Press Conference Wrap-Up: Coach Self

Kansas head coach Bill Self met with the media Thursday afternoon, to discuss the Monday night loss to Kansas State and preview the upcoming match-up with Colorado.

* The rule supposedly hasn't changed regarding contact to the head. They're just enforcing it. The difference is that it's now an intentional foul as opposed to a personal foul. It's a complicated rule if you're in a basketball position. The biggest negative he sees is it takes so much time to check everything out by going to the monitors.

* Winning covers a lot of ills, and certainly some things came to light the other day. He learned that the team doesn't handle prosperity very well. Their focus wasn't what it needed to be to win a big game on the road. They don't have the margin for error when they play other good teams to not be totally in sync and focused on what's going on. It wasn't that they didn't care or try. They just didn't give themselves the best chance, for whatever reason, and once it started going bad they didn't have great leadership.

* If you told him before the season they would be 24-2 right now, they would be pretty excited. The thing about these guys is they frustrate you because they spoil you. You see what they can do when they're on, and it's frustrating when they're not.

* The Twins are getting a reputation among the officials, but it's not an unfair one. He thought the call on Markieff was a good one by rule. He's not complaining about the officiating, but he does think when you see one you group the other one in. It's a natural thing that he himself does at times. But the Twins need to do something, because what's going on during games has hurt their team. Are they going to be willing to change, and it won't be much, to address those things?

* Why would you embrace, or not embrace, the No. 1 ranking? It's a moot point. Why even talk about it in the media? You don't do that if you crack the Top 10. It was all from an ego standpoint, regarding Marcus' comment last week about how they embraced the No. 1 ranking and wanted to protect it. He doesn't understand why you wouldn't let your play do all the talking. Why do you have to talk? He didn't think the comment was necessarily bad, just unnecessary.

* Tyrel and Brady are taking huge leadership roles. They've done a great job, and they've got the respect of everybody. But to him, Marcus and Markieff are the biggest leaders on the team, without question. Guys follow them more than anyone else.

* A lot of times in this sport, a negative can become a positive over time. When KU lost three out of five in 2008, they were still pretty full of themselves until the Oklahoma State loss, and then they got it together. Losing to K-State isn't disgraceful. They're a good team that on that night was very, very good, with a player who played like one of the best players in the country.

* What this teams need to do is accept who they are, and what they need from them. The biggest problem with the team in his opinion isn't effort, isn't talent. It's focus. They struggle with being able to maintain things. Distractions, no matter how minimal they are, if that was a factor Monday what will it be like in the NCAA tournament. They're 24-2 and the sky is not falling, regardless of what some people may think. But the reality is some things need to be addressed and they've got a perfect opportunity to address them.

* Colorado can really score. The whole thing with them is guarding and eliminating transition play, doing a good job on Burks and Higgins.

* Last time, CU spread KU out and drove on them, and it worked. They'll probably do some of that again. Guarding guys like Higgins and Burks is a great challenge for KU's guards, and they have to be better than they were on Monday.

* Josh is about 80-85%. Nothing that will keep him from playing. He's fine. It's February, and everybody is nicked up now.

* Thomas gets his sutures out tomorrow, and that doesn't mean he can practice right away. They need to check on the swelling and such, but he expects Thomas back and practicing soon.

* He always liked Thomas. He likes all the guys, but Thomas was a guy he really, really liked. And seeing how he handled everything he thinks Thomas has become an unbelievable young man in a really short amount of time. He's gone from a guy you really like to one you really respect.

* Frank Martin told him he was going to make the announcement about the Lisa Robinson Scholarship Fund before the game. From his standpoint, the situation at K-State is nothing but class. Obviously they want to beat them, but in the big scheme of things these are kids, they go through unbelievable struggles, so let's support each other. It didn't surprise him at all.

* It doesn't matter how Josh wants to play. It matters how they need him to play. Fortunately, the two are intermingled. They need Josh to be a playmaker in the half court, get to the paint and force help. They need Josh to be the player they know he can be, which is right in line with what he wants to do. He just needs the confidence to go do it.

* Mentally, Josh is doing okay. This year hasn't gone how he had scripted in his mind, sitting out games, practices and now getting injured. But his attitude has been good.

* Tad Boyle really liked it when they played Oklahoma State, and Self really liked it when they played Kansas, because they were the only two people slow enough for each other to guard. He thinks Tad is a great coach and has done a great job. He'll be very successful in Boulder.

* You can worry about free throws, but he thinks they've got good shooters. They just haven't made them as much as they should.

* For Tyshawn, Monday was a rough night. He knows it. That was probably as rough a night as he's ever had as a basketball player. The thing that was a little disappointing to Self wasn't how he started, it was that he couldn't turn it around. He thinks he'll bounce back. He doesn't know what the reasons were exactly, but he doesn't think anybody was "in it" like they needed to be to win.

* Everyone dropped the ball except Colorado on Burks. Self saw him play in the Missouri state tourney in high school, and was impressed. It doesn't happen very often that someone grows like he has, but he's become a remarkable player.

* There aren't really ways to project that type of late growth, but you can learn some stuff in recruiting - stuff about the mom and dad, and when they grew, and what the doctors have said about his growth plates. But if Burks would have been 6-foot-3, KU would have taken him no question.

* Self thinks Texas is the best team in the country since January. The toughest game they had on their schedule was in Lawrence. After they won that one, he thought they'd be favored in every game after that.


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