Postgame Notes

Dec. 29, 2010

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Postgame Quotes

Kansas 82, UT-Arlington 57

Dec. 29, 2010 – Lawrence, Kan.

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self

On the game overall:

“They did a great job offensively using the clock and we weren’t able to guard under 10 (seconds on the shot clock). That’s not a sign of a good defensive team being able to finish possessions. They played well the first half. Travis (Releford) gave us a great spark the second half and played really well. We made some shots the second half even though we didn’t shoot the ball well from the perimeter. Elijah (Johnson) made some shots. That was good. We didn’t play very well. The last possession summed up our team. We just let them shoot an uncontested basket and score points on us because the game is over in our mind. That’s not the right mindset. We’ve been talking about this, but it’s going to hurt us in a big, big way soon as competition gets stiffer. Fortunately tonight we got a win and I’m happy about that, but I don’t think we got any better.”

On the play of Thomas Robinson:

“Thomas at halftime had five offensive rebounds and the rest of our team had two. That just tells you where the twins (Marcus and Markieff Morris) are because they are not rebounding the ball like they are capable of rebounding. Thomas did a really nice job on the glass. In the second half our other players started rebounding the basketball. We did a good job on the glass overall; we were plus 16. We took care of the basketball the second half too. We only had three turnovers going into the last three minutes which was good. We did some good things. They played a funky matchup—a switch and man deal. All we had to do was be patient to get the ball inside every possession, but instead we clip off 24 threes instead. We’ll get better from it. I really thought we’d play well based on our practice sessions, but we didn’t play very well tonight.”

On getting better over winter break:

“All teams should get better now, but the thing is, you don’t get better unless everybody is in one accord and one mindset about what is important. We don’t get that. Josh (Selby) didn’t shoot the ball at all tonight, which is fine, but still the majority of the time the ball is not in his hands so you have to play other parts. Whether we make shots or not affects how we play. Whether another player elbows us affects how we play. Fans can wonder, ‘Why would you take guys out when they have two fouls in the first half?’ You have to be able to trust your players to play smart. There are so many things that are disappointing to me with our team because our team could be really good, but we don’t have the mindset of playing a style that gives us the best chance to win against good competition. That has to change and that has to change fast.”

On the finding the right mix of players:

“You look at it right now, and we’ll talk about this as a staff, who are our best players? Do we really know who our best players are? Elijah Johnson without question tonight was one of our five best players. Thomas Robinson is playing better than any big guy right now. We don’t even know who our best players are. That’s frustrating because you need to have some rhythm and have roles to find and all that stuff. It’s great to have different guys every night, but when you don’t make shots, you should still be one of our best players regardless if the shot goes in or not if you are (one of our best players).”

“It’s hard for me to pick out. You can put any of nine guys out there right now and it doesn’t make any difference. That’s one thing that is frustrating. We need to have some guys separate themselves because you can’t go in to a game not knowing what you want to do as far as who is going to play the most minutes. It’s great to have depth, but you want certain guys to know how many minutes they are going to get and this is how we play and that they are going to be a guy’s sub. You get a rotation going. Of course I started four new guys tonight, but to be honest, some of those guys are better than our starters that have been starting and were certainly more productive. Practice hasn’t been interesting, but it’s about to get a lot more interesting.”

Kansas sophomore forward Thomas Robinson

On how his start affected the outcome:

“We have a good team so if Marcus (Morris) comes off the bench, or if I come off the bench, I feel like it is going to be the same result. I just keep doing what coach asks of me for now, and let this play out.”

On his energy:

“That is something I wanted to work on coming into the season. It doesn’t matter who your opponent is, you have to go hard every time.”

On UT-Arlington hanging around:

“We played bad tonight. I take my hat off to them, they are a good team, but we didn’t hit shots, we didn’t execute our offense, multiple times we turned the ball over, so we definitely have to get better, but it was a good game.”

On getting his career high:

“It’s cool, but it’s just another step in the season, so I am not thinking too much of it, just worrying about the next game.”

On the spark he brings to the team:

“You need a guy who can come in and just help the team out that is my role so I just have to keep it up.”

Kansas junior forward Markieff Morris

On Thomas Robinson’s play:

“It means a lot for him to come off the bench. We couldn’t get the shots we wanted, and we weren’t hitting the shots that we were getting, and for him to bring a lot of energy, I think he had six offensive rebounds, which is big for us.”

On their defensive effort:

“We thought they would be a real wild team, and they held the ball a lot and played one-on-one behind it. We thought that they would take a lot of wild shots, but they played under control. We didn’t give them a lot of shots they wanted, but they took a lot (of shots) and ran the ball down the court.”

Kansas sophomore guard Elijah Johnson

On your first start of the season:

“I felt like I handled it well. I just kept the tempo like coach wanted. It feels good. I can’t lie and say that it doesn’t feel good to start, but it’s just about what’s most important (for the team). If he needs me to be the eighth man or if he needs me to start point guard, (I’ll do that).”

On Kansas’s defense:

“I feel like we need to tighten it up a little bit. It’s a little sloppy, and I don’t feel that coach (Self) is satisfied with the defensive end. We just need to tighten it up a little bit. Offense comes after defense. I feel like if you play good defense, then you don’t think about offense, it just comes.”

On the message at halftime:

“Coach just wanted us to go out and play. He knows that we’re a little sluggish coming off the Christmas break. He just said that it’s over. That Christmas break time was over, and now it’s time to go out and play. So he just wanted us to go out and play as hard as we could.”

UT-Arlington Head Coach Scott Cross

Opening Statement:

“First of all, this was an unbelievable experience; (Allen Fieldhouse) is definitely the best environment I’ve ever played in. I see why everybody gets so excited about basketball here; just in the introductions, our players couldn’t even hear me – it is pretty unbelievable. I thought our guys played about as well as we could have played in the first half. We really stuck to the game plan – we ran the clock down, we got good looks off of our flat ball screens, I was really proud of them. In the second half, we had a couple of turnovers that led to easy buckets, and our intensity dropped a little bit. I’ve said it all along, I think Kansas is one of the top two teams in the country; we lost by 25 points, but I was proud of our guys. We have a young team, and I think we just need to keep getting better.”

On if they were looking for a quick turnaround in their second game against a Big 12 opponent:

“No disrespect to Texas Tech, but Kansas is unbelievable. I admire the way they play basketball. We talked at length with our guys before this game, and I should have done the same against Texas Tech about running the shot clock – our shot selection against Texas Tech was terrible and it led to a lot of fast break points. For the most part, I thought we did a very good job with our transition defense – that, and shot selection are two areas where we greatly improved upon.”

On if they like to play a faster tempo:

“We do, I like to score. Again, in a game like this, where a team has superior talent, size and athleticism, it plays to their advantage. That is why Kansas was playing full court and trying to speed the game up – we wanted to slow the game down. If there is a game where we have superior talent, maybe we will slow the pace down a little more. Again, I think that is a good blueprint on how to succeed in our conference.”