Weekly Presser: Bill Self

Quotes from Coach's press confernence prior to the Pittsburgh State exhibition game.

On Jeff Graves:

"He's fine but has a broken nose. He has a hairline fracture and will wear a mask in practice the next couple weeks. He will be fine. Wearing one of those masks makes it real hard to catch and see. I doubt he will wear it in the game, but he will certainly wear it during practice during the contact stuff."

On the difference in this exhibition game from the last:

"We should be a week better. Last week was probably a bit too early to play an exhibition game, especially if you don't have all of your pieces put together. I think we made a lot of improvement this past week. To be honest, I think we are a lot better than we were a week ago, but we still aren't ready to play a regular-season game. Where we are this week, is where I wanted us to be last week. I would say we are a week behind in regards to getting stuff in and playing catch-up."

On last week's game:

"I don't think there is a reason to panic two weeks into things. There are some good things that happened. When Kansas played EA Sports last year, I think they won by around 20. At least we held them to less points this year and we hung 91 points on them without Nick Collison, Kirk Hinrich and Keith Langford. Regardless of what people may think, from a coaches perspective, there were a lot of good things that happened the other night. I didn't know that the idea of an exhibition game was to make sure that everyone left totally happy with the point differential. I thought the idea was to try and get your team better. >From that standpoint, I was really glad that EA Sports shot so well because it forced us to play in a hole. I wouldn't have wanted to lose the game, but we can draw from that game in the future far more than we can from another game because we were behind and we came back. It was a positive game and I think it was a great game to get the players attention. It was a perfect game to emphasize what we have been trying to tell them. I don't think we played great but on the flip side I don't know if you are supposed to play great.Tomorrow night our goal is to get better. I like when guys have to play with their collars tight. If anything, it allows the younger kids to prepare for the regular-season."

On Jeff Hawkins:

"He's active, fast and can make open shots. Keith and Aaron have separated themselves from the other perimeter players. As long as they are healthy they will probably start. There is really nobody else that has emerged and Jeff (Hawkins) has played as well as anybody else. The biggest thing is that he is active and he creates havoc -- things happen when he is out there. I thought that was as big of a positive as he had -- how confident he played."

"He is showing in practice that he can do a lot of different things and he is going to play. He has to be in our rotation and get some minutes. Another thing about Jeff is that we desperately need someone to get the ball in the basket at that position. You need somebody that can stretch the defense and have someone other teams have to guard. He shoots it about as well as anyone we have -- at least from beyond the arc. You have shooting and you have speed -- those are two things that this team really needs. What we also need is a ball-handling, passing guard. That was one thing that I was pleased about with him -- his decision making. That was probably the most pleasant thing to me. He hit singles and didn't try to hit homeruns. The ideal situation is to play him a little at the off-guard and have him be Aaron (Miles) backup. I see those two playing together some but he also needs to try and be the primary ball handler when Aaron isn't in there."

On perimeter shooting:

"Going into the season, I thought that one of the weaknesses would be perimeter shooting. That's why I think it's important that Jeremy Case, J.R. Giddens and Jeff Hawkins perform well -- we need their shooting. It's hard to run good offense unless you have two guys that can stretch the defense and most coaches would probably tell you that. I think Aaron is a good shooter and he was 8-of-10 the other day. I don't think shooting is what we should focus on with him. I think Keith is a little bit streaky but his stroke has improved tremendously. I think we have good shooters but it will always be a concern because I think we are going to see a lot of zones this year."

On Keith Langford:

"Keith is doing well. The last two or three days have been great. We went twice on Saturday and he had no problems. His conditioning isn't where it should be but he's doing fine."

On J.R. Giddens:

"His defense has got a lot better in practice. Offensively, I thought he did pretty good out there -- he was 3-of-4 in the first half. He will get his shot up if he is out there long enough. I thought he was aggressive in that area. I think he just needs to learn how to play. Shorten his passes to the outside, staying in his stance, jumping the ball. It is just repetition. He has improved so much in the past week. He is a guy that has to come for us. He has so much natural talent and can shoot the basketball. It is nice to have 6-6 guy that can really shoot. His minutes will go up as we continue to progress. He is not quite where he needs to be but he has gained a ton in the last week."

On the freshmen:

"David Padgett is one of the toughest freshmen I've ever been around. He learned a valuable lesson in the exhibition the other day. Loose ball, he went after it with one hand. A 250-pound guy went after it with two hands. They got a lay-up off the deal. The things you emphasize will come through repetition."

"I think in high school if you are good player you have to score a lot of points for your team to be successful. I would rather teach a guy how to guard than how to score. We recruit guys that hopefully are hard to guard. (The freshmen) have come a long way in three weeks. Strength has a lot to do with it early on. Strength also has a lot to do with offense -- being able to get open when you are one pass away. They are just time away."

On preparing for Pittsburg State:

"We are practicing. Coach Iba will probably change defense against us every possession. Right now we are working on what we do. We will go over scouting report because we respect all of our opponents. We will tell the guys what we think is important to guard against Pittsburg State. For the most part, we will focus on Kansas."

On how long it will take the players to buy in:

"The thing about taking over a situation, you have to win games early. Sometimes you win games early and you aren't where you need to be. I really believe it will take awhile. It will not take awhile to get them to want to do it. It is not going to take awhile to get me to believe in them. It will take awhile to get them to react instead of thinking about what I want them to do. Usually that takes time. We get out of school on the 19th (Dec.) and do not come back until the 23rd (Jan.). We've got five weeks just for ball. That is when you get better. It is going to take time. I am pleased we are doing things right and things are starting to become instinctive. We are all creatures of habit. When you are used to doing something a certain way for a long period of time. Then somebody else says that way was fine but we are going to do it this way. Under fire you probably resort back to what was most comfortable. Hopefully it will be sooner than Christmas but our guys understand that."

"We are not going to prepare a certain way just to win that one game. What we are trying to do is win in February or March. We are not going to quick fix things right now. We may do some things later in the season but right now we are going to continue to do what we are doing. We are going to try and win every game. The objective is to win the war and not the battle. As coaches you can do things -- to put a band-aid on some things -- to try and win the battle. I think the NFL has four or five exhibition games, I don't think anybody gets hung up on what the scores were in those games because you are trying to learn about your team."

On playing exhibitions against Division II programs:

"I hope the rule changes to not allow you to play exhibition games against non-four year institutions. Then you can play both exhibition games against Division II programs. In the future we will continue to play Division II programs but I don't know that we will continue to play two of them if we can't play them both as exhibitions. I think this is a great exhibition game. From there perspective they would rather play them as exhibition games than regular season too. They don't count on your win-loss record. Legislation is out there to try and eliminate the exhibition games from AAU-type programs."

On the freshmen:

"I was concerned about what happened in practice the next day just as much as what happened in the game. J.R. (Giddens) has come a long way. Jeremy Case has been solid. Omar (Wilkes) hasn't had a chance to do a lot lately, but he is getting better. David Padgett has been terrific. He impresses me everyday in practice. He wants it bad. (Padgett) is not your typical freshman."

On the offense:

"None of us are very comfortable with anything right now. This offense can be really good for these guys. If you got some big bodies and some guys that can be good sealers. We got a couple of guys that can shoot us something from up there. I think it will be good for us."

On tomorrow night's starters:

"I don't know if he will start tomorrow but he has performed at a high level. He plays every day. That is another example of wanting to do what is best for your team over time not what is best for your team today. I don't know how that will play out. With Jeff (Graves), Wayne (Simien) and David (Padgett) -- if I was those I guys I would care less who started -- they are all going to play the same amount of minutes. We have three starters inside but only two of them will run out for introductions. We may not start, David (Padgett), our most effective guy. If everybody is going to play the same minutes then he may play better at the end of the game instead of the start of the game. Jeff (Graves) usually fouls at the start of the game. Now you are playing out of a foul situation. We are going to try and play it by feel."

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