Martin, Players Talk about Texas game

Senior Jamar Samuels is one of 11 Wildcats to have at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.

Feb. 9, 2012

Head Coach Frank Martin
On his team’s intensity level…
“We had it in practice before the Texas Tech game.  We had good practices leading up to Tech.  But we did not have it in the game and that is why I was disappointed because we had it in preparation and then we did not have it once the game started.  But they were good today in practice.”

On the team’s upcoming schedule…
“The only stretch that matters is Texas.  You guys that do not play are the ones worried about all that other stuff.  I am just worried about the next game.  I am worried about Texas.  That is all that matters to me.  If I start worrying about Kansas, then how are we going to be Texas?”

On today’s practice…
“We competed.  We went up and down and got after it.  They were good.  It is not about being on the court for three and a half hours, it is about being competitive the time that you are on the floor.  I tried to do some stuff in a non-competitive way leading into the Texas Tech game and that obviously did not help us.  The things that we did today, we competed while we did them.  We did that (the triangle and two offense) in a non-competitive way and when we had to go do it in the game, it was in a non-competitive way.  That is the adjustment that I had to make sure that I made.”

On Texas’ current level of play…
“Myck Kabongo is playing really well right now.  They are all freshman.  I know Rick (Barnes) was not happy with them when we were getting ready to play them for the first time, with them as a whole; with how they were playing and with their habits.  It kind of happened for them after that game against us. He told me that night that, ‘If we continue to play like this, we have a chance to start winning games’, and that is what happened.  They have really played well since then.  (Sheldon) McClellan has been consistent.  (Julien) Lewis has been good.  Kabongo is really, really playing well right now.  J’Covan’s (Brown) play speaks for itself.  I do not need to expand on him.  He is one of the elite players in this league.  Clint Chapman has had two 20-point games since the last time that we played.  Their big kids, (Jonathan) Holmes and (Jaylen) Bond, have really come along.  They are all playing well right now.”

On Rodney McGruder’s point-production against Texas…
“I hope it happens again. There is nothing more than I would like to see than to see him score somewhere between 22 and 33 points a game.  That would be a God-send.  It has been two completely different teams from Texas’ standpoint and our standpoint.  The 22 that he had last year, he had them in a complementary way because there was so much attention paid to Jacob (Pullen) and Curtis (Kelly).  The 33 that he had here was we were running stuff right through him and he was aggressive and the ball went into the basket for him.  Rodney has been pretty consistent for us in his ability to score.  He is really important for us.  He feels better, health-wise.  He was awful from a health-standpoint, how he felt in the Texas A&M game.  He felt better against Tech and he feels a lot better today.”

Forward Jamar Samuels
On closing out his senior year…
“I am just trying to get this team to the (NCAA) tournament.  I think that we have been playing well as a team but we have just been having minor setbacks like turnovers that mess up the game for us.  Luckily, that has not happened in the past couple games, but we have to keep doing a little better.”

On the team’s upcoming schedule…
“We are just working on it game-by-game.  We are not worried about the KU game until Sunday.  But this Texas game is a big one.  Just going there and trying to win on their homecourt is always a challenge.”

On Rodney McGruder’s performance against Texas…
“D.C. guys like Texas, I guess.  I know Mike (Beasley) had at least 18-plus points a game against them when he was here.  Rodney is always been well-prepared against Texas and it really shows.  I know that he is amped up for this game and everyone else is too. We are just trying to get another win.

Forward Rodney McGruder
On dealing with his injured foot…
“I have just been listening to Frank (Martin) and the trainers.  Frank has been trying to get me through it.  I just listen to advice from guys who know what they are talking about.  I am still focused on my teammates and basketball.  Previously, I have been in a lot of pain, but now it is getting a lot better.”

On the team’s current mentality…
“I do feel like we are clicking, but that is not something that I try to worry about or focus on because you lose sight of things when you do not focus on the right things.  You just have to focus on one day at a time and one game at a time.  But I do think that we are clicking right now.”

Forward Thomas Gipson
On hitting the freshman wall…
“I hit it a long time ago when conference play started.  Everything was just overwhelming at that point in time and it affected my style of play and how I listened to Frank.  Jamar (Samuels) talked to me and told me to just play past that.  Frank said that whatever that I was going through outside of basketball, just overcome that and play different on the court.”

On returning to his homestate…
“I am really motivated, but just as any other game.  It is really exciting because I get to see my family and they get to watch me play in person again.  I am just looking forward to it, but it just like any other game.”