Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE
Kansas Basketball Presser: Jayhawks Talk Oregon State
Kansas Head coach Bill Self
On if Elijah Johnson was still working back from (last spring's) knee surgery?
"You know I learned a long time ago, if you're out there, you got to perform. There's nothing structurally going on with him, so if he doesn't quite have the same pop that he had before, then he shouldn't be out there. If you're out there, we expect it. I think that's the way it is with any athlete. I learned that from Keith Langford's mother back when he played. I kept saying, ‘but his knee is bothering him.' She said, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa... if he's out there, he's got to produce or he shouldn't be out there.' And that's coming from a mother. So I don't get those comments very often from mothers. But you know, that is the reality of it. He's got to produce."
Coach, can you offer a comment about the feeling around the department for volleyball coach Ray Bechard winning Big 12 Coach of the Year?
"I think everybody is very happy for the volleyball program, but really happy for Ray. Ray's been here a long time, been here quite a bit longer than I have, and he's had some great years here and he's had a couple years here recently that haven't been as good; and to see what he and his staff have done with this group is amazing to me. To see us back on the national scene in volleyball is great and also to be able to host, I think will be great for his girls. I think they will love that and hopefully our fans will support them. I said last night, I don't want our fans not to come to the Sprint Center to go support volleyball. If they have basketball tickets, come to basketball. Go to see Ray the next day. But if you're not planning on going to the basketball game, then go watch Ray and his team because they are fun to watch."
You talk a lot about Jeff (Withey) and his shot blocking ability, but he only has five fouls for the year.
"That's unbelievable. Of course, Wilt (Chamberlain) never fouled out of a game, did he? Think about this, we played six games and you're a big guy, maybe not as aggressive as you need to be. But on the flip side, it does show that his timing is off the charts and his ability to stay away from body contact when he's blocking balls is tremendous. I thought the other night we played really poor defense many possessions and he just absolutely bailed us out."
Oregon State is a pretty balanced team, three stars have double figures. Are the guys on the bench the same?
"They are really, really long and probably will be about as big a team as we will play this year. They are a good team that plays a little bit unconventional because they play a variance of the Princeton style and we haven't seen that. So, it will be new to our guys."