Media Day: Upperclassman

Quotable Hawks handle the press on media day.

Junior Guard Aaron Miles:

On Head Coach Bill Self:

"I think it is very important for players to have a close relationship with their coach. I think Coach (Bill) Self is doing a great job of creating that good relationship with us all. Previously we were able to see him coach at Illinois and he did a great job. He is a cool person. He is very social and laid back. When it comes to basketball and being on the court he wants us to play as hard as we possibly can and that is what we are going to do for him."

On differences between Coach Roy Williams and Coach Self:

"There are differences between him (Coach Self) and Coach Williams. However, both of them are great coaches. Right now we are just looking forward to starting the year off and having a great year."

On the season:

"I am really anxious to get back on the court playing in front of the fans. It has been awhile since we actually had the title game. I am looking forward to it a lot."

On season expectations:

"Losing Kirk (Hinrich) and Nick (Collison) was real big. I still think the returning players were able to learn a lot from those two players. Hopefully we can take something they taught us and add on to our game and add on to this team."

Junior Guard Michael Lee:

On the team:

"I think the team can be as good as we allow ourselves to be. It is going to be awhile before we fully gel as a team and really peak. I think when we do peak, it will be something nice to get excited about."

On getting back to the Final Four:

"It is real important because I think with every team that is their goal to go back. I am just excited to take it day-by-day, game-by-game. We have a lot of new players and new coaches with a new system. I am trying not to get too far ahead of myself right now."

On importance of starting:

"I feel I am prepared to start. Starting is not important to me at all. I just want to play. Whether I play the first ten minutes of the half or the last ten minutes of the half it wouldn't matter to me. It is more important to me to be in there at the end of the game when you have to close out a game. I think that is more important than starting."

Junior Guard Keith Langford:

On his offseason:

"I just try to continue to work on my strengths. I always need to improve free throw shooting and outside shooting as a whole. By no means do I want to become a Jeff Boschee or a Kirk Hinrich from the outside. I just want to be able to get shots and when the ball is swung back around, be able to keep the defense honest. Nobody wants to have a defender playing five feet off of them in the lane. I just tried to tighten up my mechanics"

On the 1988 National Championship team:

"I think that is real special. I think it is special for those guys that have not been through this before. I think that it will set a tone for guys at practicing and starting out the season."

On the season:

"I think there are so many question marks on this team. Whereas last year we already know that we had Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison coming back. They were proven players. This year we have to have guys do things that they did not do last year. Byrant (Nash) is going to have to do more than last year. The same with Jeff Graves. The security blanket is gone. We are not under-classmen any more. It will all rest on our shoulders."

Junior Forward Wayne Simien:

On the new red jerseys:

"I haven't seen them yet but there's a lot of talk about it. There's a lot of superstition behind it, that's what I've been hearing."

On the return of the 1988 team: "It's nice to see players from the past. It's definitely great to have the guys back to pay tribute to the past."

Senior Forward Jeff Graves:

On last season:

"I don't think I felt like I didn't work hard enough. I think I had a lot of obstacles to achieve and goals to set. I had a lot of things going on, like I was in a wreck and had a concussion. That set me back, so I had a lot of things to overcome."

On the team's chemistry with Coach Self:

"I'm feeling good about this year, Coach Self and the new coaching staff. I think the team is going to be alright, just like last year."

On his role being a big man for offense:

"I'm feeling pretty confident. I know if I ever got the ball last year and if the team would have done better, we would have had a better period working together as a team. I think the big man would have the opportunity to do that."


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