K-State Sports Extra: Martin on the NBA

by Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State basketball coach Frank Martin suggests that a team ranked in the Top 10, a team that placed second in the Big 12 Conference, a team that reached the Elite Eight should have players deserving for consideration for the NBA Draft.

But apparently, Kansas State won those games this year due to coaching because the Wildcats have no one being considered for next month's NBA draft.

As Martin says, "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."

The NBA Draft consists of 60 players - two rounds with 30 picks per round.

ESPN's draft board recently ranked Wally Judge No. 87, Jacob Pullen No. 115, Jamar Samuels No. 140, Denis Clemente No. 152 and Curtis Kelly No. 208.

In a class breakdown, Draft Express has Judge No. 14 in this year's collegiate freshman class, Samuels No. 56 among sophomores, Pullen 47th and Kelly 58th among juniors, and Clemente 61st among seniors.

Jim Harrick, a 23-year veteran of collegiate coaching, followed K-State in the NCAA Tournament. From his experience, which included coaching UCLA to a National Title in 1995, he said Clemente could make the right NBA roster and "... be a terrific backup point because he's so quick."

Of Pullen, he said, "The NBA will say he's a two-guard in a one-guard body. But he guards so hard that he makes guys want to run under the bleachers and hide. There's a place for him because he's a terrific spot-up shooter, he defends, and he has that 'it' that some guys do have, and other players do not have."

Harrick, however, said that Pullen "... is not a great passer, which is something that he needs to concentrate on this summer because it's not easy to convert guys to the point."

To those Wildcats, like Pullen, who want to test the water, Martin gives his full support.

"When they were in high school, they made the decision in choosing the college that was right for them," said Martin. "If they are in a situation where they have the opportunity to do something that is right for them, why not explore it? It's not against the rules."

What Pullen did, and any non-senior is allowed to do, is ask the NBA where a collection of scouts believe a player might be drafted. If the news is good, he can declare of the draft; if the news is iffy, the player can return to his respective school, as long as he has not signed with an agent.

"I have never been one to get between someone and something where they can better themselves, especially when it is a lifelong dream for a kid. They have got to do what is right for them," said Martin. "The decision to come to K-State was not made because it was right for K-State. 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."

Later, Martin did say, "What I do know is that I just read an article that Michael Beasley said that he wished he would have stayed 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."