Weekly Press Conference Wrap: Coach Self

Kansas head coach Bill Self met with the media Tuesday for his weekly press conference, and Phog.net was on hand to hear him touch on everything from the speed of North Texas and versatility of Marcus Morris to the status of Elijah Johnson and the progress of Tyshawn Taylor.

* Self was surprised by North Texas' Tuesday victory over Texas Tech – not to take anything away from North Texas, but more because he knows how good he thinks Texas Tech will be. Says North Texas is a quality program.

* Marcus Morris is the best all-around player he's coached at Kansas, and maybe ever. Doesn't mean he's the best, but he does so many things to impact a game. There are still some things he doesn't do very well, but when looking at a total skillset he hasn't been around anyone who can do more things.

* Wary of small-school opponents, but North Texas did a great job of getting their attention last night regardless.

* Most important position on court, in his mind, is point guard, because of how frequently he has the ball in his hands. Second most would be "an anchor."

* What they don't have yet – and he emphasizes yet – is they don't have somebody who really knows what it's like to have the weight of the program on his shoulders in certain situations. Sherron could handle that. That's when leaders are really developed. When Danny Manning played, it wasn't Chris Piper's fault when they lost, even if Piper didn't play well. It would have been because Danny missed free throws or didn't make shots, and that goes with the territory and being the best player on the team.

* Brady is the stop-gap point guard right now. He's handled it pretty well. He's not a point guard, but he's done a pretty good job.

* Elijah should be back by Friday. Self has to meet with some folks today to make sure he's taking care of business, but every indication is that he has. He anticipates Elijah playing on Friday.

* If you look across America, every team has trouble guarding the ball. That's the hardest thing to guard. North Texas is small but they're really fast, and that will be a challenge.

* Really pleased with Tyshawn Taylor. He's not "giddy" about anybody with how they're playing right now, because it's too early. But Tyshawn is trying really hard. He's doing what they want to do, getting uncomfortable and out of character trying to please them. Self really likes that. He feels he's going to keep taking off. He's worried more about winning and making winning plays than anything else.

* Jeff Withey is doing better. X-Rays are showing he's better and better all the time. Haven't held him out of practice at all in last couple of practices, and he sees no reason he won't be 100-percent from this point forward.

* It's too early to say with Withey about playing time. Could be a match-up thing. He does know they do need a long guy on the back end, especially defensively, and he is that. He believes Withey could be a rotation guy. Feels he should have a minimum role of what Cole did as a freshman (8-10 minutes per game), with a chance for much more – as long as he continues to progress.

* Josh Selby is good. He's a freshman and he's nervous though. Because he's been held out, the expectations have risen and it will be even more pressure for him. He just needs to take a deep breath, get out here and fit in. However, he shouldn't be evaluated until January, because he's going to be behind about 6-8 weeks. But Self is excited about him, because the team will get better with Josh. The team needs another guard who can go get his own shot, and that's him.

* No specific timeline for Selby. Still hopeful sooner rather than later.

* The source of frustration isn't anything bad, it's just that you don't know how to practice guys certain ways. It's been more frustrating for him and his family than for the team. Josh has handled it really well, and they're seeing a young man grow up in front of their eyes. No question in Self's mind Josh will spin it into a positive.

* Doesn't think it's tough to go to class despite the fact that he's playing. Brandon and Xavier, two other extremely highly touted freshmen, excelled in the classrom. He believes it will be the same with Josh. The thing about it is that's so misleading to him, is that kids come in with a reputation or a thought of being a certain way. That's under a totally different environment. When they get here they want to be a part of what's going on, and that includes the classroom. Self hasn't experienced one kid who came to Kansas who used them to help the play ball. Everyone has used Kansas to help get their education, mature and win. Then if it turns out good for them, fantastic. That's why they came to school here.

* Self is really proud of Josh and how he's handled everything. He has made a serious commitment off the court as well.

* Doesn't see similarities with the situation of Enes Kanter at Kentucky. Until a decision is rendered, however, of course he's nervous. But he's confident the decision will be fair and before too long Josh will be with them. He expects Josh to be a major contributor for them.

* Self is very comfortable with interim athletic director Sean Lester and the staff at Kansas. He knows they're doing everything possible to assist the NCAA in their investigation.

* When Elijah returns, he's the back-up point guard. And he's not a true point, but rather a combo. They've got a lot of combos. Believes Elijah is a good player who just needs to protect the ball better.

* Reiterated that North Texas has some serious speed. They've had experience knocking off Big 12 teams. Beat OSU a couple of years ago, then beat Tech last night. They've got KU's full attention.

* Hasn't spoken to the team about KU's home win streak. He will, but it shouldn't be their motivation. The way he sees it is these guys owe it to everybody else who has been a part of this streak, but isn't on this team, to make sure they're recognized as being a part of it. They should be playing for others every bit as much as they're playing for themselves.

* Self is proud of the streak. It's not the most important thing, he would rather win six in a row in March and April than 60 in a row at home. But there's no other place in America that can claim that streak of late. It's something they're all very proud of.

* His favorite win during the streak was two years ago versus Texas, but there have been some great wins. He said the crowd has made the difference in so many. The six losses they've had at home, four of them came down to the last possession. The crowd has been so hopeful in helping them eke some out that didn't look good.


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