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Cliff's Notes version: Bill Self press conference, 11/23/09
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self's comments at his weekly press conference today.
• Xavier Henry's scoring numbers are not inflated, but he did have a big game where he scored 27. Self isn't surprised at all by the scoring. Xavier has a chance to lead KU in scoring in every game.
• Self has been really pleased with Sherron Collins. So much of postseason accolades is based on statistics. Collins doesn't buy into that. He's only taken 14 shots in the last two games, and that's pretty unselfish.
• Brady Morningstar has been only back in practice for a week, but he's looked good. The offense has flowed well with him. Jeff Withey (still injured) is an unknown. Self doesn't know what to expect from him.
• Self says KU is not good at rebounding. The Jayhawks did well rebounding against Memphis, but they didn't do well against Central Arkansas. Cole Aldrich has to become better this season at rebounding. KU needs 10 rebounds out of him per game. KU has the pieces to become a good rebounding team, but the team hasn't done it yet.
• Oakland is up as a program and it should be up. The team returns nearly everybody, and it returns a 26-year coach. It's always a team that can beat some highly rated programs because it schedules well. Oakland lost a close game to North Dakota State in the Summit League championship game last year. The challenge could be comparable to what Memphis was. Self will tell the team that Oakland has a history of beating highly ranked teams.
• Self doesn't know C.J. Henry's role. C.J.'s been doing well in practice, but he hasn't had enough repetitions to know what the future holds for him. He's going to have to get comfortable in a lot of areas before a role is defined for him.
• Tyshawn Taylor hasn't played as well as the coaching staff had anticipated him playing, but he hasn't played poorly. Lots of players have gotten off to slow starts, and if you make shots, your whole game looks better. Taylor is a really good player, and he'll play better. The coaches have confidence in him.
• Brady Morningstar hadn't gotten first-team reps in practice until two days ago. The offense flows with him in because he knows how to move the ball and also because he can hit open threes.
• Self went to the National Collegiate hall of fame inductions of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson on Sunday in Kansas City, Mo. Self saw how much joy that they had when the open man took the open shot. KU's guys don't think selfishly, but Self doesn't think they understand how much fun things can be when they don't care who gets the credit. The team two years ago "got it," but this year's team isn't there yet. Morningstar is a guy that "gets it," though.
• Self tries to recruit the best players possible. You need blend guys, though — guys that allow other players to be as good as they can be.
• To score in the post at KU, the post players have to score before they get the ball — they have to score by getting good positioning. If players don't have that positioning, the ball needs to continue to move. Before you catch it, you know if you're open or not. If you're not, the ball needs to move.
• Teams are harder to guard when you have five guys to defend rather than two guys to defend. The 2007-08 team was like that. One game against Nebraska, Mario Chalmers didn't take a shot in the first 30 minutes, and Self told him to look for his shot. Chalmers said to the coach, "It's not me tonight." Self said, in that circumstance, Chalmers understood how the offense should work. Last year, Self didn't care that the ball "stuck," as long as it stuck in two guys' hands (Collins, Aldrich). This year, with the talent KU has, the ball should move more.
• Conner Teahan has gotten a lot better. How much he plays remains to be seen. Self has confidence in him out there.