Bill Self steps to the mic for his weekly presser and we're breaking it down with "Sh!t My Self Said".
Kansas Head Coach Bill Self
On North Texas' victory over Texas Tech:
"I'm surprised. Not taking anything away from North Texas, but I know how good Texas Tech is going to be this year. Tech returns five of its six top scorers. I believe North Texas returns four starters. It's not a shocking win, but as good as Texas Tech is, I was a little surprised by the score.
Johnny (Jones, North Texas head coach) has done a great job since he's been there. They've been in the NCAA Tournament pretty consistently. I thought they played Kansas State really tough in the first round and hung with them for quite a period of time last year in Oklahoma City."
So for someone like myself who hasn't caught up with all 300+ division one basketball teams it sounds as though North Texas might be a decent opponent? I'm not talking K-State good, but perhaps a nice step up the ladder so to speak in terms of competition. I welcome it.
On Marcus Morris' ability:
"He's the best all-around player that I've coached since I've been here and maybe ever. I'm not saying he's the best player, but there's nobody that I've coached that does more things. He's a guard that can post. He can play with his back to the basket. He can step off the block. He can drive it. He's got great vision. He's got range. He's a good player.
Now that doesn't necessarily translate to 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds) every night, but he can impact a game in many ways, passing the ball or certainly thinking the game because he's very, very bright. There are still some things that he doesn't do very well, but I think from a total skill set and taking into consideration all of the intangibles, I haven't been around anybody that can do more things."
Strong words and high praise for McMorris. The even better news in my mind is that the gap between Marcus and Markieff looks like it may be even smaller than originally believed. These two have the potential to be an absolute matchup nightmare any night of the week.
Throw in Jeff Withey who have both showed some promise and Kansas has a potentially deadly 4 man rotation with the bigs. As for the 20/10 every night, I think it might just translate for Marcus if he wants it to.and
On Brady Morningstar's role with Elijah Johnson out:
"He's our emergency backup point guard right now. He's handled it pretty well. He's not a point guard, though. Hopefully, Elijah will be back. I think there's a really good chance. I'm meeting with some people today to make sure he's got some stuff done. I have every indication that he has, so I anticipate Elijah playing on Friday."
I think this might tell us everything we need to know about Brady's role this year. If he's the emergency back up point guard now, what happens when Selby enters the picture? I don't think I see Brady completely eliminated, but with the makeup of this team he probably isn't the guy to start and see major minutes like he was two years ago. And that's ok, he shouldn't be.
On Tyshawn Taylor's defense in the first two games:
"I'm really pleased with Tyshawn. I'm not giddy about how anybody is playing because it's too early, but Tyshawn is trying really hard. He's trying to do everything we want him to do. He's getting out of character. He's getting uncomfortable trying to please us, and I like that because he's going to keep taking off. He's worried about winning and making winning plays more so than anything else and that will translate to a better individual performance as well."
I'm not giddy either, although I might be close. In all seriousness it's a 180 degree turnaround in the way this season has started for Taylor vs. last year. There seemed to be a feeling of entitlement, an immaturity last year that plagued him all year long. At this point, he looks more mature, more comfortable and more capable of elevating the team and not just being concerned with himself.
On Withey's potential playing time:
"It's too early to say because he hasn't practiced in eight weeks. He's practiced just a couple of times full speed, so I don't know how it's all going to play out. I do know that we need a long guy on the back end, especially defensively. I think he could be a rotation guy. Cole (Aldrich) played about eight or 10 minutes a game his freshman year. I think Jeff could play quite a bit more than that if he continues to progress."
I consider this laying the foundation for Withey being the last man in that big man rotation. I just hope he sees enough minutes early to at least get comfortable so that late in the season he can provide a spark in that 8-12 minutes per game that he'll be looking at. Things could change, but right now the Morri are firmly entrenched and Thomas Robinson is working his way toward the same with his defense and rebounding.
On how Josh Selby has looked in practice:
"Josh is good, but he's a freshman. He's going to be nervous. Because he's been held out, I think the expectations have risen for him. It will be more pressure for him. He needs to just take a deep breath, get out there, fit in and not try to do too much when the time comes because with every day that we wait, there's more anticipation and more questions asked. Josh is going to be good, but he shouldn't be evaluated until January because he's going to be behind six or eight weeks than all freshmen that haven't had any setbacks. I'm excited. Our team will get better. This team needs another guy that can go get his own shot on the perimeter. Certainly he can do that."
Everything about this says to me that good news is coming. But then again, I'm hoping for the best on this every day.
On the possibility of tying the school-record of 62-straight home wins with a victory against North Texas:
"I will talk to them about it. That should not be our motivation to play, but these guys owe it to everybody else that has been a part of this streak that is not on this team to make sure that they are recognized as being part of this streak. I think they should be playing for others every bit as much as they are playing for themselves on Friday night."
Any predictions on when the streak ends?
On how he personally feels about the streak:
"I'm pretty proud of it. It's not the most important streak. I'd rather win six in a row in March and April than win 60 in a row at home. To win 61 in a row at home, and Brady is the only one here that has been a part of a loss at home, there's no other place in America that can say that as of late. It's not the biggest deal we have going on, but it's something that I think we're all pretty proud of."
I think it's great that Brady has been here for every one of the wins. A fun trivia fact. I wonder if there were any players from the last 62 game streak that were around for all of them?
On his favorite win during the home-court winning streak:
"When our kids were all freshmen and Texas came in here and got us down by 17 or so. We came back and won that game with Tyshawn and guys playing great. We've had some remarkable wins. We've had some wins that there was no way we could pull off unless we had the sixth man (the crowd).
Of the six losses we've had (at home since Self became head coach), four of them came down to the very last possession and one of the others came down to one of the two last possessions. We haven't won them all in tight games, but certainly the crowd has helped us eek out some where it didn't look very good."