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March 22, 2015

Perry Ellis

Devonte Graham

Bill Self



THE MODERATOR: Kansas Jayhawks are here. Devonte Graham and Perry Ellis represent the student body. Coach Bill Self is in the middle. We will have a statement and then questions. Bill?

COACH SELF: Well, congratulations to Iowa State -- I mean, Wichita State. They were far superior than us the second half. They took us out of most everything that we wanted to do, and we didn't help ourselves by not defending in the second half. But I'm proud of our team. We've had a nice year, had a good year. We certainly tried to do very end, but whatever we tried, they had a counter. They're a very well-coached, solid, talented basketball team, and certainly deserve to be moving on.

Q. Bill, when Perry went down late in the first half, it seemed like your offense kind of ground to a halt a little bit. Did you guys -- the delay, did it cause a focus shift or anything like that?
COACH SELF: No, I don't think so. We had a -- I think it was 24-16 lead, and we hadn't run good offense; we just had really defended and rebounded. And then we bailed them out by taking some very marginal shots at best and, you know, we need to play through Perry. The bottom line is he went out for a short period of time, but he still played ample minutes, we would have had to sub for him anyway just because of the minutes that he played. But, you know, they really took us out of rhythm the entire game, because they denied one pass away, and really did a good job of pressuring out and really kept us from throwing the ball inside and that was a big factor that we couldn't score inside.

Q. Bill, how much, if at all, from a mental and a pressure standpoint do you feel last year's early exit was weighing on this team?
COACH SELF: Zero. We never talked about last year.

Q. We talked a little bit yesterday about coaching veterans, their five starters, three seniors, two juniors all scored in double figures. How big of a difference were their veterans in this one?
COACH SELF: Well, they obviously were better prepared, ready for the moment better than us, and we didn't play very well. I obviously didn't get our guys to the point where we should play up to our -- to the ability that we should potentially play up to. I do think -- it's pretty nice having some vets out there, and Wessel is a stud. To me he was the most valuable guy of the game, and to me he dominated the game from a loose-ball energy, and then of course, he shot the ball in the hole well. They were solid all the way around, and they really had -- Carter hurt us late, but he was out of the game in large part with foul problems, but they had four starters play great, I thought. And they were all veterans, and that was the difference. Then their bench came in, and there was no pressure on their bench to perform well because the starters were playing so well. So the basket opened up, and certainly they made the most of it.

Q. Bill, their guards and just their physical ability to make things go the way they want to, is that hard to prepare for? Hard to get ready for?
COACH SELF: Well, you know, obviously it looked like it was hard to prepare for, get ready for, but there are teams in our league that are physical, too, but they're very physical. I mean they're a very physical team, and they play much bigger than their size, and their standing height isn't all that tall so, they have to play tough. And Tekele Cotton is as tough as any 6'6 wing out there and Baker is as tough as any 6'6 wing out there, and VanVleet is tough, so they got tough guys. And Wessel is as tough as any 6-7, 6-8 forward out there. But I do think with our team, one thing that we have labored with all year long is when teams really, really, really got after us; i.e., West Virginia or somebody like that, and being able to handle the pressure to the point where we can get in the offense and get the ball in the scoring area, and they obviously did a good job of not allowing us to do that.

Q. Wayne Selden went 0-5, didn't score any points in the game. How much did the impact of that make you adjust your game plan?
COACH SELF: We kind of -- we've done it all year long. We kinda -- it was a make-shift plan. Things didn't go as scripted, obviously, and we had some guys, couple of guys that played well, and we had a couple of guys not have their best game and certainly we're the type of team that, you know, we shouldn't be putting it on a reserve freshman to carry us, and that's what we did today. But, you know, that happens sometimes. Wayne didn't have his best game, but he also carried us last week, too, so that's been the tell of our team is that you just never know which guys, and we just didn't have enough guys today.

Q. Perry, did you have any interaction with Wessel, talk to him at all? Also, how much -- was this the kind of player he was back in high school?
PERRY ELLIS: I didn't get to talk to him much, but, yeah, he's a tough player, tough kid, real smart, and he showed that tonight.

THE MODERATOR: Anything else for the Jayhawks? Yes.

Q. Bill, you talked some during the season about how this was a team that kinda had to try to find its way. Was that something that sort of worried you as you moved forward and saw better teams?
COACH SELF: Yeah. We've seen better teams in our league, and it worried us all year through our league, too. We've kind of had to -- and it's a credit to the guys that they responded well, but, you know, perimeter shooting has been fairly inconsistent and some other things. We haven't played through our post very well all year long, but we got better at that as the season went on. It was one of those games to me, today, that we wanted to try to do some things, and when we couldn't do 'em, about 2 minutes, 3 minutes left in the first half, it just seemed like the game never had any good rhythm for us after that. Even though offense wasn't great, we still played pretty well the first 17 minutes or so. We had a semi-comfortable lead, and we defended well, and then I think when Wessel made that three, when we were guarding him very, very well, I think it kind of took the lid off the basket for them, and they just dominated us after that.

Q. Perry, you knew how -- what this meant to Wichita State and how hard they were going to play. Did you have to do any convincing of your teammates or did you try to do any convincing to them, what this meant to Wichita State and everything?
PERRY ELLIS: Yeah, we knew, everybody was talking about it, and I feel like we all knew they were going to bring their best effort. That's it.

Q. Devonté, how tough was it in the second half, you guys always kind of fighting uphill?
DEVONTÉ GRAHAM: You know, it was very tough. How they were pressuring defensively and getting out in passing lanes, we couldn't really get into the offense, like Coach said. They was making us catch the ball out further than we usually do, and it was just hard for us to initiate offense.

Q. Can you relate to any kind of defense played against you this year like that by other teams?
DEVONTÉ GRAHAM: Yeah, West Virginia, the main team that got out and pressured us like that, so West Virginia was definitely a team.

Q. Bill, did I see a little zone at one point in the second? Were you trying to change things up a little bit? Were they that difficult to guard man? Were you just trying to change-up? Can you give me a sense for what you were seeing at that juncture defensively?
COACH SELF: They were getting anywhere they wanted to go the ball screens in the second half. First half we actually did a good job of that. Second half we didn't, for whatever reason, and they were able to drive the ball downhill and got the ball in tight and forced help; so we decided to go zone, and we actually played the zone pretty well, and we made them shoot a couple of deep-corner from their non three-point shooters, statistically, and it kind of took us out of that immediately.

Q. Devonté, how difficult was it to stick with those guards on those ball screens to recover and be there and I guess keep them from going downhill toward the bucket or popping it for a 3?
DEVONTÉ GRAHAM: Definitely tough. The bigs did a good job of screening us, and the guards are quick and very tough, and they could get in the lane off the ball screens; and it was hard with them making shots and still having to guard their quickness.

Q. Bill, we've talked about the in-state ramifications, but how difficult, how disappointing is this loss, given those?
COACH SELF: Well, you know, I look at it a little different. It's most disappointing to me because our season is over and we don't have a chance to move on and play. That's the biggest thing, and then the way that we played today obviously is disappointing, but we lost to a team that, you know, people make a big deal out of it because we haven't played in a long time and all the things that surround that. But the reality of it is we lost to a team that was better than us today and certainly deserves to move on, and these things can happen in the NCAA Tournament, but I understand it. It makes for us an off-season that obviously it will be hard to, you know, put this aside, I mean, because it's obviously going to weigh on us and it's going to weigh on others. I'm very disappointed and hurt that it happened, but I'm not embarrassed that we lost to a really good team today, and I'm not going to walk out of here with my head down, nor are we going to walk out with our heads down, because, you know, this happens in the tournament. Sometimes other teams play better, and that was certainly the case today. It's very disappointing and certainly I feel bad for our guys, because Perry said it, but our guys were ready to play, and it was evidenced we were ready to play by the energy level and how things went early, but we just weren't able to maintain it.

THE MODERATOR: Okay, gentlemen, thank you very much.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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