Cliff’s Notes: Bill Self press conference, 1/17/13
Here is the Cliff's Notes version from Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self's comments at his press conference today.
We'll work to get this fixed, but we had some major audio problems today with skipping. The audio is still available here now that you've been warned.
• Self says Ben McLemore is fine. He'll practice Thursday. He's a little tender and sore. The injury scared him more than anything, because he thought he heard something pop. He's going to be close to 100 percent Saturday against Texas.
• To improve offensively, KU can shoot it better. Self thinks the ball is sticking a little bit. Sometimes, when other teams don't guard a certain position or player, the ball sticks, because that player feels like he needs to go make a play on his own. Self thinks the ball isn't moving as crisply as it was earlier in the year.
• Texas has missed Myck Kabongo for sure, but Javan Felix has had a good year. He can score, and he can shoot. He's a strong kid, especially in the upper body. Any time you lose a quality player, it hurts a team. His replacement has had a good year, though. Texas has one of the youngest teams in the nation. The Longhorns showed they could play against North Carolina.
• All Big 12 road wins are tough. KU went to Lubbock and was only up two at half. If you can go through this league with a good road record, you'll be battle-tested.
• KU recruited Texas forward Ioannis Papapetrou, and he chose Texas. He's had a good year.
• Forward Perry Ellis looked good the other night against Baylor, Self said. He just didn't make shots. It was good to see. He rebounded the ball rim-high. He's a terrific athlete. He can run like the wind. KU has three great sprinters at the 4-spot in Ellis, Jamari Traylor and Kevin Young. Those guys could run track. They're fast.
• Self would prefer for KU to play at a fast tempo all the time. Every KU team in the last six years or so has played better when it has played fast. No one would accuse KU of playing slow this year. Self is a big believer that if you can't score fast, though, you need to work it side to side to wear down the defense.
• Self thinks it's more important that Ellis becomes a better scorer than a better talker. Whether he talks much doesn't have any bearing on if KU wins. Self just wants him to be more aggressive. Self says Ellis is the best player KU has at the 4-spot to stretch the floor. Baylor was daring him to shoot, and if Ellis is on, he can make two of those three jumpers. That will open up room for Jeff Withey if Ellis can do that. Ellis came in with a lot of expectations coming in because he's local. It takes everybody a little bit of time. Ellis didn't come in with more accolades than Cole Aldrich, and it took Aldrich some time. Ellis is just going through the process. He's not going to be a good player; he's going to be a great player. There's a natural maturation process. Everyone goes through that. Ellis is right on schedule with where he needs to be. Now that he's playing to his skill set, he just needs to see the ball go in the basket.
• KU has more guys challenging and being more aggressive on the defensive end with shot blocks. KU has some naturally gifted athletes. Traylor had a great block pinning the ball against the glass against Baylor.
• KU and Texas' defenses are about the same on field-goal percentage defense. Texas is kicking KU's butt in three-point field-goal percentage, though. The Longhorns have done a better job of guarding the arc.
• Self would have said on Jan. 1 that his team was ahead of schedule. Now, he'd say that the team is about where he thought it would be. Self doesn't think his team has done anything in January to make him think it is way ahead of schedule. Self thinks he has a nice team that tries pretty hard and is learning how to win ugly when it's not making shots. Those are all very positive things. KU is right where Self hoped the team would be but definitely not ahead of schedule.
• To Self, there's only one stat that matters with point guards, and that's wins and losses. Self thinks Elijah Johnson has done a really good job there. Johnson hasn't made shots yet. Take that away, and he's been pretty sound. When he's been matched up against other great guards, he's done a nice job in those matchups.
• Self thinks the "muddier the track," the better off his team is. He thinks that sometimes the games that have rhythm are not best for his teams, because his teams never have the mindset to outscore folks; his teams instead take pride in keeping other people from scoring. Self is a believer that, especially away from home, you don't want the other team to get rhythm. If you look at last year's NCAA Tournament, most of KU's games had no rhythm. Self likes games when he thinks his team is not playing that well and he looks up, and the Jayhawks are up five.
• KU has high-tech equipment that shows if players are fatigued when they are working out. KU strength and conditioning coordinator Andrea Hudy can tell fatigue factors based on exercises. Self thinks having a couple extras days between games has helped his team. KU took Tuesday off, and on Wednesday, it had a 35-minute shooting practice. KU will get back to business today.