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UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS BASKETBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE


November 14, 2014


Bill Self


UC SANTA BARBARA ¬Ė 59
KANSAS ¬Ė 69


Q.  What did you think of Devonte’ Graham’s play tonight?
COACH SELF:  I thought that after he made a couple bad plays the first time he was in there and after he subbed back in, he's the best player in the game the first half.  I thought he was good considering Frank (Mason III) was out.  And he did some good things, made some shots.  We definitely needed him.  I thought that he and Cliff (Alexander) bailed us out as anybody else.

Q.  Where was Kelly Oubre, Jr., tonight?
COACH SELF:  What do you mean?

Q.  Why did he only play four minutes?
COACH SELF:  It was a coaches’ decision. We were just trying to do what was best for our team. It’s not a knock to Kelly, he’s just young.

Q.  You said that you expected UC Santa Barbara to come in and play with you guys. Did tonight’s game play out like you expected it to?
COACH SELF:  I don't know if it played out that way, I didn’t think we could guard the big fellow (Alan Williams).  I thought we actually did a pretty good job of guarding him.  We went soft a little bit there his last four post touches, but we didn't do anything to impede his progress or anything.
So he's a good player, but he still got his‑‑ but I thought they would give us some problems.¬† And I didn't think we would probably play any better than that defensively or rebound the ball, but I thought we would be better offensively.

Q.  Did you see your team play with the defensive mindset you like to see in the first half?
COACH SELF:  We guarded them, held them to 23 (points) and turned them over some and dominated the glass in the second half.
I could be wrong, but I think we were even on the glass and they shoot 50 percent.
So, obviously, we didn't go as good a job in the second half, but it's a little misleading, because the first half, even though we guarded them well, we put them on the free‑throw line.
In the second half, we didn't guard them tight enough to foul, so obviously, they didn’t shoot free throws the second half.

Q.  Do you foresee balanced scoring throughout the season?
COACH SELF:  Yeah, I think so.  I think Perry (Ellis) should be our leading scorer, hands down.  I think he will be.
But we don't have a dominant guy who is going to get us 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds) a night, so we need to have balance.
But I think Perry can average 16 or 18.  I really believe that.
We’ve got to get some other guys shooting the ball a little better and making some plays.  But the guy that goes unnoticed, I thought Jamari (Traylor) played great, but he scored two points.  I thought he was great.  He made a couple of bonehead plays down the stretch, but I thought Jamari gave us great energy.

Q.  Would you say he (Traylor) was your best rebounder tonight?
COACH SELF:  Well, I think he and Perry both got 10. Jamari had a harder job tonight to rebound, because he was guarding the big fellow (Williams).  So his job would be to block him off, even if he doesn't go after the ball and let somebody else get it.  But they both rebounded the ball pretty well.

Q.  Why was Williams so hard to guard?
COACH SELF:  Well, he weighs about 265 pounds and the longer you play the game, the slower the game becomes.  If you watch, he would get pressure, he would go post up, opposite the ball, and then wait for the ball to be in the scoring area, and then he would post up and stuff.
But he had 14 points with about four minutes left.  So we did a pretty good job on him for the most part.  But he's good.  He's got touch and if he gets to his left shoulder, which we let him way too much, he's great at creating space by just a little bump, back you down and create a little bump.  It takes away your jump and we're not big enough to play dead behind him.  So he's good, he's a good player.  I can understand why there's a lot of NBA teams that came to watch him tonight.

Q.  What did you think about Devonte’s flagrant 1? And then drawing that charge?
COACH SELF:  Yeah, it was good play to draw the charge.  It's probably maybe a little acting on that one, but the guy weighs 270 pounds and you weigh 170, you're going to look like you fall hard.  But the way the rules are, when a guy's pressuring you like that and he’s leading with his nose, you can't take the ball high, you’ve got to take it low.  And with the way the rules are, that will be a good lesson to learn for him.

Q. Did you think that coming in, Devonte’ would be this poised and this game-ready?
COACH SELF:  I did. I thought Devonte' was the most ready to play of all the freshmen.  But he's played the most competition.  He's a year older.  He played at prep school, where they played a lot of big games.  I thought he was the most ready to play as far as having an understanding.  I'm not saying he's the most talented, but it didn't surprise me that he played well.

Q.  Do you think that is due to the competition that Brewster Academy plays?
COACH SELF:  Yeah, it's a combination of things.  You give Svi (SviatoslavMykhailiuk) three more years or two more years and you give Kelly one more year or Cliff one more year, they're going to be better players, too.  He's a year ahead of those guys.  He's a year older than those guys.

Q.  Do you think your guys have an understanding between the two exhibition games and what tonight was all about?
COACH SELF:  Yeah, I think so.  We need to win games.  We're not going to play great all the time.  We need to develop an identity and I think a lot of times the identity that you don't want to develop, like we did last year, is when you score easy.  You you're not going to win unless you score, but when you score easy a lot of times, it takes your edge off.  We had a team at Illinois that shot 41 percent for the year and won the league in the Big 10, because they knew that if the other team scored there was a great chance we were going to get beat.  Even though I don't want to think negatively, we need to have that same mindset, without question, to really take more pride on that end and win ugly games.  Win muddy games.  And tonight was certainly one of those games.

Q.  Cliff had a good mid-range jumper tonight. What did you think?
COACH SELF:  No, no, no -- it was a good shot, Cliff. Cliff acted like he knew what he was doing when he took them.  But Cliff played well.  He got two quick fouls early, but I thought Cliff did some good things.
      One thing Cliff can do is that he can go after the ball.  I thought he was pretty good going after the ball above the rim.

Q.  With the Kentucky game just a few days away now, do you like that early-season barometer that the Champions Classic provides?
COACH SELF:¬† Well, we played in it three years and I liked it one year and it sucked two years.¬† But the competition is so tough; we played Kentucky when they were No. 1, we played Duke when they were like 4 or 3 last year, if I'm not mistaken.¬† Kentucky is No. 1, obviously, this year.¬† And the year that we got beat by Michigan State, I think they were like top‑5 or 6.¬† So it's a great barometer.¬† But the thing that will be real interesting for us is, there's a whole different level we¬íve got to play to be ready to compete against a really good team.¬† So it's the bottom-line business.¬† It will be, I don't want to say it will be just a toughness game, because it's not, but when you're as big as them and a lot of times looking at their rebounding stats, their best offense is just getting on the glass and go run get it.
We're going to have to do a much better job of being tougher in rotation rebounding and really paying attention to that because they're really good.  They're long and they're going to be hard to score against.
Cal (John Calipari, Kentucky head coach) is a good defensive coach and they’ve got so much length.  So we need to be sure we're really good rebounding on the defensive end ourselves.

Q.  What did you think of the runs by each team in the game?
COACH SELF:  I think every team (does that), that's the way we play too. You’ve got to be patient and then when you get a chance to have three or four good possessions in a row, you really take advantage of it.
There's been numerous times since we have been here that you're up 52‑50 and you go on and have a good three minutes and all of a sudden it's 62‑50 and the game's basically over.¬† That's the way teams should play at home; don't let teams score easy, but if you're not playing well, just wait for that time until you get a little run to kind of put yourself out there.
But there's a lot of games that we have won where we have been like that.  What we didn't do tonight when we got up 14 a couple of times, we didn't make the right plays or got careless, whatnot and allowed them to get back in.

Q.  A lot of those runs seemed to come from your bench tonight. What did you think?
COACH SELF:  I thought our bench was the best tonight. I thought our bench was better than our starters tonight.  At least a few players were.  So I think that's true.

Q.  You’ve talked a lot about the depth of this team. Did that kind of affirm your belief in that?
COACH SELF:  No, it's one game.  I think so.  We played 11 guys tonight and two of them didn't play a lot, but nine of them played quite a bit, nine of them played significant minutes.  Of course, in the first half, we had Cliff and Landen (Lucas) both getting two fouls early.  That gave everybody a chance to play a little more.  But we're going to be a deep team before it's all said and done.

Q. Larry Brown predicted an undefeated season for Kentucky. Is that unlike Larry to do something like that?
COACH SELF:  No; who knows what Larry's doing.  So he may be mad at Cal about something. I haven't seen them enough, but they're a team that could obviously make a run like that.  And they’ve got more veterans than what you think with some of their returning guys.
I would say this:  if they were to play every game they play, they’ll probably be favored.  If you're a favored every game, the chances are probably pretty good you're going to win.  So they're going to have a chance to be a team that could have an unbelievable record.  I don't know what philosophy there is, but the goal is to win the last game and sometimes it's best to have that confidence and win a lot and sometimes it it's best to go through some stuff where you have to kind of find yourself and grind through it.  But they're going to have, they will have a terrific record, that's for sure.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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