Cliff’s Notes: Bill Self press conference, 1/8/13
Here is the Cliff's Notes version from Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self's comments at his press conference today.
• Self said there wasn't any pressure when he talked to a TV reporter during a timeout against Temple. He just thinks it didn't do anything to help his team. It was fine. It lasted 30 seconds. But he doesn't think it's something any coach would enjoy doing.
• Self said the way Travis Releford is shooting is outrageous. He's taking great shots. Self thinks he can become more aggressive driving the ball because he's good at it. But the hoop looks huge to him right now. He has a great follow-through on his shot, even though it's a little different than some guys. His release and follow-through is soft, though, which is the most important thing. Releford has become more consistent with his outside shot. Releford is a guy that KU needs to play well all the time, though, whether he makes shots or not.
• Iowa State scores easier than any team in the league. They make a lot of threes and are great at rebounding. The thing that is concerning against the Cyclones is that their top seven guys have attempted at least 20 threes each. They turn the floor inside-out. They'll put their post players outside and their guards inside. After watching tape, Self said ISU is probably the best offensive team in the league.
• ISU is going to try to get Jeff Withey away from the basket defensively. The Cyclones are not going to change the way they play to do that, either.
• Self thinks KU's three-point defense is getting better. Anything below 30 percent from three for the opponent is excellent. KU isn't there yet, but it's close.
• Self wishes Elijah Johnson was aggressive more of the time, and Johnson knows that. The senior wants to get others involved, though. He can help KU out by getting paint touches off the bounce. It's always better to play in attack mode.
• KU's players were excited and focused in at film session when they started talking about Iowa State and the second season starting. Self thinks they're ready for Big 12 play.
• KU is proud of its eight straight league titles. Self says if you want to talk impressive, though, what Alabama is doing in football is impressive. Seeing a team win a title three out of four years humbles you. It's harder to have that type of sustained success in basketball, though, because there's more turnover. In football, usually a good freshman running back turns into a good sophomore running back. That type of thing doesn't always translate in basketball.
• Everybody out there respects what Alabama coach Nick Saban does. The thing that impresses Self about guys like Saban or coach John Wooden or coach K is that they're never satisfied. It's hard to not take the foot off the gas a little bit. That's natural. Repeating titles doesn't happen often. When you win a title, your focus can go to a lot of things with your players and your staff that have nothing to do with the program. What's impressive is that Alabama is even more hungry after it wins a title. Saban doesn't let his players relax.
• KU's Big 12 title run is not like Alabama's title run. KU's is from a local standpoint. The Big 12 title important, and KU puts a lot of emphasis on it. It's a little different with KU, though. Self doesn't believe KU's players are satisfied or over-relaxed after they win the league.
• Self says the team probably sees the league title as more of a responsibility to continue the tradition than an opportunity to add another league championship.
• Self saw about the last six minutes of SMU against Tulsa when Larry Brown coached against Danny Manning. Self joked that the low-scoring game was one coach Henry Iba would have been proud of.
• Temple will do well in its league. It played with great poise. KU couldn't crack the Owls. Self thought the close-game experience was good for his team. KU showed good leadership down the stretch. It had late-game situations it hadn't had yet in practice. Self wants to play well every game, but he thought that was about as good of a game for his team as there could be because of the experience it gave the guys.
• Self wants to see Ben McLemore score more and drive more and plug himself in more. He scored a lot of points early then went quiet for about 33 minutes. He's got to be able to do more than make easy baskets, which is what he did late.
• Withey had a couple good fouls in the last game to prevent easy baskets. KU doesn't foul hard enough. It barely touches guys when it does foul. Coaches will tell you fouling hard at times is important, and Self said it was good to see Withey do that.