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October 17, 2007

Bill Self


PETER IRWIN: We'd like to now welcome Coach Bill Self from Kansas. If you'd like to make an opening comment or two.
BILL SELF: It's too early to be doing this.
I'm very excited about this year. It's a great time for our school right now with our football team doing well, and hopefully we'll have a good basketball team this winter. We had a pretty good year last year and returned the majority of our guys. We're optimistic, and hopefully we can play off that and have a chance to have another good year.

Q. How is Brandon doing? Is there a timetable at this point?
BILL SELF: The timetable has always been December 1 that he would be participating in games. That was exactly six months from the day of the surgery. But it's too early to have a definite timetable, because he goes through some last-round tests, so to speak, strength tests and things that I don't understand. That will occur real soon. When that occurs he'll be released full speed, no contact. And then how quickly he comes after that remains to be seen. But I really think December 1 is still the date, even though I think it could be a week or two on either side of that.

Q. You touched on it a second ago, what has it been like on campus with Mangino's team doing well?
BILL SELF: Hopefully everyone is still looking forward to basketball. I think it's great. We said all along nothing adds to the enthusiasm, interest, excitement on campus early in the school year than a football team doing well, especially in our league. I think it's great what they're doing and hopefully they can continue to play well. Everybody asks me -- I know they ask Mark this all the time, you're competing with basketball there or this or that, I loved his response. I don't think that they're on our schedule this year. So it's really good to have both programs performing fairly well.

Q. You talked about Brandon a little bit. Talk about the opportunities that some of the other kids have to play, playing time and show you what they can do in regular season in Brandon's absence?
BILL SELF: I think in a strange way this should make us a better team come January, February and hopefully into March. Rod Stewart is a good player, and he hasn't had a chance to play much. Jeremy Case is a pretty good player. Brady Morningstar may have a chance. Tyrel Reed is a good player, and they'll be forced to be out there more. Whereas if Brandon and the other three guards return, you would think those would be the guys. I think it does provide opportunities for those guys, minutes-wise probably early. Even when Brandon comes back he's not going to be a 25-minute game guy, whether it be 10, 12, 15, who knows, because we don't know how sore he'll get and different things. It's a great opportunity for one of those guys to emerge.

Q. Eight of the 12 head coaches in the league are either in their first year or second year. Is that a commentary on the profession or coincidence or what do you see going on there?
BILL SELF: I think in our profession in general you're going to have more turnover, unfortunately, but not at the rate the Big 12 has had. We had turnover because there are higher priced coaches, and expected to deliver and keeping the fan base and administration and everyone happy and so obviously there potentially is turnover. But what we've been through in our league is unique, and I would bet that that would never happen again in the history of the league to have -- is it 8 or 9 new coaches? I guess it is 8 new coaches in the last two years. And then if I'm not mistaken 10 in the last four years, or whatever. So that won't happen again.

Q. What kind of role do you see for Sherron this year?
BILL SELF: Well, I hope it's a role that's comparable to what he had last year when he was playing very, very well in the league. Sherron got off to a bad start last year by his standards. He was still impacting in the games and in February for us. He was probably our best guard during the four- to six-week stretch in the Big 12. But you could say that Mario was that or Russell was that or Brandon was that. We've got good balance back there. One of the keys to our team is that Darrell and Sherron elevate their game consistently the same way that Mario and Julian did last year. We expect Sherron to be one of the top performers in the league because he has potential to do that.

Q. 10 to 12 coaches picked you again to win the Big 12 championship. Talk about the league overall and where you see some of the big threats to the Hawks this year?
BILL SELF: Obviously I have no friends in the league, so if they did that -- but I think our league is -- I thought last year our league was very good. Our leagues are cyclical, and losing a high profile guy like Durant, that did so much for the exposure of our league last year, I think from the perception standpoint could potentially hurt us. We have great young talent. And great young freshman talent in our league. We hope that we have some of that. Certainly I know some schools around the league have a lot, too. Our league will be good.
I think Texas has got 7 bodies inside that are all big, strong, physical that they can throw at you, which is a little bit different look than what Rick's had in recent memory. I think A&M is very good, very good, and I also believe that K-State is a team that everybody's looking at them on paper and they're going to get better because they're young in key spots. To me, Missouri is going to be the team that is kind of a surprise team of our league. I really believe that. You can go down the list, Tech, Oklahoma State, everyone is going to be good. There will be no easy wins on the road, and that may be the case this year. But I see as much parity as we had. Last year we bent from the schedule, even though we lost A&M at home. People projected the teams to be high ranking teams, and this year we play them on the road. This will be a -- we could have as good a team and not have as good a record because I think the schedule kind of tips the other way this year.

Q. What kind of improvement do you expect from Darrell Arthur this year?
BILL SELF: Hopefully it will be one of the best in the league. He's very talented, but inconsistent, still. When he has good days they're really, really good. But I really believe he has potential to be one of the premier players in our league. And hopefully a guy that can kind of anchor what we do from one of our big guy positions. He's about as talented a guy as I've been around, in large part, due to his athletic ability. He can do a lot of things you can't coach.

Q. With Brandon gone could Sherron, Russell and Mario see more time on the floor together?
BILL SELF: Well, yeah, that's the way we play. We just put three guys out there that are guards, and two guys out there that are not guards, and basically have at it. It doesn't bother me at all that we play three point guards. The key thing is you've got to have one of them that's probably a decent rebounder, good enough, and Russell can't do that. I see us playing very small a lot of the times.

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