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Cliff's Notes: Bill Self press conference, 3/7/11
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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• Marcus Morris deserves Big 12 player of the year. Self says you could argue for others, but he has been the most consistent. Self hasn't spoken to him since he won the award yet. Last year, Self saw he could become this type of performer. You could make the case he was KU's most consistent performer all last year. It doesn't surprise Self that he's taken another step forward this year.
• Any time you play, you might as well play to win. Self doesn't buy the theory that KU shouldn't be motivated for the Big 12 Tournament because it's already probably locked into a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. KU is playing in K.C. and playing against rivals. The Jayhawks' goal is to win the tournament. The team's biggest goal is to get better.
• The last two games have better prepared KU for the NCAA Tournament. KU hasn't played well offensively the last two games. Those were Big Ten-type games. Self likes those kind of games. Self likes making shots, but making shots sometimes is Fool's Gold.
• There's no question KU would like another shot at Kansas State and Texas. But other teams like Nebraska would like another shot at KU. It works both ways.
• Elijah Johnson has been good defensively. He's went from a guy Self didn't think could slide defensively to KU's best on-ball defender. KU got 43 good minutes out of its point-guard play against Missouri, when you combine Johnson's and Tyshawn Taylor's minutes.
• It's a hard time of the year to let a guy play through mistakes. Josh Selby needs to see the ball go through the hoop. He's practiced well. He just needs to continue to grind and have a good attitude. The ball will go down. He can still be a guy this year like Sasha Kaun was against Davidson or Cole Aldrich was against North Carolina in the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
• Selby is wearing a brace on his foot that goes all the way around it. It's uncomfortable, but other people have had to play with it. Self thinks his health has messed with him this year. He still practices full-time, though.
• Tyrel Reed only practices on the day before games. He may shoot two days before a game, but he won't do much more than that. He needs surgery after the season. He has a bad heel. It's enough to bug him.
• No one can fault Selby's toughness. The coaches know he's not comfortable. He's out there fighting, though.
• Playing three games in three days could be a factor for Reed's heel, but Self will play it by ear. He won't do anything to jeopardize his future.
• Self doesn't have a preference on who KU plays Thursday, whether it's Nebraska or Oklahoma State. KU wil work on itself on Monday, then a little bit on those two teams on Tuesday. Wednesday night, KU will focus in on the team that wins.
• Self likes that KU has a lot of fans at the Big 12 Tournament in K.C. It's also a big deal to the people in K.C. You get unbelievable crowds there. The interest level is high.
• Self likes Pat Knight and likes his staff a lot. They're good people. There have to be reasons why administrators do what they do. Self doesn't know why Tech couldn't wait a few days to fire Knight, but he's sure there's a reason. He hopes Tech's players play hard for their coaches on Wednesday.
• KU is 62-5 in the last two years, and it hasn't celebrated yet. It won the Big 12 title outright at Missouri, but didn't celebrate much. Self thinks he's done a poor job with his team about always thinking next game. His players have become robotic. The Big 12 title is a big deal. A lot of places would be cutting down nets, and these guys think that winning the Big 12 title is what they're supposed to do.
• Self is proud of his guys. He knows he has to do a better job of showing the guys how much he appreciates their efforts, because their efforts have been unbelievable. These guys have done some things as far as wins go that he couldn't have imagined in his wildest dreams.
• KU didn't cut nets after the Big 12 Tournament championship game last year. He's sure the players celebrated, but not in the way many teams do. If KU gets in that position again, he might handle that differently.
• Self thinks two league titles in the seven-year stretch that were most impressive were when Brandon Rush and Julian Wright were freshmen in 2005-06 (and KU started 1-2) and 2008-09, the year after the title team.