On Friday afternoon Kansas players, along with head coach Bill Self, spoke with members of the media in Allen Fieldhouse about the Jayhawks' upcoming opponent, South Florida. Self and players answered questions on the last game versus Florida Atlantic, as well as the development of the team through six games.
Below are videos and a transcript of Coach Self’s and select players’ interviews.
T. Releford Interview
C. Teahan Interview
Media Availability December 2, 2011 Lawrence, Kan.
Kansas head coach Bill Self On South Florida: “They are 5-3. Their defense is excellent and they have labored scoring the ball like we have at times. Their field goal percentage defense is great. Stan (Heath)’s teams always guarded well at Arkansas too. I played them when I was at Illinois and they really guarded then. It will be a good game and a tough game. It’s a BIG EAST opponent and we don’t see that every night.”
On what makes South Florida so good defensively: “They are quick and they’re big. They seem to be pretty tough. We looked at their stats and their stats are impressive from a field goal percentage defense standpoint. Teams are shooting 39 (percent) overall and 31 (percent from three-point range against South Florida). They are out-rebounding them at a pretty good clip. They are sound on that end.”
On comparing Conner Teahan to former Kansas player Tyrel Reed: “Conner has a short memory. He remembers just the good stuff which is a good way to be. He’s kind of like Mario (Chalmers) in that respect. He hasn’t played the number of minutes yet to have the same comfort level of Brady (Morningstar) or Tyrel (Reed), but the guy can really shoot. We just have to do a better job of getting him looks. If we get him four looks a game, I’m confident he will make at least two of them. The other night basically we were stuttering and stammering around and he goes on a 9-0 run or whatever and gives us confidence and plenty of breathing room. He’s very important to us.”
On his relationship with former Kansas head coach Ted Owens: “Well, he comes back all the time. Ted and I take golf trips together every summer. We bunked together in Scotland for a week. I’ve gotten to know Coach real well. He’s been really good to me and my family. You’re here 19 years and he’s kind of the coach that sometimes gets lost, but he went to two Final Fours and won a lot of games. Like the (1966) team (that will be honored during the South Florida game). If a 50-50 call had gone the other way, we would never have had the history with the Texas Western stuff because I think most people would say you can’t tell if JoJo (White) was in or out when he made that last shot against Texas Western.”
On how he can get Kansas’ guards to do what he wants them to do: “I think they want to do what I want them to do. We’re just careless. We have a severe case of mental lapses. Tyshawn (Taylor) and Elijah (Johnson) are capable of playing as well as any guards in the country, if we just take our time and take possessions off. We have to do a much better job of that and focus in. I told Tyshawn, ‘If a quarterback has two mental lapses, the score is 14-0 the other team.’ So that’s kind of where we are at. He’s making some mistakes that lead to easy baskets, and Elijah has done the same, but they are more than capable of playing better and they will. Their offensive output, Elijah’s wasn’t very good the other day, but collectively, their offensive output hasn’t been poor at all. Tyshawn’s has been very good. He has to find that balance where he’s a scorer, but still an initiator first.”
On opponents keeping the ball out of Conner Teahan’s hands: “He doesn’t do as good a job of getting open as some guys do. He has to focus on that. People aren’t going to let him get his feet set. Even with that being said, you’ve accomplished something positive, you’ve stretched the defense. That isolates Thomas (Robinson) more in the post so there are some positives to having him out there even if he is not getting the shots.”
Senior guard Conner Teahan On head coach Bill Self not being happy with guard play against FAU: “He made that very evident at half time and during the game, which, if you look at the stat sheet, he has the right to be that way. We just have to try and get better every day in practice and hope that we perform better tomorrow.”
On how the bench can earn Self’s trust: “You just have to go out there and do what he wants us to do. Defending and rebounding are the main things that he wants and are what he’s always emphasizing. You just have to show that you can hold your own out there. You’re going to have to earn his trust over time and I know that’s what everybody on the bench is trying to do right now. It’s a game thing and a practice thing. You have to prove it every day in practice and show that you can make practice translate on the court.”
On what the key is for the guards’ success: “It just depends on your role. There are some people, like myself, that he doesn’t want to dribble around the court. He wants me to catch, maybe have one or two dribbles and either put it in somebody else’s hands or shoot it if I’m open. Different roles require different things. If you know your role, you’ll be fine.”
On how he measures his success in games: “Coach always says for me, it’s about making shots. If I’m out there, I need to be scoring points. I look at it overall. I need to be playing defense and everything like that because if your man doesn’t score then you can win, obviously. You just have to watch how you help the team, and what the point differential is when you get in the game and what it is when you get taken out.”
Junior guard Travis Releford On South Florida: “We haven’t gone over the scouting report yet. Today is actually the day when we will go over it. We do know they are a good defensive team, better than Florida Atlantic, who we just played.”
On playing this year with Conner Teahan: “It’s great to be out there with him. I’ve been playing on the same team as Conner since the summer of my freshman year of high school. It’s always been fun playing on the same team as him. He’s a great player and a great guy on-and-off the court.”
On how confident he feels in his three-point shot this season: “I feel very confident in it. I haven’t made very many in the last few games, but I still feel confident in it and I’m going to keep taking open ones when I get a chance.”
On KU’s offense versus FAU: “We just got lackadaisical on the offensive end. FAU was able to speed us up because they were very quick on the defensive end, especially their guards.”
On if he feels he is making an impact on the team: “I think I can do more, especially on the defensive end. I definitely feel like I can get more steals and rebounds. Those two areas I feel like I could help out the team more.”
On if he was playing with a lot of energy against FAU: “Every game I try and come out with a bunch of energy. In the second half when Coach (Self) took Ty (Tyshawn Taylor) and Elijah (Johnson) out, he told me to be more aggressive and that’s what I tried to do.”