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Cliff's Notes: Bill Self press conference, 2/24/11


Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self's comments at his press conference today.

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Full audio has been posted.

• Elijah Johnson will start Saturday. He's going to be starting with Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar.

KU wouldn't be dodging bullets as well as it has with injuries if Reed and Morningstar had missed time. Morningstar's stats in conference play are a joke, with his 52-to-7 assist-to-turnover ratio. He's also leading the Big 12 in three-point shooting percentage. Reed and Morningstar allow other players to be great without ego getting involved. It doesn't matter if Reed or Morningstar take three or 15 shots — that doesn't even register with them.

This year has surpassed, record-wise, what Self thought it could be this year. Self didn't anticipate losing all the players it lost and still being 26-2. The disappointing thing to Self is that his team lost a tough game at home to Texas. You usually don't run the table on the road.

• Thomas Robinson is doing great with his knee. Mentally, Robinson is close to 100 percent. Knee-wise, he's probably 90 percent. He should gradually play more and more each game.

With Tyshawn Taylor not playing, Johnson knew he was going to play a lot on Monday. It helps a lot if you don't have to look over your shoulder. He's more of a bench-watcher than Self would like, as he wants to please, but he often looks to see if he's coming out. He did a fabulous job on guarding Oklahoma State's Keiton Page. He had two screw-ups in 30 minutes; that's great. He made shots because he wasn't worried about hitting shots. Too many players worry about needing to score. He was worried about the right things on Monday.

Regardless of what happens, KU has proven it can take some hits personnel-wise and move forward. Only four guys for KU have had great seasons: the twins, Reed and Morningstar. Very rarely is there a case where everybody plays their best all the time. Other players have played great when they've needed to. KU can absorb some things when things aren't going well.

• So much of playing well late is being healthy. Self hopes that KU is peaking at the right time, though he doesn't think there's a magic formula. KU can still take another step to get all its players playing how Self knows they can play.

• Self doesn't think that Taylor will play this weekend. Self doesn't talk about Taylor's suspension with him. Taylor cares. He knows he screwed up.

Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel has done a great job of helping the Sooners improve. They're a different team than they were even just a month or a month and a half ago.

OU was Self's least-favorite team growing up. His feelings were much like how KU fans feel about Kansas State or Missouri.

Self said OU didn't recruit him. The coach joked that OU already had a slow point guard.

• Self likes OU's Cade Davis. He can get on a roll and make shots. Andrew Fitzgerald is Robinson's high-school teammate. Self thinks OU is good defensively.


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