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.


clevelandjayhawker 5 years, 4 months ago

Hudy with the science! Coach Self always makes me feel better about the Hawks when I have a negative outlook on them and puts things in proper perspective when I get too high on how great they are doing. Coach is also really great at building teams up, every opponent he speaks about you get done think "this team is going to be a challenge". Best coach in the country, period.

David Leathers 5 years, 4 months ago

I don't think Perry will crack the starting lineup until KY is gone. Young brings too much energy. However, you may be right in saying that Ellis is soon to get more PT.

nuleafjhawk 5 years, 4 months ago

Respectfully disagree RockChalk,

If (when) Perry gets going full throttle, Coach will be happy to bring KY's abundant energy off the bench to kick start the team. Every team needs a spark like that off the bench. I'm pretty confident that Perry will be a major contributor before too long. Just my opinion...

Ron Prichard 5 years, 4 months ago

I actually agree with CaliHawk. I'm not sure if Self has talked about this, but when the other team sags off of KY, he can set a screen for one of the guards who will then have a wide open shot because there is no one available to help. I did hear Coach Z (I have no idea how to spell his last name, but people in KC should know him, so Z it is) on the radio the other day talking about how KU should have several ways to counter when the defender sags off of KY so much. I think the key is not so much having KY hit the mid-range jumper, but having our guards come off screens and hit a mid-range shot.

One thing is for certain. It will definitely be enjoyable seeing which of our predictions plays out this year. I say this every year, but I am really enjoying this year's team and watching them develop as the year progresses.

nuleafjhawk 5 years, 4 months ago

"...because his teams never have the mindset to outscore folks; his teams instead take pride in keeping other people from scoring."

This, my friends, is one of many reasons why Bill Self is one of the greatest coaches ever. A great defense intimidates and frustrates the other team so badly that they are out of rhythm and out of their game plan most of the time. Nothing freaks out a good shooter like having a man in his face for 40 minutes.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 5 years, 4 months ago

Sorry guys. I have to say it...I'm worried about Tuesday night.

Can someone give me a little comfort?

HawksWin 5 years, 4 months ago

"By thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future." :-)

nuleafjhawk 5 years, 4 months ago

Matthew 6:27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

nuleafjhawk 5 years, 4 months ago

Wow - you have pretty high expectations if quotes from Jesus and an interview with God don't do it for you, brother. Sorry we failed you so miserably !

nuleafjhawk 5 years, 4 months ago

OK - how about this then? Ever see the movie "Just Friends" ?

Chris: I can't compete with this guy! Clark: You can't compete? Are you kidding? You're Chris Brander. You're Hollywood, you date models! He's Jersey, he skis in his jeans. It's Dinkleman. It's Dusty Dinkleman. Chris: Dinkleman? Clark: Dinkleman. Chris: Dinkleman? Clark: Dinkleman. Chris: Dinkleman. Clark: Dinkleman's going down. Chris: Dinkleman is going way down


Reuben: We can't compete with K-State!

nuleaf: We can't compete? Are you kidding? We're the Kansas Jayhawks! We're Lawrence, Ks, we date models! They're Manhattan, They date livestock. It's K-State. It's K-STATE.

Reuben: K-State? nuleaf: K-State. Reuben: K-State? nuleaf: K-State.
Reuben: K-State? nuleaf: K-State.

Reuben: K-State is going down. nuleaf: K-State is going way down.

KGphoto 5 years, 4 months ago

LOL they date livestock. "He skis in his jeans" is the best line from that movie.

Scott Smetana 5 years, 4 months ago

Win or lose, we could really use a stiff challenge from a decent opponent. Hard to come by this year. I can handle a KSU loss WAAAYYY more than a Mizzery loss.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 5 years, 4 months ago

We need a loss; I couldn't agree more.

I just prefer it not be in Manhattan, KS.

texashawk10 5 years, 4 months ago

The last (only) time KU lost in Manhattan, they won a national title.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 5 years, 4 months ago

Not true my friend. We lost there in 2011 as well. Valentine's Day.

Boouk 5 years, 4 months ago

KSU won't be able to score more than 60 against us.

jgkojak 5 years, 4 months ago

Glad Self is wanting to run - I have thought that we are better than just about anyone at running the ball this year.

I think he would like Perry and Kevin to be about a 20/20 split in minutes - and right now its more 15/25.

And we don't need a loss in THIS B12 - a loss to any of these teams, save for K-State on the road as a "rivalry" loss, does not help us.

I think this team would benefit a LOT from having a 16 seed / 8/9 seed matchup the first two rounds and is a little susceptible to a good 7 seed. So we need to be a '1' this year.

PSM 5 years, 4 months ago

Elijah hasn't made shots YET? He's a senior at the season is halfway through. Maybe he's just not going to hit shots because he's playing out of position.

actorman 5 years, 4 months ago

His percentage isn't great, but it isn't horrible. His 2-point percentage should be a little better, but 35% from 3-point range is respectable.

AsadZ 5 years, 4 months ago

slayr: I fully agree with you regarding Self giving coded messages.

I am a firm believer that from communication point of view there is no better college coach in America than Self. There are just even a handful of pro coaches that can match his communication skills.

He is particularly effective in front of media, and has a unique way of getting his points across.

I hope KUSports can start putting videos of his press conferences in addition to audio like they were doing last year.

jaybate 5 years, 4 months ago

~So far this season, when the games are close, Kevin plays 25-30 mpg. Kevin played about 30 against ISU, then Self tapered him off against TTech and Baylor, because the scoring spread permitted. Kevin's the starting 4 and will remain the 30 minute man in close games, unless Perry makes a nonlinear leap. Look at Kevin's and Perry's line scores for similar minutes against Baylor. Very similar.

~Self is shortening up the minutes on all the starters when scoring margin permits.

~What Self does seem to be admitting is that EJ is finding a way to get it done (what I stated before the last game) and that he probably isn't going to get better physically.

~We'll know how well Ben is by how little drop off occurs against Texas and in the next few games. Last season, when EJ started missing treys and Travis became offensively inefficient, it tracked to injuries we weren't told about. This ankle injury to Ben was impossible to conceal. I'm betting on a significant fall off in production.

~The ball isn't moving as crisply, because opposing teams have stopped shoving KU players and started holding them.

~Self's comment that if KU can't score quick it needs to move the ball sideline to sideline to tire the defenders' legs before attacking. This explains the weave. And it explains why the weave this year is not even being run to penetrate. Most times the last three games the weave has actually moved farther from the basket after each cut.

jaybate 5 years, 4 months ago

~Classic Self. He would prefer KU played fast tempo all the time, but he thinks his teams do better when they muddy the game and keep the game arrhythmic with defensive pressure. So: his teams play it however the other team wants to play it.

~First a team needs talkers. Now it doesn't. Arc across that one guys. :-)

HawksWin 5 years, 4 months ago

JB, If Self wants to play fast (like the UNC ballerinas), then I don't see how players can pull a stop while flying to set for D? D is a trade off for speed? This is my limited knowledge speaking. I saw that PT strategy where the bench got more PT when score widened in our favor - makes a lot of sense & save our starters energy. I wouldn't mind a L this Sat if Ben skips to be at 100% vs 85%. If that 15% isn't completely healed, I agree not only his Feb/March performance will suffer, but his NBA career & salary could decrease. Nothing is free, there is always a trade off. Always appreciate your analysis JB.

jaybate 5 years, 4 months ago

Ah, ralster, yes there is that dimension to be considered. :-)

But if you recall, when KY came back from his broken hand, Self was crying for someone, anyone, to start talking some trash out there. :-)

mikehawk 5 years, 4 months ago

I am convinced Bill Self as master communicator creates whatever reality needed to get the results he wants. He paints a picture of reality the way he sees it or wants you (and the team) to see, and behold, you realize you can actually see the picture. We scratch our heads and say, "wow, I never really looked at it that way before." He describes the game he sees and wants to reach in multidimentional ways using dialectic messages which temporarily confuse us and probably his players helping them to think about their games in new and different ways. He always seems to be talking to his team and players in these press conferences, as he looks at the press and us giving the appearance we are the intended receiver of the message. We get to go along for the ride and hang on his every word and each of the painted mental pictures he wants you to see as he puts us in the Bill Trance. How many times has he mentioned the word agressive in the same sentence with Perry Ellis this year as if to say..."Perry, are you listening to what I'm saying to you and and about you to every one else from across Kansas about your need to be more aggressive?" When a player reaches their ceiling he talks about how good they are, and you and the player believe it. When a player has a higher ceiling than their current performance demonstrates, he keeps raising the "potential bar" with his messages.

JayHawkFanToo 5 years, 4 months ago

I agree that if KU is going to lose a game it would be less damaging now than in March. However, saying that KU "needs" to lose a game is plan nuts. KU need to continue playing good defense, this is what makes it better than most other teams. A team with good defense can always fall back on defense when shots are not falling and still win games (see Baylor game); on the other hand teams that rely on offense live by offense and more often than not, die by not having a defense to fall back on.

I much prefer KU takes an ugly win than a loss any day of the week.

Kye Clark 5 years, 4 months ago

When reading about KU's high-tech equipment, I'm envisioning the training equipment Ivan Drago had in Rocky IV, and of course the musical montage :)

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