Bill Self press conference notes: Feb. 13, 2014
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self had his weekly press conference Thursday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse, two days before the No. 7 Jayhawks (18-6 overall, 9-2 Big 12) play host to TCU (9-14, 0-11).
The Jayhawks rolled past the Horned Frogs, 91-69, on Jan. 25.
Here are the bullet-point highlights from Self's Q & A with the media.
• Joel Embiid's status: No update at this point. The freshman center feels better. The MRIs and things like that have been done, and they show that his injuries should get better quickly. A lot of his availability for Saturday depends upon whether he can practice on Friday. You think about it longterm, and they're not gonna do anything to jeopardize his health down the road. A lot of times there is no reason to hold guys out if they're healthy. Embiid's not doing anything at practice. Just dressed out for practice on Wednesday. No activity. Didn't even shoot free throws. He looks a little different — not exploding, not as likely to initiate contact. The big man just hasn't looked like himself.
• On Jamari Traylor, who didn't play against Kansas State due to disciplinary reasons: Self will visit with Traylor today and hold off on a decision until after they visit, but he anticipates that visit going well.
• KU's dribble-penetration defense: If you look at KU against K-State, the Jayhawks scored "all their points" on dribble penetration. It's the hardest thing to guard. In that particular game, KU didn't defend the rim "worth a flip" and allowed K-State to get inside off the bounce. Sometimes it is a matter of pride and want-to. Players have to be tough and mentally into it. On Monday, the Jayhawks didn't have that type of mindset.
• KU's ball-screen defense: There is a toughness element in fighting through it. K-State probably scored five baskets off ball-screen offense against Kansas. Three of those, KU's players probably weren't in tune to what they should have been doing.
• Self doesn't know what the players have learned from the K-State overtime loss, because they haven't played yet and have only had one 75-minute practice since then (the team had Tuesday off). Syracuse and Wichita State are the only teams that haven't had tough losses. KU is playing in the best conference in America and is 9-2. The Jayhawks aren't doing badly. But KU needs to be better at making other teams play poorly. They didn't do that at K-State.
• Brannen Greene was a spark against K-State. He was good late and helped KU's comeback to force overtime.
• You only play roughly 35 games in a season, so players should be excited every time they play. There are dog days in baseball, football can become more of a grind late in the season. The key in basketball is how does a player's body feel. A lot of guys are sore but they're not hurt. That's natural at this time of year.
• On Conner Frankamp playing well in limited minutes: All the role players have done well but they haven't had the same opportunities as their starters. All the players have done well, and that's great for the team moving forward, even into next year as guys who are coming back will be chomping at the bit to play a bigger role.
• TCU is winless but they'll get one before the year is over. It's just a matter of time. They were actually close in the second half at Iowa State, and Melvin Ejim scored 48.
• SMU emerging under Larry Brown and Tim Jankovic: To see the interest level and the new arena and brining college basketball excitement back to the Metroplex is very cool to see. They probably did that faster than a lot of people thought.
• Saturday, Monday format of the Big 12 is great preparation for the NCAA Tournament.
• Several former players have said they will be back for this weekend with the NBA All-Star break. Self probably won't find out until about 5 p.m. Friday that they need tickets. "That's kind of how my guys operate."
— Click here for complete audio from the press conference.
— Hear from freshman Brannen Greene and senior Tarik Black by clicking here.