Bill Self Press Conference: February 7th

Bill Self met with the media to discus Saturday’s game against West Virginia, among other things. Here are some of the highlights of the press conference:

Self on the upcoming game against West Virginia…

“They’re obviously playing well… (they have) as explosive a guard pair as any team in the league… Staten never comes out. It’s hard to average more than 40 minutes a game in league play, but he has. He plays bigger than his standing height. He’s strong, and of course he puts so much pressure on you with the ball. He’s got a great opportunity to be first team all league… They lost some key parts, but they’re a lot better… They don’t turn it over, they play through their guards. I think they’re a real challenge to guard, a big-time challenge. However, I think coming off of a good road win we’re pretty confident. It should be a fun game to watch.”

Self on the Big XII and the Big XII Race…

“A lot of times when you have everyone with losses in a league it gives the appearance of mediocrity… The reason why leagues appear to be good sometimes is because the bottom half of the league isn’t able to beat the top half. That certainly isn’t the case this year… I certainly think it’s wide open. I don’t think it’s a two horse race at all. I think there are some teams with four losses that have a shot.”

Self on Joel Embiid…

“Joel is one of our brightest guys. He can tell you what all five guys are supposed to do on every play. Point guards are supposed to be able to do that, but I guarantee Joel can do that as well as anybody. His IQ has really impressed me. He has to get stronger, (with) his lower body strength. He gets knocked off a spot too easily. He’s just scratching the surface on everything, but I do think his aggressiveness to score would be one area where he could get better.”

Self on KU as a team…

“I think we’re getting better. I would certainly put us in a category that we could get really good, but we’re not there yet… There’s a lot of things that we’ve done good defensively, I just don’t think it’s quite as good as what it can be… I think Selden is right where he wants to be and right where he needs to be… This is a team where you want them to believe they’re good, but they can’t act like they are. They have to stay hungry because they’re so young. There’s only been a few games this year where we’ve been hitting on all cylinders… We should be able to get better… I mean we better get better or it’s going to end sad, and I think every team in America would say the same thing.”

Self on the remaining undefeated teams…

“With Wichita State and Syracuse, I wouldn’t think about running the table. I’d think about just trying to win the next game and trying to get better. When you start looking ahead, that’s when you usually slip up. It’s hard for teams to be great unless they go through some crap. Obviously those two teams haven’t experienced that this year. I would really enjoy any adversity that’s thrown my way when trying to do that.”

Self on KU’s best dunker: McLemore vs Wiggins…

“I think Wiggins could be [KU’s best dunker] if he wanted to be, but I’m not sure it interests him that much. It actually takes energy to do that. I would say Ben, probably. Elijah when he first got here was off the charts, but Ben liked to show off how athletic he was more than anyone we’ve ever had here. He’ll do something funky in the dunk contest. He may not win it, but he’ll do something funky that will definitely put him in contention.”