Cliff’s Notes: Bill Self at Media Day, 10/12/10

Here is the Cliff’s Notes version of Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self’s comments at KU media day today.

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Full audio has been posted.
Self says his team will be more athletic this year than it has been in the last few years.

Without question, Self thinks his team’s speed will be one of its strengths. The Jayhawks will be able to pressure more defensively this year.

Self thinks Mario Little is a guy who can put points up no matter how many minutes he’s played.

Self says KU shouldn’t have been picked to league. It doesn’t make much difference. Self says KSU deserves to be picked No. 1 in the league. Kansas math is unique, but usually you aren’t as good after you lose two lottery picks and the winningest player in school history. Self says, frankly, this year’s team probably won’t be 33-3, but it still has a chance to be really good by the end of the season.

Sherron Collins probably gave KU as much personality as anyone on the team, even in his freshman and sophomore seasons. He willed KU to some wins. Even when he didn’t perform well, he helped KU win games. This year, KU has guys that don’t have that strong personality that still will have a presence in the locker room and on the court.

There’s nothing new to talk about with the status of Josh Selby. Self doesn’t have any comment. KU has been instructed to not talk about it until it is resolved.

Selby can play Friday at Late Night in the Phog.

Nobody deserves to have a big senior year more than Tyrel Reed. What’s most important to Reed is for the team to have a great year. He has a chance to fight for a starting spot, along with a few others. He needs to be a shot-maker, but his whole game has gotten better.

Self says Reed doesn’t play to his athletic ability as much as some other players. He’s an impressive athlete, and Self isn’t surprised he has the highest vertical jump on the team.

The Morris twins have grown up. They have come a long ways since the first summer episode. They work hard. Self says that 30 days this summer, by the time Self had gotten to the office in the morning, the twins had already completed workouts on their own. They get it.

• On paper, Self would say Marcus Morris and Josh Selby would be ‘Face of the Program’ type players, along with Tyshawn Taylor and Markieff Morris. Having said that, Self said some of his best teams were ones where KU didn’t have a “best” player. Self thinks this team will be more balanced than the last couple years.

From his team leaders, Self looks for unselfish thoughts. He also looks for guys with good work ethic.

Josh Selby reminds Self of a bigger Sherron Collins. He also has some of that confident attitude as well.

Thomas Robinson has grown up too. He came in last year and wanted to do good, but he maybe didn’t know that he didn’t know some things. He’s 100-percent bought in to what the coaches want from him. He has had a good offseason. Self thinks Robinson could be a pro. He’s ahead of Darnell Jackson (a current pro) at this time in his career.

Markieff Morris has become more of a post player. He understands that he can score on the block and how he can use his body. Some things he does are hard to guard. Markieff has a good butt. Self says it’s funny to say, but it’s hard to get around his butt. Markieff will shoot more 3s this year, because he’ll play more. But he doesn’t need to fall in love with it.

Marcus and Markieff haven’t locked in starting spot at the forward spots yet. Self would be comfortable with those two guys being his two big men on the court (even though they are only 6 foot 8 and 6 foot 9), though.

Elijah Johnson is one guy Self doesn’t know about yet. He’s improved, but he’s yet to show all of his improvement when the lights are on.

Cole Aldrich was awesome. He helps clean up others’ defensive mistakes and was a great defensive rebounder. KU can’t replace that, but it can guard ball screens differently without him in there. It can full-court pressure more. If the Jayhawks do that more, they might be able to cover up some of what Aldrich provided.

Self doesn’t know when Jeff Withey will be back. He was progressing fine. Hopefully, he’ll be close to 100 percent by Nov. 1.

Self said this Late Night in the Phog is an important weekend for many reasons (hinting at recruiting reasons).

• Self thinks Thursday will be a great Jayhawk win for KU football over K-State.