Huggins, Martin Meet Media in OKC

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Kansas State head coach Bob Huggins and senior forward Cartier Martin answered questions from both national and regional media at the annual Big 12 Media Day at the COX Convention Center on Thursday.

Below is a transcript of Huggins' comments to the media.

Q.  I was wondering if you could talk about how you have found the culture of the state of Kansas and what you sense the hunger is for restoration of the K State program?

 

COACH HUGGINS:  The people have been wonderful.  I took the job and hadn't really visited    I had never been to Manhattan.  I had been to Kansas many times, but never been to Manhattan and was just really impressed with the athletic administration and the school administration.

 

People have been well, I grew up in a town of 500 people.  Manhattan is a big place for me.  My wife grew up on a farm.  I have gone pretty much throughout the state doing the Cat Backer events and people have turned out in droves and been extremely supportive and I think they want to win.  I think they want to get Kansas State back among the elite programs in the country.

 

Q.  There is always a transition from one coaching staff to another.  How far along is your team at this point and what's the hardest thing you think for them to grasp among the new things you are trying to teach?

           

COACH HUGGINS:  Right now we have got a lot of enthusiastic guys running into each other, is basically what it looks like to me.  I think they have really tried.  The returning guys have really tried.  They have really bought in.  We conceptually are doing things a little bit different, I think.  Not that we're right and somebody else is wrong, it is just kind of the way we do things.  And they are trying.  They are trying to learn.  They are trying to pick it up.  Probably quite honestly, whatever it has been, five days, we have thrown a lot of things at them.

 

I don't have any issues with their effort to this point.  Their effort, I think, has been good.

 

Q.  Coach, what are some of those concepts you are trying to get across?  How do you expect this team to    what style of play do you expect to use this year?

           

COACH HUGGINS:  Well, we are going to play a little faster, I hope.  And defensively we are going to be a little more assertive.  I think they gapped a lot of things and we are going to get out and try to dictate tempo a little bit more with our defense, try to score a little bit more off our defense.  And try to run it up and down the floor a little bit more, create more possessions.  Hopefully we will have more possessions per game than what there was a year ago.

 

Q.  Coach, I know you guys have done an outstanding job selling tickets as an increased level of excitement and expectations are high this year.  What are your expectations this season?

           

COACH HUGGINS:  Well, we want to win.  I think that's kind of why you play.  This is a great league with great coaches and great players, and we want to be able to compete successfully in this league.  And I think if you get to the point you can compete successfully in this league then you are going to be a NCAA tournament team.  You are going to have a chance in games that you play in the NCAA tournament.

 

That's kind of what we want to do.  We want to try to figure out a way that we can compete successfully in this league, and then I think the other things kind of follow.

 

Q.  You're one of six new coaches in the league.  Can you just kind of address all the changeover, and is that a good thing to be coming into a situation when there is so much newness in the league?

           

COACH HUGGINS:  I don't know.  I would like to give you an intelligent answer, but I don't have one.  I think any time there's change, I think that kind of creates enthusiasm.  I think people get enthusiastic about change for whatever reason, just probably the newness of the situation.

 

I know Mike pretty well.  I have coached against Mike being in the same league for a while, and I think the guys coming in are going to do great job.  I have seen everybody's team play.  I haven't competed in a game situation with everybody coming in, but...

 

You know, they are all great schools.  They are great schools with great traditions.  I think that's the thing that when you look at this league, the thing that kind of stands out is you look at tradition of each of the schools and there is incredible tradition.  And I have just always thought if you could do it once, why can't you do it again.  And certainly every school that made a change has a rich tradition and history.

 

Q.  Bob, what kind of impact do you expect from the three guys you recruited?

 

COACH HUGGINS:  Jason and Luis make our team picture look a lot better.  Those two guys are big.  Jason    Jason is big.  I'm used to being around big people and, you know, every time Jason walks up to me or I walk up to him, I say, Man, he is big.  I mean, he is big.

 

We hope that defensively he will have an impact.  He has got a ways to go offensively, but I think defensively he should have an impact.  There is a lot of him to try to score over.

 

And Luis is a big, strong kid that I think will be able to rebound for us and that's an area that we've got to spend a lot of time on and get better at.

 

And then the two guards are going to be pretty much our two point guards, Clent Stewart has kind of been out with a knee and working his way back in.  So we've got two new guys at the point, and they both play with great enthusiasm and they are both pretty athletic.  They are pretty fast.

 

So, you know, I think one of the glaring weaknesses was that we didn't have anybody who could make a play off the dribble.  And I think Blake Young will be able to make plays off the dribble.

 

Q.  Bob, we know that Cartier Martin's considered one of the premier players in the league.  We know you had to suspend him.  Just curious, how has he adjusted to your style of play?

 

COACH HUGGINS:  Cartier has been terrific.  Cartier in the five days that we have had practice is very much been a leader and he has led by example.  He has led with his work ethic.  I don't have any complaints with what Cartier has given us to this point.  I will probably screw him up.  I will try to make him guard and do all those other things and he won't make any shots, but I will try not to do that.

 

Q.  Coach, being away from the game, were you anxious to get back in it?  Were you anxious for practice to get underway since you were out of coaching?

 

COACH HUGGINS:  I was anxious to get back in it.  I was tired of being on the road.  We are in kind of a unique situation in that we pretty much have to recruit half our team for next year, so I was out a bunch.  I was just happy to get back in.  I have been pretty consumed with trying to finish off this recruiting process.  So I haven't really    I didn't give it a whole lot of thought until I got back in.  And I scheduled    I was scheduled to do a clinic every day the day after I got off the road, so I was out that whole week.

 

Yeah, it has been good.  Getting on the floor has been good.  I like being around the guys.  I think that's what    if somebody would have asked me what I missed, that's what I missed.  I miss the camaraderie.  I missed being able to deal with the players on a day to day basis.