Bob Huggins Addresses Media on Tuesday

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Kansas State head coach Bob Huggins met with members of the media on Tuesday morning to discuss the Wildcats' game with archrival on Kansas on Wednesday. 

Below is a complete transcript of that press conference.  Subscribers to Powercat Passport may watch the press conference in its entirely.

On his thoughts of Kansas’ strengths and weaknesses...

“They’re really good. I think they’re really talented. I think they have a great blend of experience and youth. I think they are terrific in transition. I think they are really good defensively. I think their numbers bear that out. They’re good, they’re well coached. I don’t see a lot of weaknesses there.”

 

On if there are any guys on Kansas that jump out at him...

“I think lately when you’re watching Collins has played terrific. He’s got the ability to create off the dribble. He really gets the ball in the lane. You can name just about eight of them that are really good eight of them that properly might have a chance to play at the next level. There aren’t many teams that have that.”

 

On Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse...

“I think a lot of it is a confidence factor. In all honesty, most teams do play a little bit better at home because of the familiarity and because of the confidence level. If you go in and do what you’re supposed to do, then you’re fine. I’ve told you before that I was very fortunate to be around Al McGuire a number of years. I asked them when they got good and he said when we talked into any venue with no fear.’ I think there’s tremendous truth to that”.

 

On if his team is close to that...

“It’s a marathon. We’ve had our moments. We have to continue to go meet challenges.”

 

On Monday’s practice...

“They were good yesterday. I think most of our guys understand what we’re playing for.”

 

On the team’s improvement during the season...

“I think they’re better. We’re better at making some changes during the game. That’s just accumulation of a lot of knowledge experiencing things. You can refer back to what happened and kind of relate. (You can say) that’s what they at North Dakota State or this is how we defended it at Iowa State.’ That’s a growing process.”

 

On adding more sets at the season progresses...

“We’ve added some more, but I think a lot of that is us trying to figure out what we can do against what they’re doing to us. This whole game is about matchups and how you exploit matchups. Our problem, quite frankly, is who do they enter to or who do they pass to whom. It’s a little more isolated than isolating Dave Hoskins down on the block. It’s a whole lot more complicated than that. But, the end result is what you want to do is what needs to happen. There’s a whole lot of other things that have to happen before you get to that point.”

 

On if the team is further along than his expectations coming in...

“Honestly, I don’t know where I hoped they would be. I’m not trying to avoid your question, but I just didn’t know. I hope that in the future we have a better idea. I came in here and told you that I didn’t look at film, I didn’t want to look at film because I didn’t see what they did before. I hate to walk into a season with preconceived ideas because they’re generally not right. I think you make bad decisions when you do that.”

 

On the quality of basketball in the State of Kansas...

“There’s nothing wrong with us, Kansas and Wichita State all being good. I think it’d be a wonderful thing for the state. Kansas is always going to be good. Let’s face the facts. As long as Bill (Self) is there, they are always going to get good players and he’s always going to coach them. I think you could say the same thing at Wichita State with Mark (Turgeon). I think it’s a great situation that everybody is good. It does a lot for basketball in this state and, really, in this region.”

 

On playing against Kansas...

“We’re going to try to score more than they do. It’s pretty evident that when they get into transition, they’re pretty good. We’ve got to at least try to limit their transition opportunities. Other than that, we just have to do what we do. We have to try to guard, which will be hard, because they are good.”

 

On the series against Kansas...

“I think most of our fans would like to try to win one once in a while. I’d like to win one once in a while.”

 

On Cincinnati’s rivals when Huggins was coach...

“It’s depended. Generally, it was Xavier, Louisville and for a while it was Memphis. That’s what I tried to say when I got here you can’t have a rivalry unless you win once in a while. I was talking to Robert (Lipson) last night and Robert says this is like no rivalry you’ve ever seen.’ I said, Robert, you’re totally off basis this is no rivalry, you’ve got to win once in a while.’ Once we win once in a while, then you’ll see a rivalry and that will be fun.”

 

On if the dynamics of this game makes this a rivalry...

“That’s what makes rivalries. When we were in the bottom half of the Big 12 and we were playing them, they weren’t all that excited. I don’t care what they say, because you’re just not. (The) Cincinnati-Louisville (rivalry) is probably just about the same. For a long time, Louisville won about 100 in a row and they really didn’t care. Then, all of a sudden, we got in there and started wacking them once in a while and the games were great games with great players on both teams. Now you have a great rivalry. But, you have to win once in a while to have a rivalry.”

 

On if the atmosphere in the locker room is any different for this game...

“I don’t know. I’m not smart enough to figure that out. Dr. Phil would have a good time figuring that out with this group. They’re kids. They go into the locker room before we start and talk about what young people talk about.”

 

On playing in a hostile environment...

“I don’t get caught up in all that stuff. Honestly, I don’t. I coached in Freedom Hall a whole bunch and, believe me, when Denny (Crum) was there and when Rick (Pitino) got there and we were both ranked in the top 10 in the country, I don’t care where you go, there’s not a better atmosphere. They sell bourbon there. It was pretty wild. People play with a little more confidence at home. That’s what it’s about. It’s great to have great fans and the teams that get intimidated aren’t very good. If they walked out saying the fans beat us,’ then they suck. They’re not any good. The fans don’t beat you. The guys on the floor beat you.”

 

On Jermaine Maybank...

“Jermaine’s a great kid. Somebody called Frank (Martin) from New York, I honestly don’t know who it was. We made some calls and Jermaine just wanted to go somewhere to have the chance to play on a good team. We got him out here. We certainly had a need. I didn’t want to take somebody who would help us a wee-little bit this year and then get recruited over. Jermaine’s a senior and experienced, so I thought it was a no-brainer. He really is a great guy. I think the biggest thing he does is he competes. It’s been a hard process for Jermaine to kind of change. You’ve got your man, guard your man and go wherever they go on the floor.’ The help principles and the way we play defense has been hard for him. He’s a great kid. I can’t tell you what a good guy he is. He really wants to help and he wants to listen. I take him out of the game, I’m on him about something and he goes Huggs, I know, I know, but I’m ready. I’ll be right here.’ He’s one of those guys that when I look down the bench, he jumps up.”

 

On if recruiting New York players is different...

“I don’t know. They used to say that they were better at attacking the basket because they generally didn’t have any nets on the playground. I’ve had guys that were from New York that have shot it pretty good. I’ve had New York guys that have been really good guys and good teammates and did what I asked them to do, just like guys from Chicago or Detroit or wherever.”

 

On Brandon Rush...

”Well, he’s their leading scorer and their long defender. They put him on people kind of like what we do with Akeem (Wright) because of his length. He’s a great athlete. He can beat you a lot of ways, he can rebound on both ends and they throw a lot of lobs to him. He’s shooting 40-percent from three.”

 

On if he will be excited for the Kansas game...

“I’m going to get more excited for this than probably what I did for Kennesaw State, but that’s natural. Wyatt (Thompson) and I talked about it last night that you can’t be here and not here because then you’ll lose to people you shouldn’t lose to because you’re not prepared. It doesn’t do any good to get all fired up about one game and either win the game or lose it close, then go lose the next one because you can’t get yourself back and ready to play. That’s my job. My job is to make sure that come in everyday and do what we’re supposed to do and kind of stay on the same keel. You’re not emotionally going to be as good one day as you are another day, but your effort ought to stay the same. That’s the most important thing.”

 

On if he thinks his team has swagger...

“I don’t know. I wish somebody would define swagger’ for me. I never was sure what swagger was. Everybody used to talk about that we had this swagger and I never knew that it was. I missed that in English 101 at good old West Virginia University. I have tried to explain to them that you just go play and do what you do. I know that’s not going to make any news reels, but that’s what you have to do. You can’t be all fired up about one. Look at the people who do that. They generally get beat the next game because they can’t get themselves back ready to play. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It’s 16 games. I’m still one of those guys that still think national championships are important. Why play the whole year and not play for something? I think they’re really important. In 16 games, you can’t get all fired up about one and go lose three because you can’t get yourself back ready to play. That’s stupid, and it happens. Don’t think for a minute that it doesn’t happen. That’s what, to me, was so impressive about (Texas) A&M last night how they had a huge win in Lawrence, they traveled back to College Station, they have one day to prepare, and they played. That’s a good basketball team. That’s a program that has leadership.”

 

On frontcourt-play against Kansas...

“We have to do what we do. We’ll look at tendencies and try to take them out of tendencies. We don’t have two 6-10’s inside. We have a 6-4 in there most of the time. We can’t play that way. We have to do what we can do.”

 

On Cartier Martin...

“I think Cartier has been asked to do more than what he’s done. To my understanding, Cartier was kind of guarded in the post. We ask him to chase on their perimeter and do a lot of things that he didn’t do before. It’s a learning experience for him, defensively and offensively. He’s probably lost 25 pounds. He’s leaner and he’s moving better. But, I think that you would all agree watching him defensively on the perimeter early was painful. Now you don’t notice it, which is a compliment to him.”

 

On Akeem Wright...

“Akeem has pretty much been our leading rebounder all year. He can make plays defensively that nobody else can make. I think Akeem has been most valuable on the defensive end, but he’s had those games where he’s made big shots for us. They’ve all gotten better defensively. You can’t name a guy that hasn’t gotten better. That’s a tremendous credit to them because they bought in. It’s hard sometimes to get guys to understand to do what you do. You look at the guys in our game who make a tremendous amount of money who can’t shoot, can’t pass, or can’t dribble. Look at Dennis Rodman. He played 12 or 13 years in the NBA and could never make a shot. He rebounded the ball. That’s what he did. Do what you do and Akeem has bought into that.”

 

On Kevin Durant...

“He’s the best freshman I’ve ever seen. I thought Akeem did a pretty good job on him. I told Akeem in the airport your defense stopped him... he only had 32.’ He said, Huggs, he only had 22. He got 10 against the zone.’”

 

On practice...

“I love practice more. You get so much more out of practice. Practice is like being a teacher and watching your pupils from the beginning of the year to the end and how much knowledge they acquire, the better they get. That’s what I enjoy.”