t really have an attack mindset. We were happy reversing the ball and not really looking to score. We had a great practice yesterday and today so everyone is geared up and ready to go (for the game versus California).”

On how he felt having Brady Morningstar back in the lineup:

“It was great to see Brady back out there. He has been through a lot, but he has had a great attitude through it all. He is a great defender, great ball-mover and great player for us so it was good to see him out there.”

On when the team will finally have its breakout performance:

“I think it’s a work in progress. We have a lot of guys and we are still trying to figure some things out with the rotation with Brady (Morningstar) and Jeff (Withey) coming back. We have a lot of time to put in our sets over the break and really work on basketball. Once that comes around, I think we’re going to get better fast.”

Kansas senior guard Sherron Collins

On facing Cal guard Jerome Randle:

“(We) faced each other in high school (in the Chicago area). We (also) played on the same AAU team a little bit. So, I’m really familiar with him; I beat him in high school, so I’m one up on him, so I have bragging rights. There’s a little jaw-jacking going on, but it’s good jaw-jacking, nothing bad. It’ll be fun.”

On Cal’s shooting:

“They’re a really good shooting team. They were the top three-point shooting team in the country last year and they have the best three-point shooter in the country (Theo Robertson) back from last year. So it’s going to be tough. They match up kind of small at times, so it’s going to be tough having a forward guarding a three. But we’ll be all right.”

On the performance against Michigan and if that helped prepare the team:

“I thought (we made it) a good thing, especially watching the film. The film session wasn’t too nice, but we all needed it. I think we’ve corrected some things since then, and we’ve just taken a different approach on things.”

On if he expects to face a zone defense against Cal:

“I think they’ll play a little bit of zone. After watching us play against Michigan, who wouldn’t play a zone against us? But I think we’ve been good (against a zone) in past years. We exploit most zones, so we just have to do what we have to do, (and that’s) move the ball, get open shots and get the big man touches in the lane.”

On if the team was too passive against the Michigan zone Saturday:

“I don’t think we were too passive, I just don’t think we were aggressive enough. We didn’t attack the zone as much as we normally do. We didn’t move the ball as much as we needed to. I didn’t think we got the ball set, we just played wing-to-wing.”