Bill Self Post-Season Wrap Up

I'm sure everyone has seen bits and pieces of this out there today.  Here's the transcript. 

Bill Self:

On if he has had time to reflect on the season:

"Yeah, I've had time to reflect, but I haven't thought much about the season, as much as I have what happened the last two hours of it. I have said all along, that to me, if you coach at Kansas or at a place where you have high expectations and good players, it is hard to have a great season, unless you perform well in the tournament. This was the best regular season we have ever had - we just did not finish it off. I don't think you can put the word `great' on it, but I think you can put as close to great as it can possibly be. Our guys tried really hard, it was a very competitive group. We didn't make a big deal out of it here, but it was asked a lot - there is the extra pressure of going around being the number one ranked team all year long. You get to the point where you play to win, but winning is sometimes more of a relief than it is a joy, and I think those guys felt it a little bit. They handled it like men, and we just didn't perform well where we needed to in the last game. No excuses."

On if he has looked at the Northern Iowa game film:

"No I haven't. I might look at it over the summer or something, but there is no reason to watch it now. What are we going to do, come back and do something differently? I don't know if I have ever watched the last game of a season, well I have one game - but that affected me in a far different way. I do not know if I have ever watched our last loss, unless it was next year for scouting purposes. You can ask me anything, and I'll tell you, because I have replayed it in my head quite a bit."

On what jumps out at him from the last game:

"I would say that we played not to lose, as opposed to playing to win. I don't think we did that late it in the game, but we did to start the game. I have said all along, when you are the favorite, even though we were not an overwhelming favorite like some people believed, but we watched tape and knew (that we were not overwhelming favorites). Even when you are the favorites, sometimes, subconsciously, you hope to get through it, as opposed to making it. We talked a lot about that, and I didn't feel like we were as quick to the balls, especially early in the game, I did not think we played to our athletic ability as well as we should have. That was also due to the way (Northern Iowa) played us - they played us smart, and their game plan was perfect to play us. They didn't have to do much, because that is how they play every game, it was a perfect way to play Kansas - making us play over the top, no angles, make us exercise a lot of patience defensively. They made shots that they didn't make all year long, but still, in that particular game, it doesn't matter, they made shots."

On how the players are doing a few days after the game:

"I have probably talked to half of them. I told them - well we got back at about two o'clock Sunday morning, I told them to obviously take Sunday off. Beginning Monday I would start having meetings with them, even though they weren't serious meetings, I would have them come by the office, I have probably seen over half of them, but I haven't seen everybody yet. As a coach, you always want your kids to care so much, but if they care as much as you want, you always subject them to potential huge disappointment. That's what life is all about, caring so much about something, and coming up short sometimes - at least you are in the game. They should hurt, because they care, I think that is definitely a normal emotion for something where you put in a lot of time and effort with your fellow brother. You know that that will be the last time that group will ever, ever be together again. That is tough when the reality comes that that is it, most teams go through it yearly. That is one of the great things about sports, that there is so much emotion involved - and our guys certainly experienced that. I'm very disappointed, you could add up the disappointment of a lot of people, and it probably does not add up to the disappointment we felt in the locker room. The thing about it is, the one reason we were so disappointed is, and I said this after the game, is because these kids played to such a high level all season long, they spoiled us. They spoiled us to the point, that (we thought), somehow they will figure it out - they'll figure out a way. In this particular case we just didn't do it. Disappointing, but this in no way takes away how I feel about them as a group. Because all you can do as a coach, what you should be judged on, in my opinion, what we judge ourselves on, is if they care, if they are unselfish, if they try hard, if they sacrifice for one another - those sorts of things. As a coach, I am very proud of how the group handled that for the most part, all year long."

On if it crossed his mind to do things differently against Northern Iowa than they had all year:

"You don't go 33-2 all year and decide to do things differently because we're down six. Maybe some coaches do, but I don't. The other thing is, if that was what we were really good at, then I would say `sure you could do that.' That is not who we are, regardless of what you guys think. Are there things that we could do differently, looking back? Absolutely, there are a lot of things we could do differently. Maybe we should have switched ball screens and not let big boy (Northern Iowa Center Jordan Eglseder) shoot the three's early in the game when he has made one all year long. The press, in the last 12 to 14 minutes, when we really turned it up, really helped us - there is no question about that. But could we have done that for 35 minutes? I don't know if we could. The other thing about the press, that other people don't realize, is that you have to score to make the other team take it out of bounds before you can really press. Our problem was the first half, we didn't really score, and we didn't shoot free throws, we didn't have our first team foul until the 11-minute mark. The other team is, when you look at a team statistically, what do they do best - they shoot the basketball. Also, what do they do as well as anybody in the country - they shoot free throws. When the other team is in the bonus with 12 minutes left, you don't want to foul them to give them free points. People can say whatever, it doesn't mean that their opinion is wrong, but it doesn't mean that their opinion is right; but I think that when you lose your last game, that you think you are supposed to win, you can look back on a plethora of things on what we could have done differently, and why didn't it happen this way. But to say that this is the reason we lost, I don't buy into that at all."

On if he has met with Sherron Collins yet, and how he is handling the loss:

"I think he is going to handle it fine. He hurts now, there is no doubt about that, but in the big scope of things, this will be a game that when he looks back, it will be one of the most remembered games of his career. Maybe the most remembered game of his career, because it is the last game, it should be that way. But why do teams usually not win their last game? There is a common thread - you don't make shots. You really need to make shots in the NCAA Tournament, because everybody can guard for the most part, you don't get too many easy baskets. He will look back and be disappointed, but he shouldn't be disappointed in anything other than the outcome of the game. We never judge his performance on if he made shots, if he didn't make shots, he would have felt the exact same way if he went 11-15 and we lost. I don't think we should put too much emphasis on one individual's performance, it was a group effort that obviously didn't play very well."

 

On if it bothers him that the loss will be the thing that is remembered after all the regular season and Big 12 Tournament success:

"I don't know if you are right (on the loss being the only thing remembered). I do think the way that it is set up, and the way that the media sets it up - which they do an unbelievable job of setting it up, Road to the Final Four, March Madness, the whole year is set up that way. I think that it is also set up to be disappointment because of the hype that surrounds it. I think the people that are really in the know, I think that they are going to be disappointed in the outcome, but will look back and be very pleased at how the team represented the University. I don't look at it as being the only thing, winning championships is something that at most places, you should not take lightly. Here, I think sometimes as a group, don't see the significance of it, because there is always a bigger prize. We still shouldn't take away from the fact that going 15-1 and winning the Big 12 Tournament championship is an accomplishment, but I would rather be playing now. Still, I don't think it makes the season a failure by any means."

On how much he thinks Xavier Henry could benefit from staying another year:

"Well usually, a coach would say that from your freshman to sophomore year is your biggest jump. But that is not a lock that it is that way because we've had examples yearly that it isn't that way. You look at Cole (Aldrich) and what he did improvement-wise. Or the improvements that Russell (Robinson) made, or the improvements that Julian (Wright), Brandon (Rush), and Mario (Chalmers) made, you could look at a lot of things. I think each case is different, I think a lot depends on the competition coming out in the draft that year. There is no question in my mind, that he is definitely equipped and ready to be paid - no question. The question to the family is, `is he ready to play and impact the NBA game.' I think, personally, that he can do that. That is something that they need to decide as a group, you're talking about a situation, that if he does go where some people project him to go, sometimes that's a pretty risky insurance policy to go back and risk injury. That is strictly a decision for him and his family, and I will support whatever direction they go."

On if he has talked to Cole Aldrich about his future plans:

"Yeah, Cole and I visited yesterday. To me, with Cole, it doesn't have much to do with where people have him projected (in the draft), or anything, we know he is going to get drafted pretty high. It is what would be best for his family. It could be best for his family for Cole to come back, but I've said all along that I'm not encouraging that at all. I think it's something that he has to feel totally comfortable with, and he will. Give him a week or so to think about it, he'll make a decision. He won't let us hang in the balance, so to speak. I think he will give himself some time to think about it, he will visit with his mother and father, and he will probably have a decision sometime next week. My personal hunch is that in his mind, for the first time, thinking about it. I don't think he has given much thought of it until now."

On if there is a process he has to go through before he can invest in his next team:

"Well it's not life or death, although in our world it is very serious. The thing is, I am not in mourning, I'm down, but I've been down before. I've been down during the season. I do think, for me personally, there is a period of time where you go from being really sad - and you're sad selfishly for yourself because you invest so much time and effort. Most of it, you're sad for your players because you know it's the end, you know that Sherron can't get it back. You want everybody to go out on a high note, always. I'm sad, disappointed, hurt, then my emotions will turn to mad, upset, competitive, and let's get back to work. I'm not quite there yet, but I think I can get there pretty quickly. Then your emotions will turn to excited about the next group you get an opportunity to work with. Regardless of who stays and who goes, I think we have a chance to be really good next year. I will experience all those emotions; I'm getting closer to the point of being a little bit angry and ready to get back to work."

On if losing at Kansas feels differently than anywhere else:

"To me, that is the best question that has been asked. The reason I say that is this: I think, with this team, and I've had a chance to reflect some - the thing about it is, I've always told you guys for the most part that it wasn't a jubilant locker room, that it wasn't a massive celebration when you win. Because these guys have grown to expect to do those things, I do think that sometimes, when you coach at a place like Kansas, where the expectations are high - which they should be if you are preseason number one, that winning becomes a relief, and losing is awful. We tried to get our players to not feel that way, but I do sense that over time, that sometimes when we did win, it was a relief, as opposed to jumping on each other. I do think there is a difference, I don't know that it is a bad thing, and it's not a good thing - it's just the way it is. These kids are expected to perform at a pretty high level here, for the most part, they've accomplished that."

On if Marcus and Markieff Morris become leaders of the team now:

"I think they will be two of the team leaders going forward. Everybody likes them, but the thing about it is, I think we should let it play out on who our team is. We don't really know what our team situation is; we don't anoint leaders in March for the following year. The thing about college athletics is that it is a revolving door; there is always somebody there waiting to take the place. You can't replace number four from a total intangible standpoint - we're not going to replace him. Collectively, guys do a little bit more than they have done in the past. One guy can't replace (Sherron Collins)."

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