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March 12, 2016

Bill Self

Devonte' Graham

Wayne Selden, Jr.

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas-81, West Virginia-71

THE MODERATOR: We begin with the championship team, the Kansas Jayhawks, Coach Self and student-athletes tonight Devonte' Graham and Wayne Selden, Jr. Coach, congratulations on the victory. Your thoughts.

COACH SELF: You know, I thought it was -- it probably wasn't the most artistic game since both teams had a lot of turnovers, but both teams competed hard. They had a guy that played unreal, and we had a couple of guys that did as well. But it was a good game and a game which was tough, and certainly very proud of our team and how they competed and how they played.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach. Let's direct our questions to Devonte' and Wayne and we'll come back for Coach Self at the end.

Q. Devonte', do you feel like today was a repeat of yesterday where that it was a subpar first half and you had more energy and executed better the second half?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: Say it again.

Q. Do you feel like today was a repeat of yesterday, where the first half didn't go as well as you all had wanted and that you played with more energy and executed better the second half?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: Yeah, but today I felt like we played, we played well. We weren't making -- we weren't finishing around the basket. I felt like the energy was okay the first half, but we just couldn't finish things that we would usually make. And I thought we played with good energy throughout the whole game.

Q. Wayne, I don't know how much you think about these kind of things, but what were your expectations? Did you have any expectations when you guys learned that Devonte' was going to move to the starting line-up and you were going to shift to the 3? What were your expectations for that before the season?
WAYNE SELDEN: That's a long time ago. Well, the expectations don't change, you know. We wanted to take it one game at a time, you know, and the pieces fit. We got real comfortable with each other. This is a special group of guys, and we like to see each other do good. So I think that's special.

Q. For either one of you, I know you guys had 20 turnovers, but it seemed like you guys were handling the press pretty well. What did you do? I know two point guards helps a lot. What did you do to beat their press?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: We did have a lot of turnovers, but I feel like sometimes we had unforced turnovers. We could have did a much better job. But for the most part, we just -- when they were throwing it in and trapping, Coach had a nice little game plan of throwing it over the top, or Wayne in bounding and cutting through. So it was a lot of wide open floor, so I felt like we did a pretty good job.

Q. Can you guys talk about the three-point advantage? You guys were 9-15, they were 2-15. Made quite a difference.
WAYNE SELDEN: Well, we've got a special group of guys that can shoot the ball, you know, and we have two point guards that can get in the lane. We have bigs that can pass the ball. And there were a lot of traps, so we found ourselves open shots. Nobody really shies away from the big shot on this team, anybody can knock it down, and tonight we showed it.

Q. For Wayne and Devonte', you guys played West Virginia three times now, but for teams in the next couple of weeks that run into them in the NCAA tournament, just how much trouble might they have with handling that pressure and the way they attack?
WAYNE SELDEN: It is a dangerous group. You know, the way they press, it's really unconventional, but it works for them. And they could be really dangerous in the tournament. I feel like we had an advantage because we've seen them so many times.

DEVONTE' GRAHAM: Kind of the way he said. Like for a team that hasn't experienced that in their conference, a pressing team like that, it can cause trouble. But I think they'll do pretty well in the tournament.

Q. Devonte', this is the second hat you guys have gotten this year that says "champions" on it. What do you guys think you need to do to get a third one?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: We have to just keep playing the way we're playing. Actually, we have to play better. We just have to keep the confidence that we have, try to keep this momentum going, keep playing together and keep having fun.

Q. Wayne, so Devonte' was 10-10 from the line. What do you think that means for the team?
WAYNE SELDEN: Free throws are big, especially in a game with a lot of fouls and a physical game. When he can step up and make all ten of them, that really boosted us.

THE MODERATOR: Guys, I'll let you go back to the locker room and celebrate. Good luck next week in the NCAA tournament. Questions for Coach Self.

Q. Coach, I'll ask you the same question. I know you don't like to see the 20 turnovers, but it seemed like a lot of them were unforced. It seemed like they handled the press pretty well, at least from the eye test.
COACH SELF: I thought so. Frank and Devonte' did a great job, and I thought Wayne did a good job in bounding the ball. It seemed to me there were numerous times where the count was probably to four and we still got the ball in. And, of course, they're going to turn you over.

I think, if you told me we'd have 14, I'd probably been, okay, we'll take that. But we had more than that. But a lot of them were us. I mean, I thought early we handled the press good, but then when we got numbers, we screwed up numbers. We were behind 6-0, and I told our guys we should be ahead 8-6. I think we threw one lob over the back board or something. It was just not very good. But, you know, we flirted with the 10-second call a couple of times, but for the most part I thought our guys attacked it pretty good and was able to basically play through the traps.

Q. Coach, I think earlier this week you had said that the purpose of a tournament like this is you want to play well enough this week to prepare you to win next week. In what ways do you feel like this tournament has prepared you to win in the big tournament?
COACH SELF: Well, I don't know that there's any -- I'd like to say there's a lot of correlation between success this weekend and success next weekend, but I'm not sure there is. We've lost over here, we've lost in the first round in the tournament a few years with Baylor and went to the Sweet 16 and lost, you know, last year in the finals and ended up, you know, exiting early. Then we've won it and advanced and won it and not advanced. So I don't know that it's any perfect deal, but I do think that with our guys, we've been on kind of a high here with momentum, you know, in the last six weeks or so. It's something that we certainly didn't want to lose or, you know, fight to have to get back. So I think our guys should be confident going into the weekend.

Q. Bill, can you talk about the maturation of Devonte' from when he came on campus to where he is today? And just the attributes that you saw of him while you were recruiting him.
COACH SELF: You know, we got lucky recruiting. The story is pretty well known. Signed with Appalachian State and didn't go, went to prep school and didn't get released. If he'd been released, we would have never got him. He didn't get released until spring, so we weren't behind by recruiting him. If he got released earlier, we would have been behind because we already had two point guards in our program. So we decided to try hard on him and we got lucky.

You know, he had been well coached, well drilled, and we knew he'd be good. But when he visited, I told him, I said, you'll own this place if you come in and just try hard and act right. Because I love his personality as much as any kid we've ever had. And I think that's accurate.

I mean, he's playing well, but his mindset and attitude, he's one of those guys that actually looks forward to getting up and going to class and just being a kid. I mean, it's not one of these things, oh, we got to do this again. It's one of these things, we get to do this again. And his attitude is just a ten, and I think it's rubbed off on others.

Q. Coach, what differences do you see in your team now from the first two times you played West Virginia this season?
COACH SELF: I don't know, first time we were a tired team. We were duds. And I don't know that we've changed a ton other than the fact we're playing more consistent. Our roles have been defined better. We're spreading the wealth a little bit more. We've had four players that have actually carried us big-time in big games. And then, of course, Landen has been an anchor inside for us. So we're just a better team, but I don't know that there's any one thing that you would just put on that.

Q. You mentioned the six-week run you guys have been on. Does this compare to any other team that you've coached? Just the momentum and how long you have been on this?
COACH SELF: I can't remember them all, but we were on a serious momentum roll in '06, '07 and '08. Obviously, winning 12 of our last 13 to get a piece of it in '06. And '07, we were, too. And '08 we were 1-seed and on pretty good rolls going into it. And there's been other years that we've been on rolls. We're the No. 1 overall seed a year and a couple other No. 1s, and I don't know if it exactly equates to guaranteed success, but if our guys can keep playing loose and free, but still with a purpose, I would think that that would give us some much better chance to be successful.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, we'll let you go. Thank you and congratulations.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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