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UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS BASKETBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 3, 2016
Q. How have your guys responded after the first exhibition the last couple days?
COACH SELF: Well, we've only had one practice, so we practiced yesterday and it was a pretty spirited practice, and then we'll take off today by rule and then we'll practice Thursday -- Friday, Saturday, play Sunday, practice Monday. And then we'll leave on Tuesday and obviously not practice on Tuesday, so we've only got, what is that, just three practice days left before we take off.
Q. Is that the last one you have to sit out, today?
COACH SELF: Well, we'll sit out today and then we'll sit out the travel day ON Tuesday. We need to take both off in order to get in our 12 days.
Q. What did the film show you?
COACH SELF: I think we're a pretty poor rebounding team right now, and I don't think we're very explosive going after the ball. We had two guys get the ball, rebound -- two guys actually got a rebound the other night that was within one foot of the rim and that was Frank and Devonte'. Nobody else got a rebound within one foot of the rim.
So that tells you right there that guys aren't really exploding and going after the ball, kind of waiting for the ball to come to them. That's something we can definitely improve on and get better at, but certainly our big guys and Josh and Lagerald more so than anybody. They have got to rebound the ball better.
Q. Spirited at your request or the veterans' request?
COACH SELF: Practice yesterday? I don't think it was at anybody's request. I think the guys know that we didn't play particularly well in a couple areas, and it was pretty spirited. I was fairly demanding and they responded pretty well to it.
Q. Do you think Udoka had foul problems?
COACH SELF: I don't think he'll foul out in eight minutes every game, but I do think there's a chance. You know, he got a bum whistle a couple of those. The think about with Dok, if he bumps you, it automatically displaces you and gives the appearance of a foul where a lot of that is just incidental contact.
But I do think that was a good teaching tool for him to understand how important it is to play your man before he catches it, and certainly be able to move your feet and not put yourself in bad positions or in as many bad positions.
Q. You've got these exhibition games here and whatnot, but have you started on Indiana yet?
COACH SELF: We have as a staff. I personally have not, but I will start on Indiana -- you know, they played an exhibition game -- I want to say they played on Tuesday, as well, if I'm not mistaken and I believe they have one more, if I'm not mistaken, but I don't think they are scrimmaging.
But I'll watch and certainly have added clips done from the end of the season last year and their exhibition game or games that we have. But I'll get on that this weekend so really beginning Friday, just to be real clear, we'll start working on some things that we anticipate Indiana doing, a little bit Friday, a little bit Saturday. And then beginning Monday, that will be, you know, all we'll talk about besides trying to improve ourselves.
Q. Do you feel like -- you mentioned improving the rebounding. Do you feel like that can take a big jump in that short amount of time? You've got nine days now, eight days.
COACH SELF: You know what, I think that's a good question because I don't think you can just, you know, turn the switch on and automatically get a lot better at a lot of things.
But it's something that we have actually labored with the entire preseason is getting our guys to -- big guys, especially, to look athletic and go after the ball.
So I think that we will get better on it and we'll certainly -- that's on me to do a much better job of demanding it and emphasizing it more, but I don't think we can really get worse at that particular aspect after watching the tape.
Q. Vick's had some good off-season reviews. When he's playing well or what do you -- what is he, I guess?
COACH SELF: Did you say Frank? Oh, Vick. I thought you said Frank.
He's best athlete. He's best athlete, quickest with length and he should be a guy that steals us extra possessions, but he didn't play himself the other night, either. He's our best offensive rebounder and gets zero. I don't know if he had a steal or a deflection. Those are things that he can do. It wasn't that we didn't try. We tried. We just weren't in the right spots and probably just not quite as aggressive in attack mode as what we should be going after the ball.
So I would anticipate him being like maybe our most aggressive guy as far as creating havoc, and he didn't do that the other night, and he's very capable of doing that.
Q. Were you surprised Devonte' was a little quiet?
COACH SELF: I actually, you know, watching the tape, I thought Devonte' tried pretty hard defensively. I don't think he played great, but I don't think he was bad.
I think sometimes in games, sometimes guys get more opportunities to make plays than others and I didn't think the other night he had a ton of opportunities but he only had one turnover, I believe, and didn't get a lot of shots, and certainly careless defensively and some things that we can certainly improve on but I don't think he was poor. I just don't think he really ever got in much rhythm.
Q. In the situation in the second half, when Josh started to be more aggressive and took over, do you want Devonte' to do similar things, find more shots for himself?
COACH SELF: In some situations, I would say yes. But Josh, the way he scored in the second half, is different than the way Devonte' will score. Devonte' will score more off two feet, where off shooting the basketball, where Josh got the majority of his baskets slashing to the rim and things like that.
So yeah, I mean, whatever the situation calls for but I don't think that's as much Devonte's game as it is shooting the ball.
Q. Are you still trying to figure out what the best fit is for Josh offensively or what you can do offensively? Are you still trying to figure that piece out right now?
COACH SELF: I would say yes, but the reality of it is, he's going to be a good three-point shooter but he's not going to be probably Svi or Brandon Green, or maybe even Frank or Devonte' this year because he's a year or two younger.
But he can't play to that. That's not what he should play to this year. He should let the other thing set that up, as opposed to that setting other things up. And you know -- but he needs to be a junkyard dog. He needed to be an extra possessions, offensive rebounding guy; a guy that creates points in transition.
I've said all along, he could score 12 points a game and dominate a game, but he's got to do more things to get us easy baskets. And at times the other night in the second half, I thought he did some good things. But I even still thought the way he scored the other night, against Washburn, won't be how he would score against Indiana.
I think that there's got to be more explosive, more straight line drives, more athletic-type plays, although he did fine the other night in the second half. I still think there's an aggressive mind-set that he can definitely play with more of than what he did the other night.
Q. Trying to run the offense and then trying to be to be aggressive at the same time?
COACH SELF: I mean, there was not that much offense to run. I mean, we didn't run one play. We didn't do anything the other night.
If you have to think in order to do what we want to you do the other night, then we're probably a little bit behind, because we didn't do anything. I mean, all you've got to do is get in the right spots and we've been working on that for more than a month.
I don't think that's the reason why, but I do think he can get hesitant sometimes when he's used to just catching and doing whatever. He can hold it if he wants to. He can shoot it if he wants to, and the way that we play, he's got to become probably more of a ball mover and then play off of bad closeouts and things like that than maybe what he's had to in the past.
Q. Can you talk about some of your times going up against IU, their tradition and kind of what they mean as a program?
COACH SELF: Well, you know, I haven't had a chance to play them that many times, I think five or six is all. But when we were in the league, and of course when I got there, Coach Knight was still coaching, and then that fall is when he was no longer the coach.
So I didn't have a chance to coach against Coach Knight while he was at Indiana. When you talk about historic programs, they are certainly going to be in the top four or five nationally when you talk about winning and championships and those sorts of very good things. And you know, Tom has done a really good job. They have got that thing going, and it's rolling and they are recruiting very, very well.
But I think Indiana should be a game, or is a type of game that we should try to schedule each year, you know, whether it's Kentucky or Duke or Michigan State, which we obviously have a chance to play in the champion's classic, one of those each year, or an SEC Challenge Game, which could be kind of a traditional-type game.
But I think to get a couple of bluebloods to play, I think will be a great game. And it's one that I know that Larry and I have talked about, it's a game that I think would be good for both universities moving forward, if they are open to it. And I don't know what their interest level is on that, but I do think it would be a good game.
Playing in Assembly Hall when I was at Illinois was the hardest place to play in the Big Ten, when I was there. Everybody talks about other places and they are great, but on the nights that we played, that was the toughest; and in large part, the year we played them was one of the times over there they went to the National Championship and they were 16 of 21 from three, their guards were during the game. That maybe was one reason why the building was jumping a little bit. But we had some really competitive games with those guys.
Q. You have high expectations of Joel, but he's averaging 17 points a game right now, did you expect him to make that kind of impact that quick?
COACH SELF: Yeah, I think he's great. I mean, he's great. He's going to be one of the best bigs in the league this year. He may not make the All-Star Game in large part because he's not going to play enough games or enough minutes but he's great.
At the end of the season, you put his production per minute, he'll probably be comparable to the very best in the NBA at that particular position, so he just needs to stay healthy. I saw last night, if I'm not mistaken, was the second night of a back-to-back and played Charlotte and he didn't play. He didn't suit. They are still going to monitor his minutes and those things.
But yeah, nothing that he does on a basketball court will surprise me, because I think he can do just about anything.
Q. What do you expect to be the biggest difference for your team Sunday?
COACH SELF: Hopefully pay attention to detail better. We'll rebound it better. It wasn't that we didn't play hard the other night. It's just that we didn't play alert, and we played passive and soft at times. But it wasn't that we didn't try. I mean, I watched the tape. We looked quick.
We did some things, but we just didn't put ourselves in the right position as much. And I would like to see us take a lot more pride in our first two steps in defensive transition, getting in motion with the ball earlier, big guys sprinting back so that way they can help guard the ball in transition.
I mean, there's so many things like that that we didn't do the other night that are correctible that we've got to get good at real fast.
Q. Josh played way better in the second half --
COACH SELF: Yeah, he was way better second half. But still, to me, a lot of times, you guys look at points as a determining factor if you play well or not, and I don't as much. But obviously that's part of the equation, but certainly I think that -- and he'd be the first to tell you.
You know, I think he was nervous. I think that was the -- the first time he catches the ball, he goes once against three, makes a spin move, turns it over. And you know, that's not great for confidence, you know, when you just start.
So I think he probably started going south a little bit early and it probably was something that he didn't anticipate and a little bit hard to deal with. But I thought he did a lot better in the second half, so there were some marked improvement there.
Q. Can he help you with rebounding?
COACH SELF: He'd better. That's what he does. He's a 6-8, 6-9 hair, 6-7 maybe without. But he is a -- that's what he is. He's a rebounder, extra-possession guy. That's what he's known to be. So he's got to do more of that.
Q. I think he had three in the first seven or eight minutes and he finished with four. Do you think it was a product of, now I've got to focus on my offense?
COACH SELF: No. See, if that's the mind-set, then we're all screwed up, because the mind-set should be, worry about the things that are important and then the offense will take care of itself.
When you put so much pressure on yourself offensively, because I've got to do this or I've got to make this shot, you're going to not do the things that really matter. We get so hung up -- and granted, you've got to score points to win, I know that.
We get so hung up on what we do when we have the ball, and so if you have the ball, Josh played 19 minutes the other day. He probably actually had the ball maybe a total of one minute or a minute and a half. What did he do the other 17 minutes that you don't actually touch the ball?
And those are the things that we have to get better at and worry about, because when you worry about the right things, which I'm not saying he's not, but I'm just saying in that situation, with the question asked, when you worry about the right things, the other things come a lot more natural and there's not near as much pressure to maybe go out and show what you can do.
And I thought there was some of that the other night; the guys wanted to do well so bad that maybe they didn't rely on the other guy to help them do well. So we can improve on that.
Q. The two quick ones the other night, Udoka hasn't played a ton, Coleby is fitting in. Does he have to stay away from that stuff for awhile?
COACH SELF: I think so. We're going to play three bigs for the most part, and then we'll go small. And mentioned Dwight may play some, and they will play some. But the core of the team will be those eight guys probably playing the majority of the minutes, at least starting out.
And Dok will probably be the guy, you know, obviously with the least experience out of those eight, I mean, because he's very green. I actually thought Udoka did some good things the other night. I thought he looked pretty good.
He's just got to get where he just understands how to put himself in a better position on the court to maybe eliminate some of the things that he may do fouling and if he steps up the floor, maybe he doesn't give a guard to get ahead of steam and drive it at him because if a guard drives it at him and he slides, can't stay in front of him, as well, so it's going to be a foul if there's contact.
Just some things like that that he'll get better at, but I thought he actually did pretty good the other night in limited minutes.
Q. What did you think of his conditioning?
COACH SELF: Well, he only played nine minutes, or eight. I guess he fouled out in eight. So if he had of played nine, maybe I could comment better to it. I thought it was okay but not great.
Of all our guys, he would be the one that would probably labor playing five or six straight minutes, but I don't think his conditioning is bad. I'm so proud of him, how far he's come in a short amount of time, and it's going to continue to get better.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports