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Kansas Basketball Presser With Bill Self

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This week on "Sh!t My Self Said"...

Bill Self Weekly Press Conference

November 29, 2010

On what he took out of the two games this weekend in Las Vegas:

"Well I thought we played a lot better against Arizona than we did against Ohio - we didn't play well at all against Ohio, we just couldn't shoot the ball into the ocean. We moved the ball pretty well against Arizona and we played out of foul trouble. We made some plays when it got tight and we played smart down the stretch. I think we showed that we can play at a very high level for a period of time, and we also showed that we were very normal at times."

I was a little surprised at the assessment of the Ohio performance vs. the Arizona performance, but then again it shows what kind of an eye Bill Self has for detail and how easy it is to get caught up in a runaway win as a fan. 

From a fan perspective the Arizona game certainly raised a few concerns, but it still felt like one of those that we were always going to win.  Problem for most fans, it wasn't as easy as one expected.  Losing Marcus Morris early in that game forced the Jayhawks to get out of their comfort zone a little offensively and showed where improvement is needed and it showed the importance of defensive intensity for 40 minutes.

On whether or not Travis Releford plays as well in practice as he has in the last two games:

"He made shots in Vegas, but I don't look at it that way. I look at it and ask myself, is he getting extra possessions? Is he our best defender? Does he get rebounds? Making shots was certainly a big part of his performance. To me, he has to be more than that. I still think he can play better. It can be so misleading to see if a player plays well just because of how many points he has scored. He would be the first to tell you that he has some things he needs to tighten up. He's shooting the ball the best since he has been here."

As I understand it Releford requested that he be able to come off the bench rather than start.  He has three years left including this one.  Between Releford's maturity and drive for success combined with Bill Self's constant direction toward perfection l have a feeling that Releford could be one of those classic Kansas senior day stories of a player that showed up to campus unpolished and ends up departing with potential NBA aspirations.  Darnell Jackson type deal.


On how he feels about Thomas Robinson's play:

"(He played) awful against Ohio, and then the polar opposite the next day, I thought he was terrific against Arizona. Of all our guys, he played the best when we needed somebody to play well. Everybody made shots the first half, but when we played out of foul trouble, I thought he came up very big for us. He, Travis, and Elijah (Johnson) all gave us great minutes off the bench. I'm comfortable with him taking face-up jumpers, but only if he makes them. He takes too many of them, but so does our whole team. Why settle? (Arizona Forward) Derrick Williams didn't settle, he drove it every time - Thomas is so good at that. Why settle and not put the other team in foul-prone situations?"

Remember when Thomas Robinson committed before Daniel Orton and some were disappointed?  I'm guessing most are glad he did at this point.  Still plenty of room to improve and both Danny Manning and increased minutes will assist in that, but Robinson has the physical makeup, motor and explosiveness to be a force underneath.

Also to Bill Self's point on Derrick Williams attacking, the same should be said for any and all Kansas big men.  Too often the team was settling for face-up or even fade away jump shots rather than attacking the rim.  No reason any of them should be playing that way.



"They're a lot better. They have their main players back from last year, plus they have added some nice pieces to the puzzle. (Forwards) Reeves Nelson and (Tyler) Honeycutt are off to a great start. If I'm not mistaken, I think that may have been Honeycutt's last game back when we played them last year. He is going to be a really good player, and certainly they are getting better guard play. They are much better, and (UCLA head coach Ben Howland) will coach them up. They will certainly guard well. It will be a game where there are very few easy baskets. I'm excited and our guys will be excited about playing arguably as storied of a basketball program as there is in the country."

Anyone else wish this was a little more of your classic Kansas v UCLA matchup from the national perspective? Maybe they do turn out to be back on track and even win the Pac10, but either way it's a game like Arizona that isn't viewed the same way it once was.  I'll assume in both instances that the drop off is temporary.


On faltering after the first nine minutes of the first half against Arizona:

"I think it was because we are better when (Marcus and Markieff Morris) play. When they are in the game we're better. When both of them are out of the game, I think that hurts us more. Especially offensively, we do not play as well when they are out of the game."

Common sense Bill.  I can just hear him answering this question in that "what a dumb question" type manner he can pull off while not seeming like a jerk.


On whether or not Derrick Williams exposed anything to the team:

"Our big guys do not slide their feet as well as they should. What he did, which is so good, and Marcus, Markieff and Thomas should already be great at this: He faced them off the block. When that happened, he didn't bail them out by taking a jump shot. He either shot an uncontested three or he got to the paint, and he did a great job of driving it and forcing contact. He is a bona fide All-American-type candidate. I don't know if exposed is the right word, but he is going to put numbers on just about anybody."

Love it.  "Marcus, Markieff and Thomas should already be great at this."   I'm thinking Turner Gill should take a few notes in calling out a team or a player in a nonchalant manner.


On how often Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris and Thomas Robinson should drive instead of shoot jumpers:

"Our whole offense is predicated on paint touches, either off the pass or off the bounce. We do a good job of that a lot of times. Thomas got us two points late in the game by doing that to (Arizona). When their big guy fouled him, he got two free throws. I'm OK with them shooting the ball, but they're going to be a lot more open when (the opponent) respects the drive. You have to give their big guys a chance to get in foul trouble. I think those three could be so good driving the ball because they're so good with the ball in their hands."

A reoccurring theme throughout the presser.  Big men need to attack the rim and better things will happen for Kansas. 


On how Marcus and Markieff Morris can improve on staying out of foul trouble:

"You can't put your hands on people when they drive it. You have to play your man before he catches it. They'll get better at that. Our guys are going to foul. You just can't commit the silly ones that give you three to start the second half. Big guys are going to foul. You just have to eliminate the ones that are avoidable and you have to play your man before he catches it."

On Marcus Morris earning Big 12 Player of the Week accolades:

"He deserves that. He's shooting 70 percent. Marcus has been great offensively. (Against Arizona) He scored facing the basket. He scored from deep. He scored mid-range. He scored on post moves. He really has demonstrated his versatility. I doubt there has been anybody in our league that has had a better week or start to the season than he has."

critique, critique, critique and then give him a major compliment.  The message?  Marcus, you're damn good but you could be SO much better.

On the team's offensive efficiency:

"When the team's shooting 58 percent, that means you're probably taking good shots. Our team's shot selection has been pretty good. In the Arizona game there were probably four or five ill-advised shots, but out of 50 that's not a bad percentage at all. Our guys have done a pretty good job playing within their strengths and taking shots that they know they can make. I can complain about certain things, but there are a lot of coaches out there that would love to complain about the ball sticking when you have 20 assists every game. This team is very capable of being a really good offensive team."

The assist stat is often underplayed.  Every game this year the number of assists for the Jayhawks has been extremely close to the number of shots made.  That's a sign of a good offensive game.


On whether the shot going in determines if it was a good shot selection:

"It's a good or bad shot when it leaves your hand. That's what we tell our players. As coaches, if it counts for two points it doesn't bother us as much, but you can't tell a player it's a bad shot if he misses it and then tell him it's a good shot if it goes in. You're sending him mixed messages. Against Ohio, Marcus, as soon as he checked back in, made a three-pointer. I said it was an awful shot. You should never shoot the ball when you first come down the court (after checking in). My dad taught me that. Whether it goes in or not is irrelevant to whether or not it's a good shot."


On how the team responded when it trailed by four points against Arizona:

"I thought we played really good. Tyrel (Reed) made a couple of big plays. Usually, Tyrel's big plays are shooting the ball. His big plays against Arizona were driving the ball. What was great about that (comeback) was that we had bench guys in the game playing a key role during that time. I thought we played really well the last 10 minutes from an intelligence standpoint. I thought we played smart, took good shots and defended them better. I think Arizona has a nice team."


On if he thinks Tyrel Reed is frustrated with his shooting percentage:

"No. He was in the office yesterday. I told him that's the last thing I worry about with him. If anything I'll get on him because he doesn't shoot the basketball. We need to have a guy that can consistently stretch the defense. He's the best guy for us to do that. He's going to make shots. I think he's been less aggressive shooting the ball (recently). He's always been selective, but I think this year he can be a little more aggressive. If he has space, it's a good shot for him. I have a lot of confidence in him making shots."


Hands down the best thing about a Bill Self presser is the almost complete lack of coach speak.  He answers the question.  Obviously that's easier to do when you're ranked #4 in the country and have a national title to your name, but it's always a good read, he speaks with a purpose and it's impossible not to respect that as a fan.  There are plenty of coaches in the profession that could learn a thing or two from this, it's generally more accepted in basketball but why can't a football coach be this forthcoming?