Bill Self met with the media in his weekly press conference today to address Saturday’s 3:00pm matchup against Oklahoma State. Coach Self touched on a lot of different topics that included: Embiid’s NBA potential, his critique of Marcus Smart’s backflip, last year’s loss at home to the Cowboys, and Wiggins missing layups.
- Self said that OSU’s Le’Bryan Nash has only taken four, 3-point-shots on the year, but said that he’s still shooting shots in the 16-17 foot range. Self commented that Nash is having a much better year and is more efficient because maybe he’s putting more focus into shooting those shots because that’s what his team needs this year.
- On guarding Marcus Smart, Self believes that KU is going to have to do a good job at showing strong help and making Marcus think that there is always one and a half guys guarding him, but still says that his team can’t give open looks to OSU’s other shooters such as Markel Brown and Phil Forte. Coach also noted that he thinks Oklahoma State has been the most consistent team in the league so far this year.
- When asked about losing to the Cowboys at home last year Self said that he probably did a poor job of coaching the team after their loss and made too big of a deal about having one conference loss. He said that fans get too hung up on losing at home and keeping streaks alive, but that there’s nothing wrong with losing to good teams and fortunately they were able to steal one and win on the road at GIA.
- Coach also commented on Smart’s backflip saying that what bothered him was the fact that his team played like crap more than the fact that somebody did a backflip. Jokingly, Self said that he thought Smart’s backflip was very impressive and had beautiful form, adding that Smart tucked at the right time, and got full extension.
- On Andrew Wiggins: Self said that Wiggins is seeing the benefit of him being active through his high rebounding numbers. Self said that he’s had really big games in their hardest games of the season and that Wiggins is learning how to impact the game in more ways. He said that with all the hype, anything Andrew did was going to be less than the hype so he just needed to learn how to figure it out and Self believes that he’s been able to do that which has helped him impact the game in more ways. Self added that if Wiggins would have made more layups, he would be averaging 20 points this year but he’s done a much better job of finishing at the rim in the past few games.
- Self was asked if Joel is as surprised by his own growth as everybody else is: His response was no, he doesn’t think Joel is surprised because he says that Joel is one of the few players that can be objective about himself. He thinks that this is a rarity among players because most players think that they’re the best shooter, the best passer, and the best ball handler, and jokingly added that they think the coach has it out for them because they’re not playing all 40 minutes.
- On Joel being a future NBA All-Star: Self thinks that Joel has a chance to be an All-Star, and he thinks that he has that kind of potential but said that, that doesn’t mean that he’s anywhere close to playing at that level now and he’s just a kid who’s trying to figure it out. Self added that it’s way to early to be talking about who’s leaving for the draft but he wants Embiid and Andrew to make a decision that’s best for their life. He warned Kansas fans by saying that if he was a fan he wouldn’t hold his breath about Wiggins or Embiid staying next season because both players keep getting better.