Bill Self Shares His Thoughts at Big 12 Media Day

Oct 25, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self address the media during the Big 12 Basketball Media Day at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 25, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self address the media during the Big 12 Basketball Media Day at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports /

Each of the Big 12 coaches and select players from each team gathered at the Sprint Center in Kansas City for the annual media day festivities. As the 12-time reigning champion, Coach Bill Self and Kansas basketball received much of the attention from the media and the opposing coaches.

Rival coaches comment on Kansas’s dominance

Bob Huggins, head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers, was the most outspoken about the dominance of Kansas basketball. “People have to go into Allen Fieldhouse and win once in a while. Because the rest of us all lose at home, and I think if you look at it, that’s without a question, the difference. That has a lot to do with the job that Bill does. Bill does a great job. And they have really good players.”

He continued, “Kansas’ dominance is really — it comes down to three things: they’ve got a great coach, they’ve got great players, and they never lose at home. Until we start beating them at home — and we had chances, we had chances. We missed free throws and a lot of crazy things happened at Allen Fieldhouse now. So we end up losing. If we had beaten them, I think somebody else would have had a chance to maybe tie for the league championship or whatever.”

Head Coach Steve Prohm of Iowa State was also asked about playing Kansas, “We were fortunate to beat them at our place. Then we went to their place last game of the regular season and actually really played well. I think we led by three with three minutes to go. But when you’re playing Kansas, you’re playing elite teams, you have to make tough plays down the stretch and you have to finish games. We weren’t able to do it up there this past season.”

Coach Self on the issues

When asked about dealing with the high expectations of Kansas fans, Coach Self said “If anything, I think we use the expectations as motivation to perform or to prepare to perform at a very detailed and rapid rate.”

He continued discussing how the players deal with the pressure, “With that pressure, I think there is a desire to live up to what other people think of you and say of you, even though they know, they know our only goal should be to play as close to our ceiling as they possibly can.”

Some of the rule changes made by the NCAA in the offseason will affect how fouls are called. Self started by poking fun at the aggressive play of West Virginia “I think that Huggins has the most issues because they’re telling them they can’t foul every possession like they always do.” He continued by saying they aren’t really rules changes, but how the rules are interpreted. “Will it be good for our game over time? I would say it probably will be. But initially there’s going to be some heartache, and probably more so on big guys than anyone else.”

When asked if he felt the rules should move closer to those of the NBA, Self said “When you look at the game as a whole, I think international rules have some of the best — after coaching in the World University games last year, I actually thought that was a better game to coach and play than the collegiate game. In large part because of the clock and the offensive rebounding and how things are done there.”

I feel excited and still anxious and a little nervous going into the season because we don’t know how things are going to progress and how pieces are going to fit. But certainly very optimistic. -Bill Self

With a new coach at Oklahoma State, his alma mater, Self was asked his thoughts about coach Brad Underwood. “He has done so well. What he did at Stephen F., I mean, that’s remarkable what he did and how players got better. He’s done an unbelievable job connecting with and reconnecting the OSU community and family. I think he’ll do a very nice job in making all Cowboy fans and alums proud.”