Martin, Players Discuss Skid, Texas A&M Game

Senior Victor Ojeleye is averaging 17.2 minutes in the last five games.

Feb. 2, 2012

Head Coach Frank Martin
On the mentality of his team right now…
“It depends on how you look at it; we are fortunate enough that we were in those situations.  I tend to look at it the other way.  I think it is a great learning experience, and reaffirming to our guys that we are really close, that we are right there.  For us to come off that loss to Oklahoma and on a short turnaround, to go out and play as well as we did for 32 minutes at Iowa State, which is one of the most difficult places to play and against a veteran team that is a very good basketball team.  I am very disappointed that we did not win either one of those games.  I am disappointed that in both games, we cannot get a defensive rebound with the game on the line to give us a chance to win.  Those are things we have spoken about but while we are in no way in acceptance of the outcome of either game.  It continues to reinsure me of how close we are, to just continue doing the work we have been doing and those things will come as time comes around.”

On his team’s successes in the month of February…
“If you could get Denis Clemente to dress up for us or Jacob Pullen then I would be more than happy to tell you that we will  have a good February.  Those guys are not here.  Curtis Kelly, he is not here.  (Luis) Colon, (Chris) Merriewether; they are not here.  Every team is different.  Let us see how this team does in February.  Do I have confidence that it will happen?  Absolutely.  Am I going to predict it?  No, because I know how hard winning is.”

On what it is about his team doing well now…
“It is just how we work.  If you go back and follow my career as head coach that is usually what happens.  Our teams play its best basketball at the end of the year.”

On where the team stands offensively and defensively…
“I do not know.  Grades are improving.  We probably got F’s across the board and we have worked to get that grade up.  (Right now) we are probably somewhere at a C across the board.  We are playing better defensively.  Rebounding is probably the only thing that we are doing above-average consistently right now.  Offensively, we have moments where we take a quiz and get an A.  Then we take the next quiz and we do not get an A.  So we are still battling consistency.  Part of that is our youth and part of that is just our team learning its responsibilities as we go forward.”

On what the areas his team needs to improve upon…
“We need to stop turning the ball over.  We are at Iowa State and we only had 12 turnovers, but with a 14-point lead, we had three turnovers over a four-possession period that gave them eight points without our defense being in place.  So now a 14-point lead becomes six and you are playing a veteran team with 14,000 people losing their minds.  Now you are in a grinder.  Turnovers are a major problem.  Our turnovers have to be good ones.  They cannot be bone-headed plays.  We are making about 10 to 12 a game; where guys do not know what to do or they are making a lazy pass that leads to point-blank, easy baskets for the other team.  We have got to eliminate those.  It is hard enough to be successful when you are doing things right, but when you just give other people easy points and you play good teams, it is hard to recover from that.”

On the play of Victor Ojeleye…
“He is awesome.  He took that loss really hard at Iowa State because he did not get that rebound off the free throw.  I told him that it was not because you got the 10 before that one we are not in the situation that we were in at the end of the game.  I also told him that now that you have gained my trust to have full-time minutes, now when you are in the game at that moment, you have to go make that play.  But he is playing well right now.”

On Texas A&M…
“They are good.  What we do is not rocket science, but it takes time.  Billy Kennedy, who by the way is one of my favorite people on this planet, is dealing with his health issues, and his health issues have nothing to do with (their overall record) my opinion, and missing about a month of practice, that is not easy to do.  Yes, his assistant was running practice and Glenn Cyprien is big-time, but you have got to understand the Cyprien and Billy did not coach there last year and they have never coached together before, so it is hard for Cyprien to demand what Billy wants in practice.  Now when Billy gets back, now that team has to relearn what he wants them to.  Now they are deep enough in where those kids really understand what he wants.  They are playing like it.  He is understanding his players better and they are comfortable in who they have become without those injured players (Dash Harris and Khris Middleton).  You watch them play now and they are playing their tails off.  Add those two guys back on their roster and put them full-speed and you will understand why a lot of people picked them to win the league. They are going to be alright.  They are really good.”

On Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy…
“He offered me my first college job ever at Southeastern Louisiana.  He is big time.  He is an awesome human being.  It pains me in how hard he has worked in his career that when he finally got his break at a big-name school that he has to battle this health situation.”

Guard Will Spradling
On being nine points away from being 19-2…
“It is frustrating that we have lost on just one possession.  We are still in the conference race.  All we can is get better and learn from what has happened.”

On taking what they have done in practice to the game…
“We do really well in practice; we just do not translate that to the game.  We just have not taken care of the ball and then make bad plays.  Players that make big plays have not been making those shots.  Players have been in the gym, taking more shots.  I think we will be alright.”

On his recent struggles from the field…
“The only way to get out of it is get in the gym.  I have been in the gym every night getting as many shots as I can.  I felt a lot better last game and the game before that every shot I shot was long.”

On the team’s offensive struggles…
“We are having problems scoring when Rodney has not been able to produce; it is tough to go for 30 points every game, so we need someone to step up and knock some shots down.  That is something that the coaches and I feel like I can do.”

On today’s practice…
“We had a tough practice today. We really got after it and competed and we are going to bring that to the game on Saturday.”

On the importance of winning at home…
“We only lost one home game last year and we should not have lost that one.  You cannot lose home games in the Big 12 because road games are so tough.”

Forward Victor Ojeleye
On playing for Frank Martin…
“I would probably say the one thing is his intensity.  It never fades away and he is just consistent about getting the best out of us and asking us to maximize our potential every day.  I think that, combined with everybody’s different skills and talents and just listening to what he has to say; that combination helps us find success.”

On what the coaching staff emphasizes…
“I think just playing basketball the right way.  Doing the things in your role; rebounding, knocking down shots, getting other guys open and setting good screens, those are the detailed things that coach (Martin) harps on.  When you try to put those things together, you are able to play the game and have a lot of fun doing it. Those things put together help us continue to move forward and continue to find success.”

On his outlook for the rest of the season…
“I am a really optimistic and positive person.  You always look back on situations and try to learn from them.  Whatever it was that you questioned, saying ‘How could I have done better or what could I have done differently?’  I always look at those things as a positive and to use those things as motivation and as a teaching-point for the next time that you are out there.  Sometimes it can be frustrating, but you have to lift the spirits and try to stay positive because that is the only thing that gets you to move forward as a team.”