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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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• 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.