Bill Self: Weekly Press Conference

Quotes from Coach Self on the return of Padgett to the linup, the pending Richmond game, the Jayhawks' rebounding problems, and his take on the close race in the Big 12.

Bill Self Weekly Press Conference Quotes

On David Padgett:
"We are planning on playing him Thursday. It may be limited as far as minutes go. He did not practice yesterday -- he will not shoot today. We will run dry offense and then tomorrow he will practice."

"It's hard for me to say if his injury has derailed his progress. Up until the injury I didn't think it had been. My guess is that he will come back stronger than ever because he has fresh legs. A lot of times the grind gets to be pretty long for the younger big guys. Getting 10 days off in January will do nothing but help his explosiveness."

"David's role will change for sure on Thursday -- I don't know about after that. He will come off the bench on Thursday. A lot depends on his health and how he is playing -- how others are playing. His role won't change -- just who gets announced may change. He understands that."

"I don't think it's helped that we don't have him out there when it comes to rebounding. David has rebounded the ball much better since Christmas. Not having him out there hurts, but it's been absolutely ridiculous how we have rebounded the ball the last two games. We rebounded well against Colorado but the last two games we haven't rebounded at all. Having him back will certainly help that."

On playing a team outside of the Big 12:
"I would normally say it's a disadvantage but in this case it would be an advantage because we had nine days off just a week ago and if we don't play this game -- we have eight days off. I think we need to be playing games instead of just practicing. I think it's good that this game was scheduled and that we were able to get this game when we got it. It's hard to keep guys attention when you aren't playing games for weeks at a time -- especially during January and February."

On how practice has been going:
"Practice was good yesterday. It was fun, hard and long -- we had a real good workout yesterday. We took off Sunday and then we went real long yesterday. We are in a situation where we are just trying to keep guys' legs fresh -- so we went real long yesterday and we will go real short today. Wayne (Simien) can't practice every day so I would rather go hard when he is available and then give him a day or so to calm back down so that he can practice the day before the games. His schedule is different than most because of his groin injury."

On Aaron Miles:
"He's been terrific in Big 12 play and is leading the league in assists by a large margin. It's great that he is getting that many assists. The only unfortunate thing is that he has 29 assists in conference play and our next guy has eight -- so we need to get more balance in our assists. There are more people than Aaron handling the ball -- everybody else has to step up and make some passes to finish plays."

"When we run and the ball is in his hands -- we usually convert. The problem is that we haven't rebounded well enough to run. Our efficiency in running in transition is much better than what it was before."

"I think Aaron has done great. I think that sometimes when he gets tired he can get a little careless -- that's the only complaint I have on him at all. Here's a guy that's playing 35 minutes a game, our best perimeter defender, has to have the ball in his hands, has been a good free throw shooter for us, his assist to turnover ratio is pretty good and although he's been inconsistent shooting the ball -- I think he shooting it a lot better since conference play began. I am real pleased with the way he is playing."

On his relationship with Aaron Miles:
"I would say that Aaron and I have connected pretty well and maybe even more than I think. You need a good relationship with a point guard. Not from being "buddies" but with him having a great understanding of what you want done and what his capabilities are. I think we have hit it off quite well. One thing I have done with Aaron is that I have not put any limits on him -- he's going to set his own limits. I think he has responded well to a lot of freedom. I just want him to play and have confidence to go make plays -- shooting or whatever it be. He has the freedom to go make plays and he needs to know he has freedom shooting the ball. He doesn't shoot that many shots and he needs the courage to be aggressive the whole time."

On Aaron Miles' mentality:
"He's a true point guard. He has a great mentality to be a point guard. He passes first, shoots second but still with all that he understands, talks and can see the big picture. He is a really bright player. If we get a true point guard who can really shoot -- it won't bother me either. I think you want the best players you can get. The big thing with a point guard is that he has to understand that he has to make sure that others are involved. Sometimes you can shoot the ball and still do that. Aaron is a guy that makes sure others are involved first. If I was a player I would love to play with Aaron Miles.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a triple-double. As a matter of fact he has had double-doubles in his last couple games. He's one of those kind of guys that can run down long rebounds, so I think he could do it."

On the close race in the Big 12:
"I think it would be too early to make any kind of determination that it's the tightest race I have ever been in. We had a four-team tie in the Big Ten one year -- four teams tied for the championship. I do think that the discrepancy in the scores is far less than what people thought coming in. There is much more parity in the league then what a lot of people from the outside would assume. I don't think it surprises coaches but it certainly has been surprising to the fans and the media across America. There are a lot of good teams and a lot of good players. I just think that anybody can beat anybody. The one thing that has been a surprise to me is the home court has not been as dominant as you would expect the home court to be. Texas Tech has been great at home. I didn't expect Nebraska to have a chance at Texas after a tough game against Wake Forest or Missouri going to Oklahoma and winning. There have already been some quality road wins in our league."

On frustrations about the job:
"I think there are frustrations in every job -- I don't know anyone that has a perfect job. There have been very few frustrations. This is a great job and I love working here. I get frustrated when our team doesn't play like they are capable of playing -- things like that frustrate me. Those are good kinds of frustrations. I don't care if guys screw up or if they have bad days. What I do care about is if we don't prepare to have good days. That has happened some so far but I think it happens with all teams. That's a big point of emphasis. We won the game against Texas A&M, but we don't just go to win games, but to get better everyday. When you pass up an opportunity to get better everyday I think that's very frustrating. If you don't look at it from that perspective then it will catch up to you. That's the type of mindset I want to have -- regardless of the situation we have to get better. No matter how well we play or how poorly we play -- that's alright as long as we are preparing ourselves to get better each day. I don't think we have done that as consistently well as we should."

"I get sympathy calls every now and then telling me to 'hang in there' but I don't see anything wrong. People tell me that we are going to be alright -- I didn't know we weren't alright. I think I do a good job of isolating myself from some things because I don't have a clue what people are saying or thinking -- I'm not sure I really want to know -- whether it's good or bad. I think you can get caught up with what people think and forget about doing your job. When we don't play hard, don't share the ball, block out of free throws or finish games -- that's what bothers me. It's not what people on the outside are saying -- whether good or bad."

On Richmond:
"They are a very veteran ball club and Jerry Wainwright is one of the best coaches around. They are going to change defenses and they are going to run a bunch of different things offensively. It's a great game to play because it will give you numerous things to look at and help you prepare you. They run a lot of different sets but end with similar actions. I do like their team. They just won a great game at Temple. I am just now beginning to break down tape today We will have to play well against them. They went to Colorado and won by 13 -- very similar to how we won at Colorado. They are more than capable and I'm sure it is a big game for them -- it should be a big game for us. I am looking forward to it -- it's another game on national television, and we have to play well. "

"We have had plenty of talk that didn't include Richmond. Yesterday we spent all of our time working on KU. Today we will get into more Richmond and tomorrow that will be our focal point."

On Jeff Graves:
"Jeff bumped his knee yesterday but we don't think it's anything that will be a problem. I think Jeff is healthy and when you get tired you have a tendency to get knicked up at little easier. Jeff has played pretty well although I was really disappointed in our rebounding. A big part of that is Jeff -- he played more like a finesse player rather than a power player the other day and I don't think that will help our team as much. He understands that too so we have to get him playing like he was a week ago -- as far as knocking and banging and being a presence at all times. Jeff and Wayne have to do a great job on the glass."

On rebounding:
"I don't think that rebounding totally boils down to effort. I think there are some things prior to the effort that make it a lot easier for you. Whether it's hitting your man and then going to get the ball, blocking off or keeping your hands high instead of low -- trying to hold. There are a lot of things you can do but I think the ultimate thing is that the best rebounders are the guys who want the ball the most. The thing that is disappointing to me is I think we are more athletic than what we play. I think we have done a great job of leaving a game saying -- they were much quicker than us in rebounding the basketball. That to me is inexcusable and is very frustrating. Other teams have good athletes and we have good athletes -- we should be getting a majority of those balls. After watching the Texas A&M game there were numerous bounces that were strange bounces -- sometimes you don't get them with a long rebound. There were numerous times when two of our guys had hands on the ball and the other team came away with it. We have to be stronger in that regard. "

On being 11-2:
"I'd rather be 13-0 because your purpose is to win every game -- you are never in a situation where you don't want to win. Sometimes you can win, play close games and win and sometimes you can win, have a blowout and play very poorly. The object is to get better and I think if you get better day after day -- the wins and losses take care of themselves. We are preparing today to play in late February and hopefully into March. If you have one bad performance then you go home and it's over. You have to prepare to get your mind right to have a purpose each and every day so it becomes a habit, as opposed to turning it on one day. There may be some teams that can do that but Kansas isn't one of them -- we have to play. "


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