Martin Holds Season-Ending Press Conference

March 30, 2010

Head Coach Frank Martin
End of the Season Press Conference

His thoughts on the season ...
"I am extremely proud of the ride these kids have given me and all of K-State. I am disappointed because I know how much these kids have invested in taking a chance to be special. To get so close to that Promised Land by which we all get judged by in college basketball, which is a place where K-State has not been to in so long. It is just disappointing. But it does not take away from all the great things these kids have done this year. "

On looking ahead to next season ...
"It is still too close to the season for me to start thinking about next year. We still have a lot to do with this years' seniors; getting lined up with graduation, which all of them are in lined up for, helping them get prepared for their next step in life and we have to finish up recruiting. We have got one scholarship available and our guys have been working around the clock since November, trying to line us up with the best possible fits for our program. I have not sat down and thought about next year. But with all that said, I would like to think that whenever I sit down and start to think along those lines, we have tried to build this program, over the last four years, to be a programs that is not a one-year wonder.   "

How this years' success will help in recruiting...
"If you look at the teams that are in the Elite Eight, the Sweet 16 and the Top 10 year after year, those are the programs that usually signing the best kids in the country and there is no doubt that there is a direct correlation between the two. Those are the teams that are on national TV the most all year and those are the teams that end up signing the elite players in the country year after year after year. Winning gives you creditability, creditability gives the opportunity to coach the next one and that is what you aspire to do. Now that is a challenge, just because we won some games this year does not make it automatic next year or the year after that. It is a never-ending challenge that takes place day after day.  The history and the tradition is what we sell to the guys that play here now, to get them to perform at that level again. When you go in and recruit, you have to go in and sell the here and now. With our success over the last three years, when we go in the homes, we have the creditability with the people that we are recruiting now. "

More on recruiting...
"We have three or four guys that are interested in us and we are interested in them. I am more concerned with getting the right fit for our team than I am with a certain position or a certain level of talent.  But if we do not find the right fit, then we will not bring somebody in. I do not believe in bringing somebody just to fill a scholarship. We have got a good locker room. You cannot bring someone in who is a good talent but will fight the locker room and fight the coaches. We have worked too hard for four years to have a locker room we trust and I am not going to bring somebody in who does not fit. Recruiting is not just for today. We have got a game plan that we have put countless hours into recruiting for next year and the years after that. So you have to understand what you have down the line, the opportunities that you have there, but you also cannot overlook what you have now."

On filling next year's void at point guard...
"We still have a guy named Jacob Pullen, you might remember his name, I think he is pretty good. We played with two point guards all year. I am not a coach from 1947 where the point guard plays here, the two guard plays here. I like playing with two point guards; I have said that from Day One. Clent Steward and Jacob Pullen played a lot together when Jacob was a freshman and that gave us two point guards out there. Since the day Denis (Clemente) became eligible, we have played with two point guards. When I was a high school coach, we played with two point guards. The way I like playing the game, I think that is very important. My challenge is not finding a point guard; we have got one in Jacob Pullen. My challenge is getting (incoming freshman) Will Spradling ready to come in and play from Day One. Our challenge is to get Martavious Irving and Nick Russell to also play like a point guard, those are our challenges. 

On the incoming recruiting class...
"I am no higher than I am on any other freshman. I am excited as heck because I think they are great fits for our program but they are freshmen. Fans like freshmen, coaches like seniors. I am high on our team. I think those freshmen are going to be great, I think they are going to help us, and I think they are going to continue to be the right kind of players from us. I think all three of them are going to be very good players. When and how does that happen? That is for the future to tell. But I like upperclassmen, I like the freshmen class we had this year and I like the three guys we have signed. That gives up tremendous, tremendous balance for the future."

On what guard Jacob Pullen can improve on next season...
"He has got to become a better decision maker. He was a little inconsistent in making decisions with the basketball in his hands. He made great decisions at times but he also made poor decisions at times. We have to have a better balance there; we cannot have the ups and downs. I felt so bad for him because he hit  so many big shot for this basketball team this year and the last one he took was halfway down and came back out on him, that was the three-pointer he took from the right wing against Butler. He has made that shot a gazillion times this year when we needed it. But Jake's been great. His challenge now is to become more consistent with the basketball in his hands."

On watching game footage from the loss to Butler ...
"I have got to disengage. I have been watch film every night since November 10th. We do not play tomorrow, so I eventually will. I have replayed the decisions that I made in my own mind for the last two and a half days.  But I need a break. I have not watched any basketball, let alone our game tapes. I could recite ever possession right now if you wanted me too because that is all I have done for the last two and a half days."

On the needed improvement of freshmen Nick Russell, Martavious Irving and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts...
"Nick has to get stronger and he has to become a better defensive player. Those were the two weaknesses that prevented him from finding more success. But with all that said, we need to realize that the guys that played ahead of him were pretty darn good. I think those battles that I saw everyday in practice, are going to make Nick a better player and he is going to be a lot more prepared. Martavious needs to get better with the basketball in his hands. He was inconsistent with his shooting. But he brings a toughness factor and he was the most prepared defensive player of all of our freshmen guards and now he has to become a better offensive player."

"I think Jordan is going to have a tremendous impact on our team next year. He lost 18 pounds during the season and that is why it was so hard for him to get on the floor at the end of the season. Because when you play against those big, physical teams, he would just bounce off of people and he could not catch the ball. He lost weight and he lost strength. It is hard to ask a 220-pound freshman to go battle a 270-pound center, it is hard to put him out there and expect him to succeed. But I think with a eating program, that between (assistant athletic trainer) Brandon Yoder, (strength and conditioning coach) Scott Greenawalt and our staff, and the amount of time that he will spend with Scott, I think the sky is the limit for Jordan. But he has to get to 250 pounds. He has got the body to get there so that is where he needs to get to.

On capitalizing on the recent success of the program...
"That is the challenge. When you get to this point, one of two things happen; you can just  sit around and think that everything you have accomplished has been easy and then the next thing you know, I am on the unemployment line and the program is back to scrambling to make the NIT. Or you embrace the reasonability that comes with where we are at right now and you take advantage of the opportunists and work harder not less and continue to move forward. I have told our team that we have taken good steps every year since I've been here. But those steps are been getting a little harder to take. But now, we need to take that next step. To not just make it to the Big 12 championship game and to not just finish in second place in Big 12 play, but to figure out a way to win one or both of those things. To get into the NCAA tournament, and to take that step that we were not able to take this year. Those steps are really hard to take but that is the challenge that is in front of us. You do not make improvement by thinking that you do not have to work harder than you have worked before and that is the message that we are going to deliver to our guys, each and every day, from here until next season. This program has got to embrace this moment that we are in right now. The challenge in front of us now is taking advantage of this wave of success that we are riding right now."

On the possibility of being preseason favorite in the Big 12...
"We have been fighting our tails off to sit in that seat one day. That is a big part of what we want to do, we want to sit in that seat. I would much rather sit in that seat in the end of the year than the beginning. I am not really big into preseason rankings and opinions, I understand that is part of this business and it gives people something to talk about. So when you are in that conversation, it means that your peers respect your team and your players, which is a credit to our kids. But no, I do not run away from that. I think all that does it reinforce to your kids the lesions that you have been trying to teach them. It gives them something to shoot for, but with it comes a tremendous responsibility to be good and that means you have to be good every day. Good teams are not good once a week, they are good every day. That is a responsibility that I embrace."

On helping players with the decision-making process for declaring for the NBA Draft...
"When they were in high school, they made the decision in choosing the college that was right for them. So when they chose K-State, they did so because they thought it was the right place for them. If they are in a situation where they have the opportunity to do something that is right for them, why not explore it? It is not against the rules. You go to college to make a better life; you do not go to college because it sounds good. They chose to come to college and because of that, they can make a better life, then that is a decision that they have to make with the help of their family. Obviously, we are going to be involved with those decisions as coaches. I have never been one to get between someone and something that they can better themselves with, especially when it is a lifelong dream for kids. They have got to do what is right for them. The decision to come to K-State was not made because it was right for K-State. It was right for K-State and that is why we offered them a scholarship. They chose to come here because K-State was right for them. If becoming a pro is a reality and it feels right to them, then that is a decision that they have to make."

"But I would like to think that when you are Top 10 in the country and you make the Elite Eight, then someone on your team is pretty good.  But I do not control what the NBA thinks. There is no way that I can beg a general manager to take one of our players or I would. But there is also no way that I can beg a general manager not to take one of our players, because if they think one of our players is good enough, then they will take them. There is a path that is followed through the NBA to give these kids and their families, to give them the best opinion and we are going to follow those paths. The ones that want to follow that path, I am not going to fight them on it.  What I hated was the old rule, where you had to wait until June to figure out whether you are staying or going. With the rules that the NCAA has put in place, you are either in or you are out. So you have ten days to make the decision whether you are in or out, which allows us to recruit people to replace the ones that choose to go."

On Jacob Pullen declaring for the NBA Draft...
"I have not had the talk with him yet. If you are Top 10 in the country and you make the run we just made through the NCAA tournament and to beat the teams that we beat, then someone on your team is worthy of playing in the NBA. It is hard to have the kind of success that we had this year without one guy that is capable of playing in the NBA. So if the decision is that, after all the proper steps have been taken, that he wants to pursue that it is going to be because that he is a really viable option for somebody in that league. That is a choice that he has to make with his family. What I do know is that all those kids that loved the experiences that they have had a K-Sate. What I do know is that I just read an article that Michael Beasley said they he wished he would have stay at K-State. It is a hard decision but they have to choose what is right for them, not what is right for me or K-State."

On the impact that Denis Clemente had on the program...
"A lot of people do not understand it; a lot of them want to judge it on points or assists. The biggest thing that people have is their will and Denis had a will that was second to none. When he came in here, he instilled his will on Jacob Pullen. Then last year, Jacob and Denis started to instill their will on our program. That will, that desire to work hard and that desire to be special continued to grow on our team. So did the desire to go in and work at a certain rate, to go in and believe that you are just as good as the next person. That will started to spread across our team and as the year continued, different people started to play and act that way. I am not worried about losing Denis' speed, even though it is hard to think that we are going to replace him with anyone that is as fast as him. I am not worried about replacing Denis' points because good teams figure out a way to replace points. His character, his leadership, his desire to work, and his will, those are the things that we are going to have to replace from Denis, Luis, and Chris. That commitment to elevate the program, to believing in what people do in that locker room every single day that is the will that we are going to have to replace. As a coach, that is concerning. We are going to have to do that collectively. Jacob is going to have to take the lead on his own. He has had Denis to help him with that in the past. Now we have to hope that the lessons learned by Dominique (Sutton), by Curtis Kelly, Jamar (Samuels) and even this years' freshmen, to a certain extent, that now those guys are willing to take the team and continue to move forward in the right direction."

On Jamar Samuels needed improvements for next year...
"He has got to be more consistent with his mental approach. He was a lot better this year than he was last year and that is why we were a better basketball team. He is still a little bit of a rollercoaster ride, with his daily approach towards the game. He has been great this year. Last year, the peaks were high and the valleys were low. This year was a little closer together, which is want you want from players. You do not want guys that give you a great day and then an awful day, that kind of guys make you lose game and get you fired. You want guys that give you the same thing everyday and Jamar is getting closer to that. With him physically, he has improved his game each year he has been here. He had an added dimension this year, compared to when he was a red-shirt freshman last year. Now he needs to take that a step further. He is just now learning how to work on his game, which is something that he really did not know how to do in the past."

On cheering for Bob Hugging and West Virginia in the Final Four...
"I am pulling for them whole-heartedly. There is not a better human being in this business than Bob Huggins. There is not a more-deserving person in this business than Bob Huggins. It is about time that people started talking about the man and the coach that he is, instead of the unfortunate transgressions, which we have all had in our lives.  He is a man's man and there is no one more deserving of the success that his team is ready to face than Bob Huggins. Everywhere he goes, he puts the stamp of winning on that program."

On his growth as a head coach...
"When it comes to being a head coach in basketball, you are the head coach. It is handling people, it is getting people to believe in the same dream and then making those kids better every day. I did that for a whole lot of time at the high school level. People want to use that against me, but I think it is the same thing. The difference here is that I have to understand how to manage my time better. I have to understand how to delegate stuff to assistants, because when you are a high school coach, your assistants are, for the most part, part-time guys. Here, you have full-time assistants that have to handle certain responsibilities. That is where I have learned to do better, to fully trust my assistants. I did it from Day One, but I was always sitting down with them, but I do not have to do that anymore because I have realized that if I worry about every, single little thing every day, then I would lose my mind.  But with the basketball part, you are always looking to grow because it is a challenge to continue to improve your team and your players, to understand how to interact with the team, and to lead those kids. There is a reason that those kids are kids. They are still looking for direction and they are still looking for that hand to guide them to when it is their time to go out and make those decisions. I am not saying that I have no room to grow, but I always felt like I was extremely comfortable with that part of the job. More than anything is been the understanding on how to spend my day. That has been the biggest challenge for me. The other thing is, you cannot be thin-skinned in this business. I knew that going in, but until you live it, you do not actually understand it."

On the impact of newcomer Freddy Asprilla...
"That depends on his willingness to come in here and work, compete and do the things that he needs to do. He gives us that low-post scorer that we did not always have this year. Curtis Kelly eventually became that scorer for us late in the year but the problem is that Curt weighs 220-230 pounds and you are asking him to go in there against guys that are 250-260 pounds. He can do that sometimes but it is hard to deal with the wear and tear of going against bigger guys, especially when he has not played in two years. But Freddy gives us that legitimate 270-pound, back-to-the-basket guy, who can score and pass the ball. Now the challenge with Freddy is that he is the opposite of Luis Colon. Luis gave us that inside anchor on the defensive end, he could go in there and defend big guy one-on-one. Freddy is more advanced on the offensive side but Luis was more advanced on the defensive end than Freddy. If Freddy is willing to grasp the defensive side of it, then he will be a big-time asset to our programs."

On his one lasting memory from the tournament...
"The one memory that I cannot shake, was a negative play in a winning situation, was Crawford jumping up and making that three at the end of the first overtime, because after what happened in regulation, for us to battle. Being in a place, where I thought 'We have got this one now', and then for him to make that bomb, it was a little deflating to me. Obviously, I could not express that to the team, but that moment was the first time and only time all game where I said 'God, I do not know if we can overcome this.' Yet kids did what they did all year, they battled and they found a way. That moment was the one that just replay over and over in my head; I cannot disengage from that moment. That made winning that game that much more special. Because of that moment in the NCAA tournament, us being able to come back and win in double overtime, made than win much more meaningful to me."