Martin, Players Discuss the Big 12 Championship

Jordan Henriquez is averaging 9.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in the last six games.

March 5, 2012

Head Coach Frank Martin
On Angel Rodriguez being confident this season…
“That is what I liked when I recruited him. That he is very confident. He did not always make the right play but that did not hinder him from trying to take a chance and make it the next time down. That is something that we say when he played. I am all about guys that inspire to be real good, guys that are not scared to take a chance. Guys like me. I was not scared to take the chance to be the head coach here. It is what I inspired to be, and I want people like that with me. I do not want tentative guys. I do not want guys that are not willing to take a step forward when they are given the opportunity, and Angel (Rodriguez) is like that. He has made his share of mistakes, and some of them drive me nuts, but he is willing to get up and take another chance. I get excited about that wiliness.”

On the play of the team going into postseason play…
“I am real happy with it. I was unhappy in the first half at Iowa State, I was unhappy in our preparation. Outside of that, I have been extremely pleased with how our team has played the last four, maybe five, weeks of the season.”

On what is clicking for Jordan Henriquez…
“The team has focused in at the task at hand, and Jordan, contrary to what people thought when he went through a difficult moment, I was not trying to be a tyrant, I did not hate him, and he did not dislike it here. He was just being a kid at a moment where he had to learn. We dealt with it. My trust in him and his trust in us is what allowed us to move forward. He has been great. Not just because he had been producing, but his whole approach, his demeanor, everything, is back to where it was before, and now he is finding success.”

On how the team has learn compared to last teams…
“We probably had a lot more success early in the year than I expected, and then the learning curve came after that success. What I am excited about is the way that we have handled adversity because we were young. We had guys that were trying to figure stuff out, and when we went through difficult moments it is not like we had established leaders on this team. We had guys that were trying to not just learn their way through college but learn their new roles as players, and learn a leadership responsibility for the first time. Everyone handled that exceptionally well. Everybody whether it was Rodney (McGruder), or Jamar (Samuels) just embrasing their upper classman leadership responsibilities. Whether it was those freshmen, like Angel, going through a difficult moment and then bouncing back and having to courage to stay the course. Whether it was Will Spradling, that now is a marked man and is not just an afterthought on a scouting report, maintaining his discipline in a positive way. I am not just trying to isolate different guys that come to mind. When we went through difficult moments, that group as a whole brought them closer together, and it helped everybody do their jobs a little better. That is what this team sticks out to me.”

On how the game in Waco will affect the next game…
“I do not know how it will affect the game on Thursday. Sometimes you go on and play great defense and you end up in a 79-78 game and there is really nothing that you can do about it, it is just the path that the game takes. As far as us defensively, in the preseason after watching us practice and as we were trying to put the team together, I thought that we had the makings of becoming a real good defensive team, the best one that we have had in my time here at K-State. The reasoning for that is that we had guys that have been around that understand our concepts, and we had toughness and length. We went through moment through the year where we did not defend as well as we needed to, but we have been real consistent there. I have been real happy with what we have done defensively from beginning to end. Especially right now defensively, I think that our guys are fresh, taking a lot of pride, and what I thought in the beginning of the year is really coming around.”

Junior Guard Rodney McGruder
On how the Diamond Head tournament prepared the team…
“It gives us a lot of confidence. Hawaii prepared us and the young guys for this upcoming situation when it comes to the big 12 tournament just having those games back-to-back. So we have a lot of confidence going into the tournament. It is a new season. Whatever happened in the big 12 is over with now. If you do not win in the tournament you go home anyways. So it is a new season, a new record, and a new everything.”

On feeling like they can beat anyone any day…
“We just have to go out and give it our all. Anything can happen on any given day. You just have to be prepared, and there is going to be moments in the game where momentum is going to be shifting. You just have to stay the course, just be prepared, and take advantage of the things you can.”

Junior Forward Jordan Henriquez
On how good it is to have depth…
“It is great. There are a lot more guys in tune. When guys like me, Rodney, Will, and Angel need a break we have guys that can come in and play some key minutes. It is important because the game is 40 minutes long and around this time you are playing games on back-to-back days and your body just starts to wear on you. It is good to be in shape, but it is also good to know that you have guys on the bench that can come in and help.”

On the team going through the rough spots…
“Every team goes through adversity. It is something that we went through and got through it together as one. Now it is March and like Rodney said, it is a brand new season. You have to line up and win every game now. As long as everything goes right, we will be alright.”

Freshman Guard Angel Rodriguez
On the chemistry he has with Jordan…
“I feel like we have a pretty good chemistry. I had a big man in high school that I would throw lobs to and I was hoping to have one here at K-State. I am use to throwing lobs to players, but for him it is a little easier because he is a little taller than the player I had in high school.”

On what is going through his head for Thursday…
“Nothing different if it was another team. Regardless of who it was, we knew that it was going to take effort. We have got to stay together, and give it all for 40 minutes otherwise we will not get a chance to win another game.”