Kansas meets Big 12 media in K.C.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – More than 200 media spent Tuesday morning inside Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, for the annual Big 12 Media Day with coaches and student-athletes to preview the upcoming men’s basketball season.
Kansas was represented by head coach Bill Self along with returning starters Frank Mason III, Devonte’ Graham and Landen Lucas. Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year Josh Jackson was also among the KU contingent.
Kansas begins exhibition play against Washburn on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse.
Below are transcribed quotes from when Self addressed the writers on the dais.
Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball Media Day
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Bill Self
Kansas Jayhawks
THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Coach Bill Self from Kansas. Coach, welcome, and your thoughts about the upcoming season?

BILL SELF: Well, I’m excited as we are every year for what’s getting ready to transpire. It’s an exciting time of year, and everybody’s so optimistic and everybody’s undefeated, certainly we are as well. I really do like our guys. I like the players that obviously returned from last year off a pretty good team. We have some newcomers that I think have a chance to impact our program in a very positive way.

I feel excited and still anxious and a little nervous going into the season because we don’t know how things are going to progress and how pieces are going to fit. But certainly very optimistic.

Q. I’m pretty sure you have this down pretty good, but how do you temper the expectations that fans have of your team and your players, especially the freshmen that come in with all kinds of credentials?
BILL SELF: I don’t know that we spend a lot of time trying to temper the expectations. I think we talk about don’t listen to what outside people say because they have no knowledge of what’s really going on inside our locker room or on the practice court. But if anything, I think we use the expectations as motivation to perform or to prepare to perform at a very detailed and rapid rate.

I do think with the expectations comes pressure. Even though we don’t talk about that, I think that’s something that naturally comes on the players. With that pressure, I think there is a desire to live up to what other people think of you and say of you, even though they know our only goal should be to play as close to our ceiling as they possibly can. If we’re able to do that, you can live with whatever happens.

I do think this time of year it’s easy to get caught up in it. But I think our guys have been around enough and our newcomers have talked to the older guys and they know all this hype and all this talk really doesn’t mean anything.

Q. What do you think of the rule changes this year? The officials said some of the coaches had some issues with specifically the rules that are going to effect the post play.
BILL SELF: Well, I think that Huggins has the most issues because they’re telling them they can’t foul every possession like they always do. (That was a) Bad attempt at humor (laughing). But there’s not really rule changes. There’s rule interpretations, as they said. I do think it’s going to be unique, because based on what we were just told as coaches is that it’s going to be difficult to play the game and have your players be aggressive playing the game based on the way it’s supposedly going to be called.

Now, will it be good for our game over time? I would say it probably will be. But initially there’s going to be some heartache, and probably more so on big guys than anyone else.

Q. To continue with the rules, Tom Izzo about a week ago said pretty forcefully that he would rather see college basketball move toward the NBA rules with the wider lane, the deeper three-point line. Would you like to see some of that changed, too, so that there’s a little more continuity between the two games?
BILL SELF: I would think our game is unique, and I think it’s okay to be unique. I think there are some things that we should look at and are going to look at of ways we can better our game. I think there needs to be a combination of international play in the NBA and college rules. I don’t think you definitely go to NBA rules. I don’t feel that way because it’s a different game, a different caliber of athlete.

When you look at the game as a whole, I think international rules have some of the best (rules). After coaching in the World University Games last year, I actually thought that was a better game to coach and play than the collegiate game. In large part because of the clock and the offensive rebounding and how things are done there.

I think there’s going to be ample talk and studies done to see what we need to tweak to make our game better. I think there’s a lot of nervousness right now. As you guys remember a couple years back, all the touch fouls out front. We actually adjusted to that and got better at that. I think the incidental contact plays that could be called as fouls can totally, totally not only disrupt rhythm, but totally cost some good teams games or put teams playing defensively on defense a lot. I think that needs to be watched and studied.

I don’t know about total rule change. I do think we should extend the line. I think the wider lane is fine. But I think what we really need to look at is if we want to have more pace is when we get an offensive rebound or when there is a dead ball situation off a foul in the fourth quarter or whatnot, we don’t have to reset to 30. I wish we’d reset to 20 or 18 or whatever it is, that way we can get back into action.

Q. Brad Underwood has taken over at your alma mater. I’m curious how far back you go with Brad and to what degree you see him as an extension of the old Big Eight days.
BILL SELF: Well, he’s an old Big Eight guy. There is no doubt about that. I showed Brad around on his recruiting visit to Oklahoma State. I was a freshman and he was a senior in high school. Thank God for Oklahoma State, Brad is a much better coach than he was a player. He was actually a guy I hoped that we could sign because I didn’t think that he would take away many minutes. He has done so well. What he did at Stephen F., I mean, that’s remarkable what he did and how players got better.

From what I understand, and I don’t need anybody telling me this, because you knew it would happen, he’s done an unbelievable job connecting with and reconnecting the OSU community and family. And as you guys follow basketball in our league, Oklahoma State, the tradition and history that exists there is relevant to the college basketball game on the national scene as well. I think he’ll do a very nice job in making all Cowboy fans and alums proud.

Q. You have 13 road games this season, because I would imagine that you consider the Sprint Center a home away from home. Think about your schedule and how big an advantage that you have over the rest of the teams here to be able to play this many games in the Sprint Center, including the Big 12 Tournament?
BILL SELF: Well, I think if you’re Oklahoma State or OU, you get a chance to play a game. Was it the Ford Center now still in Oklahoma City? The Ford Center. And if you’re in Ames you get a chance to play in Des Moines or whatnot. I do think the fact that we play the CBE here, the advantage is for us that CBE is played here this year, which I think will be a good tournament and a nice field. That gives us two games going into the Big 12 Tournament. I don’t know that that’s an advantage. I really don’t see that being a huge advantage at all, something that we do in early December or late November affects what happens in early March. But certainly our guys do enjoy coming here to play. This is an unbelievable venue, and of course nobody does a conference tournament better than the Big 12 does.

So I think you could ask all the players and all the coaches, I think they probably would love the opportunity to play more games here. And we’re fortunate because we’re close we get a chance to play an extra one every year.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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