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Cliff's Notes: Bill Self press conference, 1/3/12


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

Full press conference audio has been posted.

Self thinks Kansas State is probably more balanced without Jacob Pullen, but Self also saw Pullen put up 38 points against KU, and KSU was pretty good that night. KSU is more balanced this year, though. Self is glad that Pullen graduated for KU's sake, though.

There are certain stats that consider effort. Self wishes they kept a stat of what percentage of the time that you get 50-50 balls. That's what determines who wins and loses games. That's more important than screening and feeding the post and things like that. Self says Frank Martin's teams are always good at getting those loose balls and stealing extra possessions. Kansas State gets 42 percent of its misses back, which is an alarming rate. Sometimes KSU's best offense is a missed shot, which is a compliment to the Wildcats.

Some things that go into good rebounding is forcing rotations defensively. A lot of it is effort. A lot of it is guards getting into the lane and forcing help. A lot of times people think floaters are bad shots, because they might have a 20-percent chance of going in, but you also could have a 60-percent chance of getting the rebound. For KSU, it's also just a mind-set of how hard to go after the ball. KU and KSU actually mirror each other, though KU has been better at defensive rebounding than offensive rebounding (whereas KSU has been better at offensive rebounding than defensive rebounding).

Self isn't mad at Jeff Withey or the other guys. He's just a little perturbed at how KU rebounded. If Self lets things slide in non-conference games, the chances are, when you have to be a great rebounding team and be physical, you aren't going to be able to turn it on and turn it off. Withey is going to be important in this KSU game, but the other bench guys are as well. Those guys have responded well in practice. They're excited to play.

Thomas Robinson statistically has played as well as Self as hoped. Self still doesn't think he's impacted possessions on both ends as much as he could. To Self, the other day was a good sign because, the more patient he was, the better shots he got. He was a good screener the other day, which opened up shots for him as well. Self still thinks there's a step he can take to become an even better player.

The game is going to be physical, and Robinson should enjoy that. The whole team should enjoy that. Robinson has gotten frustrated at times when he doesn't get touches, but a lot of players get frustrated across the nation when that happens.

• The culture for KSU is you play as hard as you can every possession in all ways. That's not just on the offensive glass. They deny passes defensively; they're in stances defensively as well. There are a lot of things they do that are part of the culture they're trying to accomplish.

• The times KU has struggled against KSU, it's when the Wildcats' defenders push KU's offensive players out of what they want to do offensively. When teams pressure like that, it may open up driving angles as well. Guards have to be good in this game.

• Tyshawn Taylor has played really well since the Davidson game. He's done a good job of taking care of the basketball. Though the game wasn't in doubt, the North Dakota game was Taylor and Robinson's game. KU was so aggressive against KSU last year in the Fieldhouse. But KSU also took six charges. The Jayhawks need to be under control but very aggressive on Wednesday against KSU.

This game is good for the state when both teams are ranked. It's good for Wichita State to be good. It's good for Missouri to be good. It's good for the league to be good, as long as it's not at your expense. Self likes the fact that there's an interest in the games that are going on around here.

Tyshawn Taylor is a pretty scrutinized guy, and he brings a lot of that on himself, partly just by being a guard on teams here that are really good. He makes a lot of plays you can't coach, but then he makes plays where you wonder if he's ever been coached. But that's him. Self is glad to have him. Self thinks Taylor has been getting better. KU can't afford to have him play to not screw up. He has to be aggressive. He's going to turn it over some. Self thinks there are some times when fans can watch a player too much and perhaps be more critical because of that. But Self has really enjoyed coaching Taylor. He's a kid that cares an awful lot.

If Taylor is being aggressive, Self thinks his mistakes are very limited. When he's not aggressive and not making a play, he becomes careless. That's not uncommon. Guys usually focus harder on a contested three than they do on a wide-open layup. Taylor can make hard plays look easy and easy plays look hard. Taylor has done a nice job tightening his game up in the last few games.

If players are listening to what fans are saying, then they're pretty soft. That's par for the course. When you play at a place like this, people are going to talk. But when you play well, people are going to talk. Self will live with Taylor's mistakes as long as he focuses in on what the coach thinks is important. And Self thinks it's important for KU to get a shot every possession.

Self thinks 14-4 would have a great shot to win the league. KU has won it a few times at 13-3. A 14-4 record might not win it outright, but you'd have a great chance to at least share the league title.

• Self doesn't know if KSU guard Will Spradling is the glue to the team, but he seems to be a steady influence all the time. When things seem to get out of whack for them, he reels them back in. He's a really good player. Self is impressed by him.

Self follows "Hawks in the NBA" in the Lawrence Journal-World. Josh Selby is getting a lot of minutes. Markieff Morris is kicking tail and is in there at gamepoint for the Suns as well. Marcus getting moved down to the D-league isn't necessarily a bad thing, because he can go get minutes and get better. The Rockets have several hybrid-type forwards. Self thinks the guys, for the most part, are doing pretty well. Brady Morningstar is putting up points in the NBA D-League that he didn't put up at KU. It's an adjustment period for everyone moving up a league.


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