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Big 12 media days blog: Quickfire notes from Bill Self's one-on-one interviews
1:50 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
We're going to go ahead and sign off on our live coverage from Big 12 media days.
Be sure to look below for:
• Notes from Self talking at the podium and in one-on-one interviews.
• Short videos with Big 12 director of officiating Curtis Shaw explaining the new handchecking and block/charge rules.
Also, check back to KUsports.com on Wednesday for all of Gary Bedore's stories and notebook items from media day.
1:08 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
OK, here are some quickfire notes from what Self said during his hour of one-on-one interviews:
• Self still believes Perry Ellis has the potential to be KU's leading or second-leading scorer this year.
• Self says he never watches tape of his team's final game of the season after an NCAA Tournament loss. "Why watch it? You can't get it back. It's over," Self said. He said he's only watched one final game during his time at KU, but he joked that he watched that one a bunch.
• Self says center Joel Embiid "has fallen in love with basketball." He says the big man has great feet. Embiid might not make an impact early, but he could make a huge impact late. Self said KU only saw Embiid in recruiting because he was the fourth-best player on Brannen Greene's AAU team.
• Self said Wayne Selden has been "one of our best players since Day One. Period." Self says once the games start, he won't be overlooked by anyone.
• On the possibility of Selden being a backup poing guard for KU, Self said the last thing he wants is Selden thinking too much. "Could he do it in time? Absolutely," Self said. Self doesn't believe right away is the best time for that, though. Playing point guard requires a lot. Self compared it to having your starting running back in football also assigned to be the backup quarterback. He said that's asking quite a bit of a player.
• Self said at nearly every practice, 6-10 NBA guys are watching his players. He said that's a good situation that you want to have at your program. You want your guys to get exposure.
• Self said the biggest surprises for him have been the development of Naadir Tharpe, Perry Ellis and Embiid.
• Self said Tarik Black should be the best player he's had at sealing off defenders and scoring with angles. He's also helped Embiid's development.
• Last year, Self said KU didn't have a true low-post scorer with Kevin Young and Jeff Withey in the starting lineup. KU should play through the post more this year, and it's also deeper on the perimeter than last year's team. Self still said that last year's team at the end of the year would whip the team he has right now, which doesn't completely know what it's doing yet.
• Self didn't hesitate to let Andrew Wiggins do the SI cover. At the time, though, Self didn't know how SI was going to do the cover or the story. Self did think the cover was cool, even if it did perhaps add more expectations.
• Self believes the attention on Wiggins could help all his players, especially ones like Conner Frankamp and Brannen Greene. Those guys should be able to develop at their own pace, whereas in another program, they'd probably have a lot expected of them right away. Self said Frankamp was going to be good, as he could shoot as well as anyone on the team. Self said one improvement Frankamp needs to make is with his defense.
• Self said KU was teaching its defense a bit differently because of the new defensive rules changes with handchekcing. The block/charge change, though, doesn't affect Self's defensive philosophy, as he's never taught guys to take charges, even though guys like Kevin Young and Travis Releford were good at it. Self said he likes to have his guys play physical on the perimeter, so he's not telling his guys to back off defensively, because he thinks that might send the wrong message. The team might have to adjust principles, though, based on how the game is officiated.
• Self says his team has scrimmaged twice, and both times, it had three officials to get used to the new rules. His team will scrimmage twice a week from now on, and two officials will be present at those as well.
• Embiid will not be a rim-protector like Jeff Withey was. Self said his team was spoiled the last two years. Self said Embiid is good at shot-blocking, but not as good as he could be. Embiid needs to get it more in his mind to go after blocked shots.
• Self said he looks to NBA teams for information, mostly regarding how to guard ball screens.
• Self said Wiggins is a guard that can post up, and KU's never had that in his time there. KU will try to get it to him there at times.
• Self said KU could play with four guards this year, but he's more inclined to play his best players, and right now, the big men have been as consistent as anyone. It's going to be hard to take more than two big men out at a time.
• Last year, Tharpe was more comfortable being "a guy." "Now, he's the guy," Self said. Tharpe now believes he belongs.
• Self said Andrew White III's role could be first guard off the bench. He's listened to the coaches and improved nearly every aspect he was asked to in the offseason.
11:15 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
A quick note on the blog ... the updates might be a little more infrequent over the next hour or so, as starting at 11:30, one-on-one interviews start with both coaches and players. If you haven't yet, be sure to check out the Bill Self Cliff's notes below, along with the short videos that explain the new NCAA rule changes this year.
11:04 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Here's more clarification of OSU coach Travis Ford's quote below. Here's officially what he said from the Big 12's transcript:
"Well, we haven't talked much about where we were picked (in Big 12). We talk a lot about understanding what our goals are and what we want to try to accomplish. Winning a Big 12 Championship is something that we strive to do. It's something we talk about, but we fully grasp that Kansas is still a team to beat. I think any coach would tell you that. They're still the team in the Big 12 that everybody's trying to compete with."
10:49 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Some interesting comments a few seconds ago from Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford, who was asked about the Big 12 preseason rankings.
"We fully grasped that Kansas is a team to beat," Ford said.
I believe Ford was referencing most of the past decade as KU being the league favorite, but he also might be trying to take some pressure off his guys.
10:32 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Short note from our Gary Bedore: KU walkon Tyler Self will be out three to four weeks with a torn ligament in the top of his foot.
10:25 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
For those who haven't heard anything about the new rules ... be sure to take a look at the two short videos below. Big 12 director of officials Curtis Shaw explains — with video examples — how block/charge and handchecking calls will be different this season.
In case you were wondering, KU plays from last year make appearances on both videos.
10:04 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
A couple photos of KU's players doing radio interviews about 20 minutes ago.
10:02 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
The Big 12 officiating coordinator Curtis Shaw just finished his talk. Here are a few of the key points:
• Shaw says the intent with the new rules isn't to shoot more free throws, but that might happen early as players adjust. Handchecks have been moved up into the front part of the rulebook, so now, these aren't just guidelines. They're rules. Now, these handcheck things are automatic fouls.
• He says every game's officiating will be graded within 48 hours this year. The referees and coaches will get a copy so they know the league is reviewing it. Shaw believes this will help the referees and help find some tendencies from certain officials.
More from Shaw later, as I'll post some video of him explaining the new handcheck and block/charge rules.
9:40 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
A story from our Gary Bedore about KU coach Bill Self's reaction to the new rule changes ...
8:58 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Here's the full audio from KU coach Bill Self's time at the podium.
8:42 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Here are the Cliff's notes from Self's time at the podium:
• Self says there's as much anticipation with his group as any time he's been at KU.
• Center Joel Embiid has a chance to be as talented a big guy as Self has had. He's just starting his third year of playing ball. If he continues to improve at this rate, he could impact the league and also the college game nationally. He has a skill-set few 7-footers have.
• KU has been ranked higher preseason a lot of times than this year, but it seems to Self there's higher hype about this team because of the recruiting class and Andrew Wiggins. Self has told the young guys he has that there have been pretty good players before them that have been proven, and none of you guys have made a basket. Nothing's going to be easy, and those guys are going to get everyone's best shot. Those guys are looking forward to it, though.
• Wiggins hasn't asked for the attention. He deflects attention as much as anyone Self has been around. Self says the LeBron James comparisons and such are unfair. He just needs to try to be Andrew. When you're on the cover of SI ... you could go for 20 points and 10 rebounds in the opener and be a disappointment in some people's eyes. If you know ball, Self says you will see Wiggins impact the team in ways that can help KU win that might not be points and rebounds. Self says the expectations for him should be high, and there should be hype. He is talented, and he should be able to put his handprint over almost everything that KU does.
• KU had big guards last year. Some of Self's best teams have had little guards. Wiggins and Wayne Selden can make plays off the bounce, but KU isn't going to change how it plays too much. KU will run a lot of ball screens for them.
• Self's initial thought with the new handchecking rules is that scoring will go up and good play will go down. Self thinks the scoring will go up because of more free throws. Self doesn't know if he rule change will create more shots; he thinks it will create more free throws. There may be games early when teams won't go up and down the court twice without a stoppage. It'll be good down the line, but there could be fragmented games to get to that point.
• Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart is the best competitor Self has faced while at KU. He wills his team to win. He's going to do whatever it takes to give his team the best chance to win.
• KU is going to make mistakes this year. The Jayhawks will struggle in some areas. Self thinks closing close games out could be a struggle, as you have to learn how to win. Self hopes that by league play, he won't be looking at his freshmen as young players, because if this tough non-conference schedule doesn't prepare you for conference play, none will.
8:25 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
More talk about the rule changes this year: Texas coach Rick Barnes believes zone defenses could make a comeback this year — along with pack-line defenses — with defensive contact being eliminated on the perimeter.
Barnes also noted that it will be very difficult for players to take charges with the rule changes. He said that in a scrimmage this past week, his team had three plays that he thought were charges that were called as blocks. After looking at film, he said they all were the right calls with the new rules.
Barnes said he'd like for the NCAA to continue to adjust its rules, as he'd like to see a 30-second shot clock, a wider lane and the opportunity for defenders to take the ball off the rim if it's bouncing above it. Barnes said he's in favor of an international game, so he'd prefer the NCAA go to the international rules.
8:13 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
I haven't seen many reporters from Oklahoma here, so that might let you know where college basketball falls in the pecking order as far as Oklahoma sports go at this time of the year.
One interesting thing — and it'll be a theme all day — was from OU coach Lon Kruger talking about officials enforcing handchecking rules more this season.
"It'll be extremely difficult (to adjust)," Kruger said. "That's what they want. If they're able to call it as they're describing and maintain it throughout the season, it'll be good for everyone."
Kruger called the change "as big as an adjustment as we've seen" in college basketball, and he included three-point line and clock changes in that statement.
The rule — meant to help increase scoring, which has been dipping in the NCAA for some time — is partially explained below.
The rules committee is concerned that various types of handchecking on a player with the ball drastically reduces the dribbler's ability to beat his man to create scoring opportunities. Accordingly, certain guidelines for officiating these plays have been inserted into Rule 10 and officials are instructed to call the fouls written within the rules.
Original post: By Jesse Newell
Welcome to Big 12 men's basketball media days at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Here's the schedule for the podium today:
8 a.m. — Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger
8:15 a.m. — Texas coach Rick Barnes
8:30 a.m. — Kansas coach Bill Self
8:45 a.m. — Baylor coach Scott Drew
9 a.m. — West Virginia coach Bob Huggins
9:45 a.m. — Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith
10 a.m. — Kansas State coach Bruce Weber
10:15 a.m. — TCU coach Trent Johnson
10:30 a.m. — Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg
10:45 a.m. — Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — Coaches' one-on-ones
12:30-1:15 p.m. — Athletes one-on-ones
Be sure to check back for more from media days as it happens, including Self's audio and Cliff's notes from his time at the podium.