Cliff's Notes: Bill Self press conference, 3/29/11


Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self's comments at his press conference today.

Full audio has been posted.

• Self says he has no idea how next year’s roster is shaping up. The guys need some time to unwind and figure out their future plans. It wouldn’t surprised Self if a couple guys or more put their name in the NBA Draft hat, but it wouldn’t surprise Self if they didn’t. It’s a situation where KU needs to have a great spring recruiting class. KU needs to sign between 2-4 kids.

KU needs to sign a couple of guards/wings.

Self hasn’t talked to the Morris twins about whether they’re going to the NBA yet.

Self talks to NBA GMs for his players. The big thing is to have an open line of communication with his players and their families. Self doesn't care either way. Obviously, selfishly he wants them to return, but they have to do what’s best for their families. That might mean leaving.

Self has spoken to GMs and owners in the business, and most of them think some sort of NBA lockout is likely.

The twins did great this year. They both improved so much. To Self, it was the best frontcourt in the country. Marcus can stil get better. He thinks those kids are good and can play at the next level.

Self doesn’t know if you get over losses immediately. Kids do better than adults do with getting over that stuff. With coaches, it’s just a way of life. Your whole family throws itself into the Tournament. It’s a tough deal for everybody. Most disappointing for Self is that the Tournament was set up for KU. The Jayhawks were the better team, in his opinion, but it wasn't on that day. That’s tough to stomach. You have to take advantage of opportunities in life. Self won’t get over this one for a long time, nor should he.

Self reiterated that he thought the Tournament set up well for KU. He really thought the Jayhawks would play in the national championship game.

Self says KU was tight against Boston. Against Illinois, KU wasn't tight. Against Richmond, KU didn't look tight. KU played pretty well in the Tournament. The last game, Self thought the more shots KU missed the harder his players tried. There are a lot of things that happened should have went the other way, like a three-second call on a lob dunk or a block/charge on Tyshawn Taylor. VCU's defense had something to do with KU's poor shooting, but it didn't have anything to do with KU's missed open shots in the first half. KU just missed them.

Self says KU wasn't a good free-throw shooting team all year long, and it didn't cost the Jayhawks a game until the very end. If KU was 10-for-12 from the line in the first half, the game has a totally different feel.

Thomas Robinson has as much room to improve as anybody. When he plays well, he's terrific, but he can be inconsistent. He needs to take a step like Markieff did this year. He's a terrific player, but he can become a much better player, and Self thinks he will. It's amazing to Self the type of year Robinson had with the year he went through.

Josh Selby is a talented kid. Primarily due to injury, he wasn’t as effective late. He's a terrific talent. He’ll be fine. He’s a guy moving forward that can be a pro-type guard. This was a tough year for Josh with all the stuff he went through.

Self feels like right now, in Selby's development, he's more of a two-guard. He has to become more comfortable with that. Many of the guards in the Final Four have experience. Selby hasn't had many reps. He hasn't had a chance to develop.

If people use the word "choke," it bothers Self. But the reality is, KU didn't play well, for whatever reason. You've got to win a lot of big games to go 35-3. The bottom line is KU lost to a team it was favored to beat. KU just blew a great opportunity.

• This year's team played closer to the ceiling than last year's team, and last year's team was 33-3.

Self doesn't know if he'll do anything differently in the Tournament against mid-majors. KU has had good success there over time. KU has won the most games in the NCAA Tournament the last 10 years. When you're a high seed, you're going to play teams you're favored against.

It amazes Self that he is 6-1 in Sweet 16 games and 1-5 in Elite Eight games. That's the stuff Self says he needs to look at. It's what happened in that 48 hours to give KU a better chance in that one game. When KU has plenty of days to prepare, it hasn't been an issue. IS KU too film intensive? Does it get enough rest? That, to Self, is what needs to be evaluated.

This is the loosest that KU has ever been heading into a game. Self's assistants even said to him, "If you're tight, nobody knows it." That doesn't guarantee anything either. The coaches are thinking about things that don’t have to do with the game. Maybe the coaches don’t let the players watch TV. Maybe the team goes to a movie. It’s one of those things KU has to do a better job of. But players have to play. KU’s whole deal was to attack and be the aggressor.

USC approached KU to ask if it would be interested in playing the Trojans’ home game in Wichita for financial reasons. USC will get all the gate receipts. It will not be KU’s home game.


Byrd313 9 years, 2 months ago

Jesse, can you expand on your thoughts of this specific comment:

"KU needs to sign a couple of guards/wings."

Looking at the potential loss of the Morri and T-Rob, you would think the first position coach would discuss in terms of recuriting would be post players. Can we infer from this statement that Self is confident the bigs are coming back?

I hate to be pessimistic, but if we role with Withey at center and have a guard playing the 4 (Releford), along with no true post men besides maybe Wesley behind them, we are going to be very thin/weak in the frontcourt.

Help alleviate my concerns Jesse. Thanks.

Jesse Newell 9 years, 2 months ago

Self's quote following that above: "From a bigs standpoint, a lot depends on what our twins want to do."

longhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

I don't understand this comment:

" It amazes Self that KU is 6-1 in Sweet 16 games and 1-5 in Elite Eight games"

To what does that pertain? Bill has only taken KU to 4 Elite Eights (2004, 2007, 2008 and 2011). If he's talking about KU's last 6 Elite Eights, we're actually 3-3 (winning in 2002, 2003 and 2008).

Jesse Newell 9 years, 2 months ago

Good catch. He didn't make it clear, but he had to be talking about himself, as he's lost two other times in the Sweet 16. It's been fixed above.

tjg1 9 years, 2 months ago

i was assuming he said we need guards because w/ Elijah, Tyshawn, and Selby primarily as drivers, they need someone to kick the ball out and knock down the 3 and stretch the defense.

Jabez Harlan 9 years, 2 months ago

Royce Woolridge is that type of player that will spot up from the perimeter and make baskets. His role next year will be very interesting.

langes0910 9 years, 2 months ago

With coach Self talking about the extent to which TRob can still improve next year, it gives me hope that I will see TRob in Crimson and Blue for at least another year.

gerald_bostock 9 years, 2 months ago

yeah, it seems like there was a wink-wink to how much Danny could help him out with a whole 'nother year. think about it!!

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 2 months ago

After the '08 tourney we had a lot of question marks. It was pretty well assumed that Arthur and Rush were gone to the NBA, but a lot of us wondered if Chalmers might comeback. There wasn't firm understanding of where he sat in the NBA draft pecking order.

But with or without him, we didn't know what to expect. We knew Sherron would be the key. Most of us thought Mario Little was going to be an impact starter when he arrived. Tyrone Appleton was very highly acclaimed coming out of JuCo. We didn't know anything about Tyshawn, knew very little about Releford. Most had no idea that Brady was going to be such a key player that year. We knew that Cole would be good, but we didn't know anything about the twins and Quintrell Thomas. The eventual starting lineup of Sherron, Tyshawn, Brady, Marcus, and Cole was somewhat a motley crew, but Self was able to make a good team out of it, win the conference, and make the sweet 16.

Bill Self is going to have his work cut out of him next year. He may be recruiting well into the summer, or he could sign BMac and DD this weekend and land a couple bigs and be done in a matter of weeks. He will find the right pieces. I'd say that he's got more likely coming back than he had in 2008 (would be nice to not lose any early entries, but even if we lose the twins, Thomas, and Selby, we still have good returning talent). He'll give us a good product again next year.

hawksfan08 9 years, 2 months ago

Well at least he's willing to admit there's a problem. That's more than I've seen out of him ever before.

rcjh88 9 years, 2 months ago

I really don't think that a lot of fans have ever played sports before. Sometimes you LOSE! It happens, especially in the NCAA tournament, otherwise teams like KU, Duke, UK, UNC would be in the final four almost every year and one of them would win it. Those of you bashing Bill Self can go cheer for another team, he has proven that he can win close games and big games. He also won the national championship which is something our previous coach couldn't ever do. Don't tell me that he can gameplan and coach for 30 some games but when it comes to the elite 8 he suddenly can't. If you have a specific criticism of his gameplan thats one thing but to just say he can't coach is stupid.

Karen Holmes 9 years, 2 months ago

Thank you, drgnsalyr, for putting into words my feelings exactly. I was at the game Fri. night and saw a team focused, poised and determined. We got to see the team off at the hotel and then waited for them to come back. I had my pic. taken w/ each of the twins, ej, rio, brady, tyrel, t-rob, jeff but not tt. I couldn't believe the team I watched on tv Sun. Felt bad for the whole organization. I met a lot of people including Angel. All of them signed my hat. I can't wait for next year. Rock Chalk.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 2 months ago

rcjh88: I think you're missing the point of some of the criticism and discussion. It is not that he can't coach. That's a strawman argument.

Ict made a great point on another thread about the 5-1 in sweet 16 vs. 1-4 in Elite 8. Is there something to the limited time to prep? In the Big 12 tourney, we already have a book on opponents.

Do you not believe it possible that coach Self, himself, was tight, nervous, and possibly made poor decisions vs. VCU? Do you not believe it possible that coach Self, through action or inaction, creates a certain tightness in his teams?

Lots of possibilities and I've given my thoughts on another thread. But you're approach is to simply chalk it up to "sometimes you lose." Yes, you do. But how you avoid losing is to figure out why. Not to simply shrug your shoulders and say that it happens.

Jabez Harlan 9 years, 2 months ago

We need to land Ben McLemore, Otto Porter, and DeAndre Daniels whether or not anyone comes back.

McLemore is the key recruit because of his athleticism and versatility, but the other two are key for some kind of inside presence even if they are skinny kids coming out of high school. Hudy will get them bulked him in no time.

If everyone stays, which is not probable, and we land all three which is a slight possibility, KU is the odds on favorite to win it all next year with Ohio State, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

Dana Brown 9 years, 2 months ago

players don't make the team. Its the coaching thats key. Look at VCU. What all-americans do they have on their squad or even honorable mentions and yet look what they did, and are doing in this tourney. Its the coaching that makes the difference, John Wooden, Bob Knight Mike K ..... We were out coached in this game, we lost even with a second team all american.

Dale Kroening 9 years, 2 months ago

Yeah hitting 35.5% on field goals ( worst of the season), and 53.6% from the free throw line was all because we got outcoached huh ? I dont care who the coach is, if you cant hit shots or your free throws, your destined to lose. We didnt play well and lost, plain and simple.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 2 months ago

Jesse: Thanks for the info. I've got some theories that I posted today.

But a question for you: Have you ever heard coach Self take responsibility for either the UNI loss, or the VCU loss? Meaning any clear statement that he failed in some way?

Many coaches will take some pressure off their team and blame themselves. All coach Self said, as I heard previously, was our transition defense was poor and if we played shirts and skins, you couldn't tell us apart.

justinryman 9 years, 2 months ago

Any word when Tyrel will undergo surgery on his foot?

KUbsee69 9 years, 2 months ago

According to KC Sports Radio this afternoon, Self said that we need to hit a recruiting home run. He said that same thing last year, too (before Selby signed). When asked "just one?", he replied "with the bases loaded". When asked if there were still players out there available to make that happen, he replied "yes".

The radio guys pointed out that the several coaching changes have potentially opened up recruiting at those schools, and that several highly ranked players could become available.

They also said that following the "official" end of the press conference, Self continued to talk to some of the media guys and seemed to be surprised that TRob was in any discussion about moving on to the NBA.

Christopher Hauser 9 years, 2 months ago

Ben McLemore will announce on April 3rd at the AA classic acording to Rivals, it said that he will choose between Kansas and Missouri. I find it hard to believe that he will go to Missouri given that Anderson left for Arkansas. If he is announcing on the 3rd then that is prob a good thing for us because he is not waiting around to see what Missouri will do for a new coach.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 2 months ago

Here is something that I have been thinking about the last few days. I'd like to bounce it off some of you. I'm having a hard time articulating the thought...

I have noticed there is a difference in Bill Self's body language, tone, & delivery when he does these post game presentations and when he does other television appearances that may be out of his "comfort zone."

We see self handle these regular pressers with ease. Cameras on, or not on, it doesn't phase him. But during the Big XII Tournament, Coach got on the platform and was doing an interview with the two ESPN guys. I was taken a back by what I saw. In that moment, He was as nervous & uncomfortable as I have ever seen him in 8 years here at KU. I wondered at that time, how could a person like Bill Self, constantly in the media spotlight, be a nervous little school boy while doing this interview? He was shaking, uncomfortable, & could not even make eye contact with camera. His posture was bad, and completely out of his comfort zone. Horrible delivery.

Is this a peek inside of Coach Self? Is this an anxious, uncomfortable Self that we usually don't see? The Coach Self that only comes out when the brightest lights are on? Is this the Coach Self that comes out when he falls behind in the Tournament?

Coach wins game after game after game during the regular season when the stakes are lower & nobody is 'all in'. This is quite the opposite of the pattern developing in the post season.

I guess what I'm getting at is can Coach handle the heat? Can he handle pressure? Not regular season pressure, post season pressure. Lose and you go home for the year pressure?

Is he like BlownJay? Pacing the living room, back and forth knowing if they don't get their crap together it's time to go home, 4 minutes into the game? Or is he like BlownJay's brother who can patiently sit back, without rash emotions and let the game play out like he has 33 times before? I know I'm not very fun to watch the game with when they are behind, because my anxious behavior is not good for those around me.

Is this Bill Self's behavior? Not anxious for the local media & cameras, but Anxious on the national camera? Not nervous during the regular season, because there is always 'next', but Anxious under the big lights of the NCAA tournament? So anxious that his bad energy wears his players down?

This is a question, not my opinion.

Christopher Hauser 9 years, 2 months ago

That is odd that he was nervous on ESPN, he was on CBS for the NCAA's after we got bounced in the second round last year as an anylist and I thought he did really well. I think he can handle the heat, if he could not then he would not still be coaching at KU.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 2 months ago

He had teleprompters and prep time on cbs. Espn was impromptu.

stewarro 9 years, 2 months ago

You ever notice coach "K" in tight game? And how many has he won? Do you think Roy ever gets rattled and anxious? DUH....come on dude it's part of the game, why do you think coaches yell at officials? Probably not becuase they are cool under pressure, in the heat of the kitchen, they lose composure just like oh 98% of us.... Ya ever yell at a kids game when the kitchen gets hot? Do ya lose your composure at work, probably not.... Of course coaches get anxious, nervous, so do players and fans, and ticket takers, and traffic ya think coaches don't have emotions, lots and lots are invested, ask coach K, he has admitted it...remember the dude that threw the folding chair? What was his name....ol bobby hasn't lost it like that since he retired and how many rings does he have? a couple? If a guy is yelling in the huddling he is probably just a bit anxious wouldn't ya imagine? Personally I have not yelled at a ref or my teams in 3 years...oh they are 2nd

Ron Franklin 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm with you, agree with most of what you say. But, the fact is people handle pressure differently, and my question is what can Self do to get better at loosening up. He talks about it all day long, but I saw shots of him on the sideline shaking nervous during that VCU game. Didn't see that from Shaka when his team was down 6, or when ku brought it back to within 2.

how do you maintain the pressure so it doesn't strangle your players.

jrev 9 years, 2 months ago

Well, considering Shaka DID get a technical foul when we had that run, id say he probably started to worry and got heated and lost composure. every coach loses their composure. I would definitely not say its Self's fault that we shot as badly as we did from 3 point range. there were at least 10 WIDE open looks that our players had to shoot from 3 and we didnt hit any of them. we hit 2 of 21.. thats not coaching at fault, thats players thinking too much and letting the pressure get to them. i mean.. seriously.. 2 of 21?! as well as 54% from the free throw line,.. and guess what people, we still only lost by 10! now thats pretty amazing in my opinion. you cant blame self. we simply didnt have the shooting.. for 1 game, and thats that. our defense really wasnt that bad, it was actually good for most of the 2nd half. but we didnt take advantage of TO's we created. if we had just shot our average, nothing incredible, just average.. we wouldve killed these guys.

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