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March 22, 2009
Kansas Â– 60
Dayton - 43
MODERATOR: We are joined on the dais by Kansas student-athletes from my far left, Tyrel Reed, Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich, and Head Coach Bill Self. We will begin with an opening statement from Coach Self, followed by questions to the student-athletes first. Coach?
COACH SELF: You know, I'm very pleased, obviously, that we won. But also, because I thought that it was a toughness game, loose ball game and I think Dayton is about as good as anybody we play in that area, and I thought we did a pretty good job with that.
And I know they didn't make shots at all. You look at us, 11-22 and 3-16 from the 3, and we didn't make shots either. And for us to hang in there and play like we did the second half, I'm really proud of these guys.
Q. Cole, just your thoughts on the triple-double here in your hometown.
COLE ALDRICH: I think it's great. You know, I just try to, you know, help out those guys. If they get beat off the dribble or, you know, if my guy catches it in the post, I just try to block their shot. I have been trying to do that all year, and that's just part of my game.
Q. Tyrel, can you express what you think of Cole's performance?
TYREL REED: I'm just so proud of him. He has been playing this way all year. And for him to get this on the biggest stage, I think it's just awesome for him. Especially in his hometown.
Q. Cole, you might have heard some of the names being talked about with the records, but this is the first triple-double that included more than 10 blocks since Shaq in '92. Can you just talk about having a record-setting performance, too, on such a large stage?
COLE ALDRICH: I think it's fun just because, I mean, I wouldn't have had it anywhere else than being at home. I think that's kind of one things that got me amped up more was just seeing familiar faces in the crowd.
And I know these guys really wanted to come out of Minneapolis with big smiles on their face. Not only for me, but for the whole team. Because that means that we're going to the Sweet 16. So we are just going to go out and continue to play and have fun.
Q. Cole, what did you think of the way Sherron came out, just broke the defense down and was setting everybody up right away off the bat today?
TYREL REED: Oh, it was great. That's one thing that he's really good at, is just, you know, if we set a high pick-and-roll, you know, he's able to just get into the lane. If he doesn't have a shot, you know, he's unselfish and he'll hit Tyrel in the corner or dish it to the big guys for dunks.
Q. Cole, can you talk about how far you've progressed in being able to block shots and not commit fouls?
COLE ALDRICH: I would say I struggled a little bit at the very beginning of the season, just, you know, having probably a second off of going up and being able to block the shot.
But, you know, I've been blocking shots since I was a little kid. I was six-foot in fifth grade, so I had a little height advantage and whatnot. So it's just one thing to do. If the guys get beat, I just try to go out there and block it.
Q. Question for Sherron. Coach Self called it a toughness game. Where does your toughness come from?
SHERRON COLLINS: That's just me. I think I just grew up that way, just being from Chicago and playing against bigger guys all the time. You know, they knock you down and you have to get up or you can't play with them. This is my mind-state and I ain't gonna let nobody punk me or my teammates.
Q. Sherron, can you talk about what the key was to the offensive performance in the second half? You guys had the shooting percentage jump way up. What was the key to that?
SHERRON COLLINS: I think we just didn't make shots in the first half. I mean, shots that we normally make. Just keep doing the same thing. Tyrel hit a big shot and the shots started falling and we just started running offense. And I think we executed down the stretch.
But I think the whole key to the game is just driving their pressure and penetrating and getting in the lane, you know. That's what we like to do. Especially against team that like to pressure us, we like to absorb it and play behind it.
Q. For any of the players. When did you sense the frustrations set in for Dayton in not being able to make any shots?
TYREL REED: You know, I just say somewhere in the second half. I am not really for sure. Once we started hitting shots, I felt like our offense was going a little bit better and we just attacked them in the second half, which really helped us and got them frustrated.
SHERRON COLLINS: I agree with Tyrel. I think it was difficult for them to get shots. I thought their defense was pretty good, even in the first half. We just didn't take care of the ball offensively in the first half and that gave them chances to run, and then get back in transition.
Other than that, I think we guarded them well, and when big fella started blocking the shots, I think he was the whole key to the game. He changed us around and we got a lot of blocks down there. So I guess the flight team or whatever they call them went flying tonight.
Q. Cole, talk about your condition. What did you weigh in high school at your top? And what are you now?
COLE ALDRICH: Well, I would say probably junior year of high school I think the most I weighed was about 263. I came in as freshman in the very beginning of the summer weighing about 254, -55ish and I think I had 14.9 percent body fat and now I am down to about 235, 240 with 6.5 percent body fat.
COACH SELF: Anything else that you want to tell them (laughter)?
Q. This is for Cole. This seems to be a big, big step for you in your college career. The matchups are going to get, you know, twice as difficult, if not more so in the next round regardless of who you play here. But what does this do for you from here forward?
COLE ALDRICH: It just gives our whole team the confidence. Because we struggled towards the end of the conference season. I think we lost 2-3 and, you know, we kind of really didn't guard very much in the Baylor game in the first game of the Big 12 tournament, you know.
We were all kind frustrated with ourselves because we knew we could do so much better. And Coach really got on us for the week that we had off and we kind of came together and this is it. It's one-and-done and we all just want to go home with big smiles on our face.
Q. Question for Sherron. You know, if anybody would have a pretty good handle on what a championship team is going to look like, probably you do. Do you think that this team has the makings of one?
SHERRON COLLINS: I think we got the potential. And we just got to put all the things together and play good. I think we can make a run in the tournament. We started one already, so going to Indianapolis and trying to take it one game at a time. Anything happens in March, and that's why they call it March Madness.
So I think possibly we can go there. And some things have to happen and we just have to play good. And, you know, we keep performing like this, we have to be the right way and we have to focus and be energized and we will be all right.
Q. Cole, were you aware of the blocks, just where were you and surprised that they kept attacking the middle the way you were playing inside?
COLE ALDRICH: I didn't have any tally or anything. I just kind of -- I knew every time they came in. And, you know, I definitely had a height advantage and a length advantage.
But I just try to block everything. You know, I was able to stay out of foul trouble that way. You know, I was able to just alter shots even if I wasn't able to block the shot, which is really helpful for us, because that means, you know, that they might miss a few more.
MODERATOR: All right, gentlemen. Thank you very much. We will excuse the student-athletes back to the locker room. Congratulations to advancing to next week.
Q. The evolution of Cole and Sherron as a duo in college basketball history, how do you think they might shape up in that? And could you update us on your body fat, please.
COACH SELF: Probably a little bit more than 6.5. I will leave it at that. It is a bad question, Bob.
You know, in history, you know, I don't know how they shape up in history. That's going way too far in Kansas history, you know. I think they could potentially be guys that could, you know, have their numbers hung up in the rafters based on what they do.
Sherron impacted a college game more than any guard I coached, because I put more pressure on him and he has the ball all the time. And Cole, he has a chance to go down. As a head coach I never coached anybody that good as a true 5. You know, Big Country was pretty good at Oklahoma State. But he has a chance to be a fabulous player and even be an all-American-type player if in fact things -- they stay together and play through next year.
But where they rank, I'm not going to go that far. They are really good college players. But in Kansas history they rank up there pretty good, though.
Q. Sherron may not be the best at talking about himself.
COACH SELF: He's pretty good at it.
Q. But where do you see his toughness coming from?
COACH SELF: The streets of Chicago. Yeah. He has one very, very attractive trait to me, that he is ridiculously stubborn and that can be also an unattractive trait as well. But the bigger the challenges, the more he likes it.
And he didn't always perform at a high level, and sometimes he can get in his own way. But it's not ever because he doesn't believe that he belongs.
And, you know, when we recruited him, we knew that we got a guy that thought that he was -- thought he really believed in himself, but not from a selfish standpoint. He believes he's good and you don't ever want to take that away from anybody.
But he has been humbled since he has been here because his health has not allowed him to play to a level that he's playing at right now. He was arguably the second best player in our league his freshman year for a stretch in Big 12 action for a month or so, but he was inconsistent and then that kind of waned.
And last year he was hurt the whole year off and on and didn't really get a chance to show what he would do. And now that he is healthy, he just feels that it is his time to shine. And for the most part he has been really good the whole year.
Q. Bill, talk about making them settle for floaters and runners. And they never had that energy play, particularly early. There wasn't a dunk, there wasn't a backdoor alley-oop. How key was that in the first half in particular?
COACH SELF: They got the one run-out when Chris got a dunk in transition off of one of our turnovers. But for the most part we didn't give up as many easy baskets.
Basketball is a game of getting easy baskets. And we didn't get a ton ourselves because their defense was good. But they didn't get many either. And Cole did do a nice job of being a presence even if he wasn't blocking the shot, of altering shots. Because we had a standing height advantage obviously with him being in there.
But they are a high-energy team. I think they did a good job of creating havoc with us. I think we were unfortunate and missed some open looks obviously. Sometimes when you miss good looks, even the open ones become more difficult later on and that's kind of what happened.
Certainly our defense I thought was pretty good, but also we were fortunate because they missed some looks.
Q. Bill, in the North Dakota State game I think at halftime you wanted to get the ball inside more to Cole in the second half. I guess overall in this game do you feel that's what you needed to do against a shorter team like Dayton?
COACH SELF: The one reason why teams pressure so much is so you forget about throwing it inside. And we got the ball to him more today than we did maybe even against North Dakota State. But there was a guy from behind. He had little guys diving down. And creating some problems for him to finish and that kind of stuff.
But we're not an unbelievable passing team, feeding the post and doing some things like that. And if we were better at that he may score, you know, three or four more points a game, you know.
But we do emphasize it and I think our guys do do a good job of getting the ball to him. But we don't give him a lot of easy baskets just off penetrate. Sherron is really the only guy that does that for us. We're kind of a station-to-station team with the exception of Sherron.
But the guys for the most part are playing to their strengths and we know we have to play through Cole to give us the best chance. We have to play through our best two players, and for the most part we did that in Minneapolis.
Q. Number one, Chalmers, was he a senior?
COACH SELF: No.
Q. How good would this team have been if Chalmers had stayed?
COACH SELF: And Rush and Arthur. So we would have had a chance to be pretty good.
Q. How good of a pro do you think he would be?
COACH SELF: Who, Chalmers? He obviously is maybe the best rookie guard in the game right now. He is averaging 10 points a game and already set the rookie record all-time for steals and playing at a pretty high level. Probably one of the best 10 rookies in the game.
Q. I know a lot of the coaches in the Big Ten were glad when you left Illinois. Why would you go from Illinois to Kansas?
COACH SELF: Well, you are saying the guys didn't like me much in the Big Ten? That they are happy I left? But I think the biggest reason why, I coached and went to school there when I was young and I knew it and I knew the tradition and the history. Although it is not in my backyard, it is closer to home. And I grew up being a Big Eight guy.
And I loved Illinois and I know I upset people when I left, but I think they have done remarkably well with different leadership. And they benefitted from the change also.
But the biggest thing is I didn't want to wake up three or four years down the road and think I could have been the head coach at Kansas.
Q. Bill, I know Cole has been blocking shots since fifth grade. But can you talk about his progress and not fouling as much? And, also, is it a surprise to you this is the first triple-double in Kansas history given the tradition?
COACH SELF: Well, we said this -- I said that to the guys afterwards and they said ah, come on, Wilt had to have triple-doubles, but they didn't keep blocked shots back then.
You know, triple-doubles to me is an awesome stat. Would you rather have a guy get 32-16-5 or a guy that got 10-10-10. And I would take the 32-16-5. So sometimes they can be a little blown out of proportion. The most impressive thing today is obviously rebounding and his blocked shots.
And he does a great job, or he did today and he's getting better of holding his positioning against smaller guys and making them score over the top of him as opposed to him going for fakes or trying to block shots.
He got a lot of blocked shots today standing on the ground. I bet you he had three or four while he is standing, which is pretty smart considering if you have smaller guys trying to shoot over him.
Q. Bill, earlier you talked about Sherron's stubbornness. So if he's really stubborn, compare, contrast how is it coaching Cole. How would you describe his ability to be coached?
COACH SELF: I think they are both great to coach. I think most of the best players I've ever coached are pretty stubborn.
Q. Is Cole stubborn? He doesn't strike me as stubborn.
COACH SELF: Cole is probably not as much. But they are both great to coach. They both want to win more than anything else. And they are good teammates and they like their teammates.
They are good players, don't get me wrong. But the reason I love coaching them more so than players are they are good people. They are fun to be around. I enjoy them both. Sherron and I have been together a little bit longer so we have been through a little bit more than what Cole and I have.
But I am excited to be around guys when they wake up in the morning and they think about how can we get better.
And one thing about Cole, he's a pleaser. He is probably about as big a pleaser as I ever coached. He wants to please everybody. Maybe to a fault sometimes. But he is as coachable as any guy. He never makes an excuse. Body language is always good. And those are obviously fun guys to be around.
Q. Bill, do you think it might push Sherron that people like us write about Jonny Flynn and Levance Fields and Teague and guys like that? And you wouldn't trade him for anybody at the 1-spot, would you?
COACH SELF: No. I wouldn't trade Sherron for any guard in the country. But, you know, Jim Boeheim wouldn't trade Jonny Flynn, Ben Howland wouldn't trade Darren Collison, Roy Williams wouldn't trade Ty Lawson. There are a lot of good guards out there. And that's the coaches, that's how we feel. It doesn't make us right or whatever.
But Sherron fits me. And, you know, I don't know how well I fit him, but I think he certainly fits me. And it may bother him a little bit, because he's on the outside looking in a lot when you talk about some of the elite guys. But, you know, I told him all along it's a long season, he will have ample opportunities to prove who he is.
And one thing I think you should always evaluate a point guard on, there is only one stat that matters, and that's wins and loss. And you look at the wins that we've had this year and the success we've had with basically a whole new team and with the youth, I mean, guys have some intangibles other than the fact that he can really play.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach. And congrats on advancing to next weekend.
End of FastScripts