Kansas basketball coach Bill Self called Monday “a unique day,” and said on his weekly “Hawk Talk” radio show with Brian Hanni that the Jayhawks endured a long, productive and positive day back on the basketball court.
Two days removed from their third consecutive loss of the season, the Jayhawks did their usual round of lifting weights and work on the practice court but also conducted a team meeting about what needs to change to get back on track.
“What we need to do and buy into to be successful hasn’t been bought into yet,” Self said during the show. “We’re not aligned. We’ve got to all be on the same page. I think we understand that better now.”
Self said he was pleased with how his team approached the meeting and with the mentality they had throughout Monday. He added that he was hopeful that it would continue in the days to come.
“Today was a good day,” Self said. “But I told them, ‘Now, can we string it together 30 days in a row? Can we do it 60 days in a row?’”
The Jayhawks did more than talk on Monday. After hinting at stirring things up with some lineup changes and different opportunities for different players following Saturday’s loss at Oklahoma, Self said Monday night that he switched up the teams during Monday’s practice.
Starters played on both the red and the blue team during scrimmages and Self said some players responded with great energy and others did not.
“I definitely mixed the teams up,” Self said. “And we saw a difference in the energy level.”
As for what that might mean for who starts on Thursday versus TCU (7 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse on ESPN+) or what it could do to KU’s rotation, Self said simply, “this is just one day.”
“I’m going to give everybody a chance to play with everybody and then we’ll kind of see where we need to go,” he added. “It was actually fun to watch one team play today and it wasn’t very much fun to watch the other team.”
As was the case on Saturday, after the loss at OU, Self remained positive and sounded optimistic throughout "Hawk Talk" about what this team, which fell to No. 15 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll on Monday, can still accomplish the rest of the season.
In order to achieve their remaining goals, though, Self emphasized that his players are going to have to play for each other, sell out for the program and play the right way.
“If we don’t, it’s OK,” Self said. “It’s not the end of the earth. We're still in play to have a storybook finish.”
Self then drew a comparison between this team’s struggles and the record of the 1988 national championship team at the same point during that season. Those Jayhawks, which won it all as a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament, were 12-7 overall and 1-3 in conference play on the final day of January 1988.
“Now granted, they had Danny (Manning),” Self said. “But what was Kansas’ record (in January of 1988)? It certainly wasn’t 10-5. It wasn't that good. And they probably didn't play as good a schedule as we’ve played this year.”
Self continued: “They kind of flipped a switch. And that team went from not any good at all and they win a national championship. Now, I'm not predicting that. I'm not saying that. But why not us? I mean, we've shown that we can play at the elite level; we just haven't done it consistently. So it's still all out there in front of us. But we can't be a team or a group of individuals that says, ‘Oh, it hasn't gone as scripted and we're deflated by that.’ We're just getting started.”
“If we’re going to become a team, now’s the time we’re going to do it,” Self added.