Jayhawk Basketball Weekly Press Conference Head Coach Bill Self:
On KU's player rotation "I would say that we are at a 10 player rotation right now and that may get to nine, by the time we get to conference play or it may remain at 10. The reality of it is, because Christian is going play, of the three big freshman players, only two of those guys are going to get major minutes if they are playing well. It is hard to rotate three guys in there in when you already have Christian and Wayne playing. So I look at it like it might be a different nine each game. Hopefully we will get to the point where we feel comfortable by the time we reach conference play."
On being sensitive about playing time "I'm not, I think that if they were seniors or juniors then yes, I would, but really when you look at it, the only people that are sensitive about their minutes are J.R. (Giddens), Keith (Langford), Wayne (Simien) and Aaron (Miles), and they are going to play their minutes. Mike (Lee) and Russell (Robinson) are going to get their minutes. The perimeter players and Wayne are locked in. Will Keith play 40 minutes? No, he will play 34, and that should make him a better basketball player. Aaron is the same way. If the freshmen were older or came in with different expectations and promises, I would say that would be a concern. But right now, our players have known from the start that there are 40 minutes and the guy that plays the best is going to get the minutes. That 40 minutes could become 30 very quickly if they don't beat Christian (Moody) right now. That is where we're at right now, so I am not sensitive to that at all." On what he expects from the freshmen post players in the game: "I tell this to our big guys, `You are probably going to be out there three or four minutes. Don't waste a possession, run as hard as you can and focus in on what you're good at, sealing, rebounding and guarding. Play with unbelievable energy. If you do those things you will want to come out after four or five minutes.' The thing about it is, I have also told them, regardless of how good they're playing, they are going to come out anyway. So they should go ahead and play with unbelievable passion in the time they are out there. The other thing is, if they go out there and don't do that and the other two (players) do, they may not get back in. I hope that is a positive for our team, but that's the only way I know how to tell them, `Don't look at the bench, don't worry about making mistakes, just go and play as hard as you can play.'"
On the Jayhawks' defense early in the season: "From a meat-and-potatoes standpoint, I think we are doing a pretty good job. We don't reboud the ball the way we should rebound the ball. From a team defensive standpoint, we are not moving as one, but we are getting closer. We are doing some good things defensively, But from my standpoint, we are not creating as much pace from our defense as I would like too. I think that will happen the farther we go on, as the young guys get more comfortable."
On the biggest difference in the Jayhawks' last two blowout wins after opening with the close win against Vermont: "I would say the biggest difference has been Aaron Miles. Aaron has taken care of the basketball, we have run more and more effectively. Our perimeter defense has gotten us more easy baskets and our perimeter players have kept them honest. Against Vermont, we didn't keep them honest. They were able to play a certain way. Russell and Aaron, more than anybody, have been the visual difference. In the Vermont game, our point guards went 1-for-12 and turned the ball over too much. Since then, they have done much better, so we have been in the attack mode. We have played to our strengths much better."
On Pacific: "Pacific has had 11 days to prepare for us. Their players will know our offense better than our players will know it. I guarantee their players will be well-drilled and well-prepared. The last time we played them, they got one day to prepare for us. We played very well against them. I think the game was 53-53 with 10 minutes remaining. We finished the game great. Yango killed us last season, scoring about 22 points. We did a great job on Miah Davis and were able to neutralize him. Maraker can really shoot. He was four-of-five from three in the last game. They are really sound, and in the games we have scouted, they run as many as 15-18 different looks offensively in a half and you can't guard all that. What you do is teach principles and try to guard it. They are very well coached and experienced and they will come in and give us all we want."
On the conditioning of Keith Langford: "I don't think his conditioning is terrific, but I don't think it is bad. He is one of those guys that has been limited in practice. He has done what he is supposed to, but he isn't at mid-season form yet. He can still play 26-30 minutes per game. He needs to play with more high energy through periods of time when he is not scoring as much. I know Keith is frustrated with his situation but he is a lot farther along than he was a month ago and he will continue to get better."
On Pacific Head Coach Bob Thomason: "I think that he is one of the best coaches in America. Over time he has proved it. People don't think about a school from Stockton, Calif., being in that elite group. I promise people on the west coast and people in the profession know that he will have something up his sleeve. I think he really is a super coach."
On what he likes of his team so far: "I think we are a pretty unselfish group. For the most part, we have shared the ball. I think that we play hard, but we can always play harder. I would say that the biggest thing is that they really like each other and have shared the ball and competed pretty hard. If you do those things consistently, you are going to have a pretty good team, no matter what the talent level is. We have got pretty good players, and if we continue to do those things, we will continue to be a pretty good team."