Big 12 Semifinals: Kansas Presser

The full transcript from Baylor's Friday press conference featuring head coach Bill Self and athletes Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden Jr., courtesy ASAP Sports...

THE MODERATOR: Okay, we're ready to begin with the Kansas Jayhawks, Coach Self, two student-athletes tonight, Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden, Jr. Coach, congratulations on your victory. We will call on you for an opening statement.

COACH SELF: There for a while I think both teams set basketball back, Mr. Ivan and Dr. Allen would have been proud there for a while. We kind of got a little rhythm offensively and defensively and really played well defensively and rebounded the ball. Certainly, we were on fire from three because we made three. We were 3 for 12, and that's the best we shot in a while. But it was good to have Perry and Kelly to knock down a couple right off the bat and that gave us confidence.

But the difference in the game, from my perspective, was that would he defended for 40 minutes and rebounded the ball great. And Wayne was great and having Perry out there gives our team a ton of confidence.

Q. Perry and Wayne, a lot has been made about the rivalry you guys have had with Iowa State. Is the possibility of getting them in the championship something that excites you?

PERRY ELLIS: Definitely, whatever happens, happens, we're just here trying to take it game by game and just go from there.

WAYNE SELDEN, JR.: Definitely, I feel like those are two good teams playing tonight and we will wait for tomorrow to see who we got.

Q. Perry, coach said yesterday you were a little bit hesitant about playing yesterday so he sat you out. In what ways do you feel like having the extra day helped you tonight?

PERRY ELLIS: Just getting more reps up and getting more confidence in myself and I did that. I've been working real hard. I felt today was the day, and it felt great.

Q. Perry, you did limp off there in the second half and didn't come back into the game. Could you have returned? What's your status look like for tomorrow?

PERRY ELLIS: Yeah, I definitely could have. It didn't hit my knee. It was just high up on my leg, I got bumped there. But I definitely could have. I'm fine.

Q. Perry, have you ever had a basketball injury before? Was that any reason to want to get back on the court and see how it felt?

PERRY ELLIS: I would say this was my most serious one I've had and I was definitely anxious to get back out there to feel it out, and it felt great.

Q. Both players, can you talk about the defensive effort you guys had tonight?

WAYNE SELDEN, JR.: We knew we hadn't been playing defense to our capability in recent games and we wanted to get out and pressure their guard and try to deny the passes and play with a lot of energy.

PERRY ELLIS: Like he said, just gettin' out there and gettin' after it, and I feel like we did a great job, great job tonight.

THE MODERATOR: Okay, guys, we will let you return to the locker room. Good luck tomorrow.

Q. Just talk a little bit more about the defensive effort. That was their lowest point total of the season.

COACH SELF: I think we did a really good job in everything tonight defensively with the exception of transition defense. It has down they only got 10 points, but there was more points than that in transition because of follow-up shots or whatnot.

I thought we defended 'em well. Let's be real - they missed some open looks, too, but that's part of it. But with the exception of keeping Rico off the glass, we rebounded the ball very well against a team that's a great rebounding team. I thought the mindset was, you know, we can't -- because we hadn't made shots lately obviously, if we can't depend on that, we can depend on making sure the other team doesn't play well and we actually did that pretty well.

Q. Coach, what were the keys to stopping Rico Gathers? You held him to 11 points and forced five turnovers, his career high.

COACH SELF: The key is he got better than his average on both, I think. He may be averaging more than 11. He got 13 rebounds. I don't know that we did a good job of stopping him. But what we did do a good job of is we trapped him early, which led to maybe a couple of missed shots. But we did do a good job of challenging his shots high and he made a great left-handed hook to start the game from about six feet, which was a hard shot.

But for the most part, we didn't give him angles. Even when he got an offensive rebound, we usually fouled him before he had a chance to have an and-one or whatnot. So I don't know if we did a great job, but we were able to throw more bodies at him. And those guys, Landen especially competed hard against him.

Q. Coach, Wayne had 20 points, were you pleased with how your team attacked the rim?

COACH SELF: I thought Wayne did a much better job. He settles too much in my opinion. He did a much better job of getting to the free-throw line, didn't make his free-throws great but he was much more aggressive and he seemed to me like he had much more balance. He's been laboring and it's been fairly well documented, but I think today he was a basketball player and you score when you don't worry about scoring.

Now, we weren't any good offensively for the most part the whole game and they had a lot to do with that from a rhythm standpoint, but we did take advantage of getting to the free-throw line by driving the ball.

Q. Was it purposeful to start the game with threes or is that just what the defense gave you?

COACH SELF: I told them if they're open to shoot it and hoped like hell that they wouldn't! (Laughter.)

The thing about it is if we're going to make two threes, you don't think the bigs and Kelly would line 'em up and knock it down. When a team plays zone and you only shoot 12 threes, you're not exactly playing to shoot the ball from beyond the arc. But we did fine. We didn't attack their zone great. They played it differently than they did either other time that they played us. But I was really pleased with our guys because we won the game with what I think coaches take most pride in is we played tough, rebounded and we defended.

Q. Bill, I guess one way to look at your team is it's versatile, finds different ways to win, another way is maybe you don't know how you're going to find a way all the time. Defense was a big deal tonight. Is this as much of a find-a-way-to-win type of team as you have had at Kansas?

COACH SELF: I think so. The thing about it is, when you -- we've got a pretty good team, but, hey, Baylor arguably is as good as anybody in our league and they've been on a role and things like that.

I think sometimes when it's not very artistic, I think people say, well, you didn't play well. If we wanted to play a pretty game with Baylor, they would probably beat our butts. So I think we did a good job of making it a game with no rhythm and I do think our guys find a way to win. Last night we found a way to win ugly, I don't see that being the case at all tonight.

I think it was more of a good defensive energy rebounding-type effort which is the formula for winning in the NCAA Tournament, too, because you can never bank on shots going in.

Q. How eager was Perry to get out there? How did he look and did he tweak it there late in the game?

COACH SELF: Well, you know Perry covering him, his personality, he just exudes so much enthusiasm that I really didn't know how eager he was. He is stoned-faced all the time. You could tell he was excited, he was in the zone, way excited to be out there. I didn't know if we would play him that many minutes and I could have put him back in, but we had the game.

The bottom line is he's going to let his leg hit, that's basketball. It's just like a running back gets hit. You gotta get hit and realize you're okay and that's what happened there. So he should be fine and there should be no problems tomorrow.

Q. Were you surprised to see Baylor shoot as much as they did in the first half rather than testing Perry or Jamari inside a little more than they could have?

COACH SELF: I don't know. They did take ten threes the first half, but I thought we did a pretty good job defending them. And when you trap the post, I think sometimes that discourages people from throwing it in there a lot. Not really surprised at all.

Courtesy ASAP Sports


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