Kansas Head Coach Bill Self and Player Quotes from 2-10-11 Press Availability

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self
On Josh Selby’s status:
“We will know more today.  He’s going to practice tonight or this afternoon. So we’ll see if we have to limit him at all but he did a light workout yesterday and he was doing pretty good. It’s not 100 percent totally comfortable, but it’s to the point, with the new orthotic that he’s received, that we’re going to let him go.”
On how Selby was playing on the ball before the injury:
“I don’t know if he was playing on the ball more, but he was certainly doing more with the ball. Since the Texas game, I thought he had been really aggressive and forcing help and doing some things that were really positive for us. I thought he was really playing the best he’s played since he’s been here; the way that we’d like to play, in the three games prior to him sitting out.”
On what kind of treatments are possible with Selby and Tyrel Reed’s injuries:
“You wait for them to get better, but you can do certain things to eliminate the risk for hurting it worse. And that’s what we’ve done with both of them the best we can.”
On what Iowa State Head Coach Fred Hoiberg has done thus far:
“They’ve really been unlucky. He goes from a situation where they can win the first game in Lincoln, have the ball playing for one, turn it over and foul to lose in regulation. They had the game in Stillwater, up four with a minute left with the ball, and lose. The K-State game was one of those heart-breaking games also. He’s real close to being .500 in the league, or better, and I think what he’s done is give his guys a free mind offensively. Their players have really improved offensively, particularly (Diante) Garrett. He definitely should be on the (All-Big 12) First Team ballot right now. Any time you lead the league in assists, defenses are designed to slow him down. He’s obviously having a great year. “
On how this Cyclone team differs from former coach Greg McDermott’s teams:
“I won’t talk about coaching philosophies or anything like that. I would say that, with this particular team, they play with a very free mind offensively. Now whether that’s good, or not good, I don’t know. I think it’s worked for them because certainly guys are attacking to make plays. “
On what he attributes his team’s continued offensive success despite multiple injuries:
“Brady (Morningstar) has played great. The twins (Marcus and Markieff Morris) are playing well. We’ve got three post guys you can throw it to and, if you call Mario (Little) a post, that’s four guys you can throw it to, and have good things happen. That takes pressure off of the perimeter when you do that. If you really look at it, Tyshawn (Taylor) hadn’t made shots, Josh has been out, Tyrel is gimping around and Travis (Releford) is gimping around; still, we’ve been pretty efficient. I think part of that is that we’ve been able to make open shots and that’s been able to cover up a lot of problems whenever you’re just able to knock down shots. We’ve done that the last two or three weeks.”
On if he likes Taylor continuing to shoot the floater, even when his shots aren’t falling:
“Yeah, I don’t have a problem with it. The thing with attacking the rim is that you force help, you force the big guys to have to come help. So if you can get it up on the rim, up on the glass, your big guys have a free path to come rebound it. Even though those don’t go in sometimes, they are still good shots. It’s not like you’ve got a big taking a guard shot from the perimeter that you take a rebounder off the glass. We’re adding a rebounder every time Tyshawn drives it.”
On how he would evaluate Taylor’s recent play:
“I would say it’s been ok. I see it differently than most. I’d say it’s been better offensively than defensively. That’s one area we’ve all got to get better in, particularly him, because he has the most to give. He could be our best defender. “
On if the bench players’ play during games helps give them confidence, even in practice:
“Yes. I can’t talk from the Missouri game because all we did yesterday was have a shooting practice and we had to take Tuesday off, so we’ll know more about that today moving forward. It’s amazing to me when you make shots, there’s an automatic confidence/adrenaline rush that you get. And certainly those guys are experiencing that right now. The one guy off the bench, to me, that isn’t experiencing that is Elijah (Johnson). He’s the one guy that I feel like can give us more from an aggressive standpoint than he’s giving us right now. The other guys are aggressive, in large part, because they’re confident. It helps when you see the ball go in the hole.”
On what has held Taylor back from becoming a great defender, like Mario Chalmers was:
“I’d say just focus. Probably just focus. You know, Mario wasn’t a great on-the-ball defender, he was just a great stealer of the ball. He may leave his man to go guard someone else’s man because he had such great instincts. But just as far as him locking in, Brandon Rush was the guy on that team, Russell Robinson was the guy on that team. Tyshawn should be that guy on our team, but it’s probably just concentration as much as anything.”
On if Travis Releford’s play against Missouri was as good in person as it appeared on paper:
“Yeah, he was good. He didn’t turn it over. He took care of the ball, made shots and was patient. So, yeah, he was good, but so much of our evaluation is determined by whether the ball goes in the hole or not. He’s not even close to being 100 percent. He can play a lot better and be a lot more explosive.”
On if the team still believes that they can outscore people:
“I think there’s way too much of it. We talked about that for an hour yesterday. (We talked about) different things, but that was definitely one of the topics. In a game where you’re not making shots, or a game where you’re playing with foul trouble, can you get four or five stops in a row in the clutch part of the game? I don’t think that this team does that consistently enough.”
On how he feels the team is progressing, with this being the mid-way point of the Big 12 season:
“I think our next step is that we’ve got to play defensive like we’re not making shots. That’s what we’ve got to do and we’ve got to keep moving the ball and sharing the ball offensively. It’s kind of a catch-22; as a shooter, you always assume the ball is going in and if you’re a rebounder, you assume every shot is missed. As a defensive team, we have to assume that we are going to shut them out because we don’t know what we’re going to get on the other end. That puts a lot of pressure on your team defensively. I know it’s coach-speak, but defense does win championships. In every competitive sporting contest, if you have great defense going against great offense, the majority of the time great defense wins – great pitching against great hitting, it doesn’t make a difference. When great is going against great, defense usually wins, so we need to get better at that.”
On if he would find it easier to make his point about defense if the team wasn’t shooting 52 percent:
“Maybe. At Illinois, we won the Big Ten one year shooting 42 percent for the year. That team knew they had to guard. Certainly making shots tends to get guys comfortable.”
On how he will address Markieff Morris getting an intentional foul in the Missouri game:
“We’ve addressed it consistently all year. We’ve done different things to try to help players understand the importance of playing smart. I thought in that situation it was obviously the right call, but it was a silly play that didn’t give anybody an advantage at all. It was two players tangled up, playing hard and basically you had to be the one to get the last word in. It wasn’t malicious at all, barely any contact, but it was the right call because it was above the shoulders. (The Morris twins) care an unbelievable amount. They know because of some past actions, people are watching them. Officials are human. The other negative thing they have going against them is when you talk to an official, they never say one or the other. They say ‘the twins,’ so if one screws up, it’s ‘the twins.’ They’re both tagged with that, but I really believe that we will not have any more issues with that moving forward.”
On the fluidity of the offense lately:
“Because of the twins, we naturally have good passers. The twins are terrific passers, even though their stats don’t say that in assist-to-turnover ratio. They have more assists that they would get credit for if it was hockey. Passing out of the double-team, skipping it and then making the next pass, they don’t get the assist, but they’re the reason why that (shot) was open. I think they’re really enjoying sharing the ball right now. They’ve always shared it. We’ve always been unselfish, but I think they’re really starting to understand how you can be aggressive and still be patient. That’s been good for us.”
Senior guard Brady Morningstar
On the key to the team’s offensive success the past few games:
“We’re making shots. That’s the main thing. I haven’t looked at the stats or anything, but I feel like we’re shooting the ball pretty well percentage-wise. We’re being efficient in our half court offense.”
On if it’s hard to understand the importance of defense with the team’s offensive success:
“At times it might be. It shouldn’t be hard if you are a player. You should want to play on each end of the floor, but Coach (Self) has been stressing our defense lately because teams are shooting the ball pretty well against us. That’s never happened before, so we need to get back to being a better defensive team as a unit. Then we can move on from there.”
On defending Iowa State point guard Diante Garrett:
“You have to keep him out of the paint. He likes to isolate his defender and drive. They like to do that as a team and kick out to three-point shooters. He’s a heck of a player. He can handle the ball well, he can pass and he can score at the rim. We have to contain him and their other players, too. It’s not just him. Their whole team can give you problems.”
On working freshman guard Josh Selby back into the rotation after missing two games with a foot injury:
“I think he’ll be fine. He’s played on the road and at home, so I think when he gets back out there he will fit in like he did before. We’re looking forward to having him back out there.”
Junior guard Tyshawn Taylor
On improving the team’s defensive focus:
“We have to do it for the whole shot clock. We have to be a better on-the-ball defensive team and that comes with help defense. We have to be a better help-defensive team and show help stronger so guys don’t feel like they have a lane to drive. Coach (Self) has emphasized that a lot, and he’s going to emphasize it a lot more.”
On the difference between good help defense and bad help defense:
“You have to be able to play both your man and the man with the ball. You have to be in the right position. It’s a lot more positioning than it is being able to move. I’m not the best help-defensive player because I’m not in the right position. I think I’m quick enough to be there, so I’m not in the right position a lot of times. Just being quick enough isn’t good enough, so I think we need to be in the right position to help on the ball.”
Junior forward Markieff Morris
On if there is a family atmosphere to the team:
“Definitely. There always has been. We always preach family. We’re all really close friends. We’re all really close with the coaches. There’s always been a family atmosphere. I think that has a lot to do with team chemistry. None of us have anything against each other. We all want to see each other succeed. I think that’s the best part about our team.”
On if it’s hard to stay focused on defense when Kansas scores a large amount of points:
“I wouldn’t say that. I don’t think we defend the ball really well. Missouri ran a motion offense, so it was hard to play help defense against them. Other than that, I think we need to guard the ball better. We are playing really good on offense. We’re getting the shots that we want and executing really well.”
On if he is surprised by how well the team has played with multiple players injured:
“Not at all. The guys that have stepped up, we knew they were capable of being starters if we needed them to be starters, so that’s not surprising to us at all.”

Updated 02-11-2011

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