Men's Hoops Hosts Media Day

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State men's basketball discussed the 2008-09 season on Wednesday, as it welcomed the area media for its annual Media Day at Bramlage Coliseum. 

Below is a transcript of today's press conference.

Head Coach Frank Martin
On what he has experienced so far in practice...
“So far I’ve realized how much fun it is to coach guys that understand what you are talking about. It is that next step in growth. You can talk about growth all you want but if the players don’t take the steps that they need to take then you are getting nothing accomplished. It is obvious that we are much better defensive team then what we were a year ago. It has nothing to do with subtraction it has all to do with nine returning players.

On the teams defensive pressure this year...

“Your possessions on offense and defense start with your point guard 99% of the time. So, your offense starts with your point guard up top and your defense starts with your point guard up top that is the majority of the possessions. They are the ones that initiate your offense and defense however everyone on our basketball team has to be prepared to pressure the basketball because that is how we play. It is not a point guard pressure the ball system it is all five guys on the court have to pressure the basketball and pressure the passing lanes. When I say pressure we are not going to be running around like maniacs, trapping and playing unorthodox basketball. When I talk about pressure I mean that we are going to pressure every dribble, every pass, and every shot. That is what I mean by pressure. We will attempt to not allow anything, which goes on during a basketball game, to go not pressured.”

 

On the condition of this team compared to previous teams...

“It is far better. That is part of the reason why we are better defensively. Last year we were obviously young. Because of how we play and how we practice and how we demand that we play all the time not sometimes, conditioning is a very important thing for us. So, it is a very important that our guys are in the program. Having nine returning players that means that Jacob Pullen and Ron Anderson who were to pudgy freshman at this time last year have now spent a whole year of conditioning under their belts. They understand how difficult it is to win a basketball game in the Big 12 and strength and conditioning of other teams in this league. That is why they are good player, they have accepted that and been challenged by it and now they have taken a huge step forward. The same thing could be said about Jamar Samuels and Dominique Sutton. Those two guys are more prepared from a physical stand point to step up and help us this year.”

 

On Dominique Sutton becoming a lock down defender...

“It is because of who he is. When you go watch him in a high school game that cam naturally to him. He is a tremendous athlete who has tremendous anticipation. Part of the reason why I thought he would be such a great fit to how we play when we went to recruit him was because of the things he brings to the court. He fits the profile for what we need as basketball players for our ideas of how to play that will work. Offensively he is just a lot more comfortable this year just because he has a whole spring and pre-season of individual instruction to improve his game. He hasn’t been asked to get off a bus on Dec. 26th and step on the practice floor and be expected to contribute.”

 

On the teams development offensively...

“That is going to happen just because of age, repetition, and a better understanding of the offense. Everyone thought we were a bad three-point shooting team last year. We were a bad passing team. It is hard to shoot the basketball when you don’t receive a good pass. We were not a good passing team last year. We were sloppy with the ball. That doesn’t mean we would turn it over that means we had shooters ready to go and we wouldn’t put the ball where it needed to be. That is something that we have gotten better at because of repetition and a better understanding of the offense.”

 

On Jacob Pullen’s and Denis Clemente’s improvement physically ...

“They both have come in and been phenomenal. Here is my theory: weight room for me is huge not just does that make you a better athlete, player, person, and improve your self esteem and all the other things that come with being in the weight room. We have a little saying around here and that is that the weight room doesn’t lie.”

 

Sophomore Guard Jacob Pullen

On expectations this year...

“We have a new identity. Everyone has us out to be not very good and that just makes us hungry. We practice harder knowing that everyone expects KU, Texas, and every other team in the Big 12 to be a lot better than us. They have us at like 8 or 9 in the Big 12, so that just makes us work a lot harder. You would think that with us having so many returners they would expect better, but they figured Mike [Michael Beasley] and Bill [Bill Walker] were our complete offense, which in some points they were, but I feel like last year did not give everyone a chance to everyone to show how good they can be and how well they can play because of playing with such great players like Mike and Bill. It is not a bad thing, we just had to wait our turn and this year is our turn.”

 

On holding back last year...

“I would say some of us held back a little bit. Dominique Sutton probably attempted two or three 3-pointers the whole second half of the season he played. Fred Brown did not get the opportunity to shoot the ball as well as he could. When you are playing with such talent like that, you have to make sure they get the ball in a position they can score in and a lot of the players did not get a chance to show what they can do.”

 

Senior Forward Darren Kent

On his role this year...

“I definitely have to be a bigger presence inside in the paint. I need to grab more rebounds and we cannot worry. Last year we kind of just depended on Mike to grab all those rebounds and it was nice. Not saying that we were not working hard, but you knew in the back of your mind that Mike was coming and he was going to grab some of those rebounds. This year it is on us.”

 

Redshirt Freshman Forward Jamar Samuels

On filling the voids left by Michael Beasley and Bill Walker...

“This year we are going to have a lot of offensive rebounds. We are going to shock a lot of people this year. Just going underneath the rim trying to get all the rebounds we can get both offensive and defensive. We are going to shock a lot of people this year.”

 

On redshirting last year...

“It helped me develop a lot. Just being with the seniors- Clent Stewart and Blake Young, they helped me and showed me the ropes of the game. I thank them. And Mike and Bill also, they showed me what it was like in the Big 12. I came in at 185 pounds and now I am at 215. It has helped me a lot.“

 

On going against Michael Beasley in practice...

“He is one of the toughest players I have ever guarded in my life. He just made everything look so easy. He would just come in and score anytime he wanted to, but I think that made me a lot better and what I am now. Just watching him he taught me a lot. I took a lot from Mike.”

 

Sophomore Forward Dominique Sutton

On being projected so low in the Big 12...

“It does get under my skin at times, but it is motivation for us. We want people to say Wow, we did not know they were as good as they are.’ We have a lot of returning players and we are all going to step up our game this year. We are all working hard in the gym and are getting better as a team.”

 

On holding back last year...

“I think we did a little. I did not hold back too much. At times, I just was not confident. I did not have confidence in my offensive play because I got here second semester and was a little behind. As the season went on, I started to get a little more comfortable and this off-season I am working hard on my game.

 

On being a “lockdown” defender...

“That has been part of my game since middle school. Coming from where I come from, they always teach you to play hard on both ends of the court, defensive and offense. They want you to play both ends of the court. I take pride a lot in defense. Offense is not as big of a deal to me because anybody can score. Defense is a big deal. Being able to guard and shut people down. Getting pressure on the ball, deflecting passes, moving my feet, and just helping my teammates out. That is what defense is about.”