Press Conference Wrap-Up: Coach Self

Head Coach Bill Self met with the media one final time Tuesday afternoon, to discuss the loss to VCU, recruiting needs and the possible professional futures of several players on the team.

* KU needs to have a great spring recruiting class player. They need to sign, 2, 3, 4 kids depending on departures, and hopefully they're in a position to do so.

* With the new declaring rules, he thinks they'll know sooner rather than later. If anybody is going to go, he'd rather know now. Or if anybody is going to test he'd rather know now. But he doesn't know if that will be the case. He'd rather have everyone return, but they have to be prepared to go out and sign some guys, and hopefully they're in a position to do that in the next couple of weeks.

* They need a couple of guards or wings. What they need from a bigs standpoint depends a lot on what the Twins are going to do. He hasn't talked to them about it, so he's not saying they are or they aren't going.

* He could talk to NBA GMs, but it's hard to tell where people are at on the board because kids haven't started declaring yet. The dominoes haven't started to fall, so you can't find out where they stack up against others. The big thing is just to have an open line of communication with them and their families. Selfishly, they'd always like to have everyone back. But kids have to do what's best for their families when the time is right. If the time is right, they need to go - and vice versa. There's a chance these kids could declare and not get paid, due to the lockout. The one thing he would say, from a common sense standpoint, if there is a lockout - if the season doesn't start until February or whenever - it's hard for these young kids to go in when there's no training camp and no practice time, and show what they can do with the playoffs only three months away.

* There's really now way for him to accurately gauge information regarding the lockout, but he's spoken with owners, GMs and others, and he doesn't think there's anyone out there who doesn't believe there will be some form of lockout.

* There's no set spot projected in the draft where he recommends a player leave. It's such an inexact deal. The thing he would recommend is that if you're lottery, you have five teams who might possibly pick you where you might fall. It doesn't do much good to say "This team really, really likes you." Too many other factors to take into account if it's just one team. You don't want one team to like you, you want a whole bunch to like you. Because that one team, there could be things that happen in draft spots prior to them that changes the whole situation. You've gotta have multiple teams singing your praises. If you haven't gone in the first round, you've wasted it.

* The Twins were great this season. Marcus just missed AP first-team all-american, and Kieff had a year like Marcus had last year - a bust out year. To him it's the best front line in the country. They can still improve. Marcus needs to improve his perimeter skills, because he's going to be a 3 or a 3.5 going forward. But he doesn't know if the time is right. They can play at the next level though, and there are a lot of people who like them.

* You don't really get over something like what happened in San Antonio. Kids heal a lot faster than adults. With coaches and adults it's just a way of life. Your whole family totally throws itself into it. So it is hard to get over. He's been disappointed in the tournament 11 out of 13 years. It's a tough deal for everybody. The thing that is most disappointing to him is, you can throw out the seeds, but it was still set up for them. They were the better team, in his opinion. They weren't that day, but they were the better team knowing they don't get opportunities yearly to do that. And that's what life is all about - taking opportunities and making the most of them.

* It doesn't take away from the fact that they had a great season, but you can't really have a great season unless you play well in the post-season - and they did, for the most part. But this leaves a bad taste. He won't get over this for a long time, nor should he. Suspensions, deaths, injuries...all things added up, you never would have thought this team would be 35-3. They spoiled Self. No matter what, they found a way, and in that last game they just didn't find a way.

* He doesn't hear much of the fan chatter about the game. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, there's nothing wrong with that. It's hard for people to see, including coaches, to see big picture when the immediate past result was such a negative one compared to what they were hoping for. The further you go the stakes are higher, and that's why you do it. He'd rather be in the game and come up empty than not be in the game, and that's what these kids did. But when you do that, in life or whatever, there's a serious chance you won't get it. And that's what happened to Kansas. But that's also what makes it great. You're in the game. But he really thought they'd play for a national championship this year.

* They were tight against Boston, but in the other games he felt like they were perfectly loose. They played pretty well in the tournament. But the last game he thought the more shots they missed, the harder they tried. There are a lot of things that happened in that game that he thought should have gone the other way. Three-second call, charges - little things that go the other way and change momentum. So many things that could go either way went against Kansas, and then they didn't make any shots. VCU's defense definitely had something to do with that, but it didn't have anything to do with the open looks they missed in the first half. They weren't a good free throw shooting team all year, and it didn't cost them any games until the very end.

* Thomas has as much room to improve as anyone. When he plays well he's terrific, but he can be very inconsistent. He can become a much better player and his skillset is going to continue to improve. It's amazing to him the type of year he had, despite everything he went through. He had a great year, and he's going to be terrific.

* Josh is a really talented kid. We saw some of that early, and then it backed off late. The injury affected his confidence, but he's a terrific talent and he's going to be fine. Moving forward he can be a pro-type guard, but this was a tough year for Josh. The suspension, then the foot deal really messed with him and kept him from being himself, and that's all for a guy who had never dealt with anything like that before.

* KU projected him to just be a "guard." Someone who can score, but right now in his development he's really more of a two guard. Doesn't mean he can't play the one, but he needs to really work on it moving forward. He's going to be find, but he needs a lot of reps.

* The "choke" label bothers him. But the reality of it is they didn't play good for whatever reason. The experts will say whatever, but you've gotta win a lot of big games to go 35-3. None of these guys were contributors on the 2008 team. Then in 2009 there was no pressure. Last year there was some pressure, and this year he thought they handled it beautifully until the very end. People are going to say what they're going to say, but the bottom line is they lost to a team they were expected to beat. They blew a great opportunity.

* Self thought this team could play at a higher level than last year's team. They played closer to their ceiling than the 2010 team.

* He doesn't know if there's anything he could do better to handle the mid-majors in the future. They've had some pretty good success in the tournament, even though it might not look like it right now. The thing about it is, when you're a high seed you're going to play somebody that's a lower seed that you should beat. And the mid-majors fall into that category. It's not anything they've done regarding the mid-majors, but it's amazing to him they've had such success in the Sweet 16 and comparatively little in the Elite 8. He needs to look at what they're doing in that 48 hours, and what they need to do differently. This is the loosest one of his teams has ever been going into a game, but clearly that doesn't guarantee anything.

* They're working on a game in Wichita with USC. He doesn't know all the details. They played a home game this year and now they'll play a return game. They've been approached by USC to play their home game, a game they control, in Wichita. He believes it to be for financial reasons, as USC would keep the revenue in what is sure to be a packed arena. If it does happen, it's not KU's home game.


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