Martin, Players Discuss Iowa State Game

Freshman Thomas Gipson scored 13 points in the win over No. 3/3 Missouri on Tuesday.

Feb. 23, 2012

Head Coach Frank Martin
On his team’s current level of focus…
“I think that what we have been for the past month has allowed us to get to this point.  The kids are staying the course and not deviating from the mission, regardless of what the score of other games have been.  I think a lot of times in today’s age, because of social media, we start listening to all the wrong people, rather than the people that we should be listening to.  That is a challenge for kids in this day.  I am a grown-up and I understand that.  That is what I am most proud of right now, is that we lost some hard-fought games and we had the willingness to stay the course and maintain what we are trying to build and who we are and to not lose confidence.  Sometimes we all get wrapped up in the score of the game, rather than everything that goes into that.  I cannot control the score of the game, but we can control who we are everyday.  I could not be more proud of our guys and how they have maintained that focus, even though we have come up on the short up of the stick with the score in some games.  We lost some close games, but we go and play two of the Top 10 teams in the nation on their home floor and we figure out a way to win.  That does not get us a parade, and it does not get us what we want. We did not come in here and celebrate today.  As a coach, I am extremely proud of these young kids because they continue to believe.”

On his team’s spirits after the Missouri win…
“We got on that plane and everyone was in good spirits.  They were proud of a good accomplishment.  We all are upset when we lose, but we still enjoy each other’s company.  I am not big on guys being happy after a loss, I take offense to that.  I do not expect them to be miserable and dwell on it for a week.  But an hour after a loss, I do not want to be around people who are in a good mood.  That has to get out of your system before you get back to work.  I can’t sleep after losses and when I got home (Tuesday night), I could not sleep because it was the other way around; the adrenaline was going and I replayed the game in my head over and over to make sure that I embraced the things that we did well and I started preparing for the things that we did not do well.”

On playing consistent in February…
“It is what we have been doing here from the past seven or eight games.  Our ability to sit down, defend and rebound the basketball has been as consistent as any team that I have coached during my time here at K-State.  You come in as a coach and you try to preach to the kids the things that you are not doing well, to get them to do it better.  Turnovers were a major problem for our basketball team, but we are really doing a good job taking care of the ball right now and not having bad offensive possessions.  There are still times were we do not score, like against KU here at home, we just did not make shots. That does not mean that we ran bad offense, I was happy with how we ran our offense, we just did not make shots.  We made enough (shots) at Baylor and that gave us confidence against Missouri, which is why we were able to get that win.  I really like the consistency with which we are playing on both ends of the floor right now.”

On Saturday’s game with Iowa State…
“You have to win at home.  We have lost three times here and that is not acceptable.  In all three games, we were right there to win and we just did not get it done.  You cannot lose at home.  If you want to be a good team, you cannot give up games at home and we cannot lose anymore.  Iowa State is a problem.  They are a good basketball team.  They have guys that have been around: (Scott) Chirstopherson is a fifth-year senior, Royce White is a third-year sophomore, Chris Babb is a fourth-year junior.  They have guys that have played high-major basketball and they have played a lot of minutes and they are extremely experienced. We have to deal with it.  They are really good.  They do not foul; they are one of the teams, who foul the least in the country.  Offensively, they are extremely efficient.  I was happy with how we defended them up there and it was a problem to get stops coming down the stretch. They have really good players and Fred (Hoiberg) has done an unbelievably good job of coaching them and creating a structure for that team to be good.  We have our hands full because it is never an easy outing in the Big 12.”

Senior Jamar Samuels
On how he feels after the last two wins…
“It feels good and just the fact that everyone doubted us in the beginning of the season and even just a few weeks ago, it feels good to prove the world wrong.”

On the play of the team in February…
“I’m not sure what happens to us.  It’s like Coach puts batteries in our backs and we become robots and just go play.  We are still the same team, but guys are more relaxed now and we are not playing as tense.  We are playing more like the team played in Hawaii.”

On the defense…
“When you knock off two Top 10 teams that can score the ball very well, it gives you a lot of confidence in our defensive abilities.  We have guys getting on the floor, taking charges.  We are pressuring the ball.  Then you have Jordan (Henriquez) pretty much blocking everything at the rim.  We are playing hard and tough.”

On the ability of Frank Martin to bring out the best in his players…
“You said, he brings out the best in you.  He expects that every day for you to bring your best.  He has been getting that from us these past couple of weeks.  We have been really getting after it in practice and it has showed on the court.”

Freshman Thomas Gipson
On back-to-back games…
“They have been a great experience as far as me being a freshman and playing real tough games on the road.   I’m just happy we came out and got the wins.”

On the flight home on Tuesday…
“Both flights were really a good feeling.  I mean to go in Columbia and win and do what we had to do to win and that ride back was great.   Everybody was smiling and happy.”

On the changes in Coach Martin from beginning of the year to now…
“He has always got one me, but at the end of the day, I know that it is making me a better player.  I am a positive person and I’m always looking toward the future.  I know that he is driving me to be a better player.”

On the team…
“We have always known that we are a good team.  I think what has made us a better of late has been the fact that everyone has bought into our defensive principles of what we need to do to win.”

On confidence entering the last stretch of games…
“We are a confident basketball team.  We know that the success we have had the past few games has been due to our ability to play together as a team and remain focused.  We know that we have a lot of tough battles ahead of us, but we know if we remain together there is nothing that can stop us.”