Here’s a few highlights of the Self interview on the Jim Rome show if you missed it. The questions and responses are paraphrased.
Rome: You lost four starters, yet you’re still atop the Big 12 and ranked in the top 5. How did you overcome those losses and get your guys back up so high?
Self: We went into this season thin. We thought we’d have two other guys, but they were not able to qualify. Our guys have gotten better though. We have a terrific point guard and a terrific big man and that’s a good place to start. Since Christmas, it’s amazing. The light has come on for a lot of our guys. We’re playing with more energy, more freedom, more confidence. I’m pleased with where we’re at. Not necessarily from a record perspective. But from a playing hard perspective.
Rome: (recalled T-Rob’s tragedy last year) then asked “Did you expect him to play at the national player of the year caliber that he is?
Self: T-Rob is playing for an awful lot right now. He’s playing for more than just himself. We knew that if we were going to be good this year, he’d have to play like an All-American. We thought he’d compete for the conference player of the year. He’s done more than that. He is on most everyone’s first team All-American ballot right now.
Rome: After T-Rob’s tragedy, did you make an effort to coach him differently than anyone else?
Self: No. I won’t coach him differently. In fact I may be more hard on him than anyone else in practice, but that’s because he’s our best player. I may talk to him differently when we’re in private. But I won’t coach him differently. He has the ability to go on and play well at the next level. It would be cheating him if I didn’t coach him the same.
Rome: You recently hit the 250 win mark at Kansas. What is the significance of that to you? And what kind of win total would really mean something to you?
Self: None. If you coach somewhere long enough, you should win 250. If I could coach long enough to get up to the 700-800 win point, I think that would matter. 250 is not significant at all.
Rome: Do you ever think about how you’d be as a coach on the next level?
Self: I haven’t really though that. I think that there’s a part of me that would say that could interest me at one point in time, but I’m not thinking that. All I want to do is coach this team as hard as I can.
Rome: How do you manage expectations at KU?
Self: For me, it’s simple. Get our guys to be the best that our guys can be. That’s how I’ll evaluate myself. It’s not a win at all costs kind of thing for me. I want to laugh, I want to enjoy it. I love fixing problems. Expectations have not got to me yet. They may if we have some negative things happen sometime down the road. But not yet.
Rome: I know you’re constantly evaluating yourself. How do you continue to build on the success you have had at KU?
Self: I think our staff is terrific. But I think there’s things we can do better. We want to take success and then build on it. I’m always looking to tweak things to improve. I love to have older coaches come in and evaluate practice and evaluate me on a fairly regular basis. I love doing that and I prefer hearing the criticism over someone saying you’re doing a great job.
Rome: Speaking of old coaches, what do you think Larry Brown is going to do next?
Self: I think he’d like to coach again. I’ll tell you this. You won’t find a bigger basketball junkie out there. He can’t get enough of it. He’s traveling around now to different campuses and visiting with coaches. He loves the game. Whatever he ends up doing, he won’t stop watching ball.
Self was a pro. Always is in those kinds of interviews. Smooth talker. Great ambassador. Great exposure on national stage. Wish he’d do more of it.#kubball, Bill Self, Jim Rome, Kansas, Thomas Robinson