K-State Hosts Media Day Activities

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State men's and women's basketball teams held their annual media day this afternoon at Bramlage Coliseum.

Below is a transcript of the day's activities with coaches and players.

Head Coach Frank Martin

On the returning players development...
"You work really hard to try and get the guys that you recruit to fit your style of play and personality, and have them grow within that. That is what we are starting to see with the guys, Jacob (Pullen), Denis (Clemente), Louis (Colon), Chris (Merriewether), Jamar (Samuels) and Dominique (Sutton). Those guys have been with us for at least three years, and are starting to see who we are as a coaching staff. They understand it, they live it, they breathe it and now they are starting to go out and be consistent with what they do. That is what you look for in players."

On the development of Curtis Kelly...
"Curtis is a good player. Curtis was a good player in high school. He was one of those guys that everyone envisioned as being 'one and done', or whatever you want to call that. Things didn't work out a UConn. He has come here and recommitted himself, and he is a really talented guy. Now it is on him to shake off that rust from sitting out. His second year at UConn he dislocated an elbow, so he couldn't even practice for a long period of time. He just has to continue to grow. The thing that he has got to learn is consistency. That is the place where he has to show the most growth early in the year, is just understanding how consistent you have to be if you really want to be good."

On the team's depth in the post ...
"Outside of Colon, none of them have ever played for K-State. (Jamar) Samuels played for us there a bunch last year, but we have kind of slid him over to the three, so he is trying to learn something brand new. He never did that last year. He wasn't prepared to do it, did not understand how to do it, and was not committed to working as hard as he needed to work to make that transition. He did that this off-season, he grew in that department. He has shown me the commitment to grow and to work at it, and I have given him that opportunity. He is taking advantage of it, he is making that transition and he is doing fairly well at it for this point of the year. I don't care how good Curtis is, and I just told you, I think he is a really talented player, but he has never put on a uniform for us. He has not played in an arena with 13,000 people in it in a long time. Wally Judge, he was worried about a high school prom a couple of months ago. Now we are expecting him to come in here and understand what it takes to win a Big 12 game. It is the same thing with Jordan Henriquez. I am extremely pleased with those guys, do not misunderstand my words. I am excited to coach them. I am excited that they are going to wear our uniforms, but those three guys have never played a second for us. It is a little different when you practice in an empty gym and then you line up with 13,000 people, there are officials, and a team with another uniform on trying to beat your brains in.

On the work ethic of the new recruits...
"When they practice, they play there hearts out. I have got nothing but positive things to say about how hard those freshmen are trying, but there is a discrepancy there between them and the upperclassmen. That is not a bad thing, it is a good thing. That tells me that those upperclassmen are doing those things that I talked about earlier. They understand that urgency, that daily commitment and that burning desire that you have to have in order to be good."

On the abilities of the post players...
"Curtis is a very talented player. He has an unbelievable ability to make plays with his back to the basket. There are not too many guys that can do that. He can score with either hand, he can pass the basketball and has a tremendous vision and mind for the next play offensively. Defensively, he has got tremendous length and athleticism. When he understands the consistency that you have to play with, both physically and mentally, he brings a tremendous shot blocking threat to the rim. Wally is 6-foot-9, 240 pounds and he runs like the wind. He just loves to play, I can not emphasize that enough. He works hard, and he wants to learn and grow. Those are the things that get you excited about coaching someone like him. As he continues to learn how to score when he has to deal with 6-foot-10 guys defending him every single day, not just once a month like he did in high school, he is going to continue to grow. Jordan is a young man that we expected here last year, and he did not make it. He went to prep school and he took full advantage of being there. He made himself more ready physically and mentally to be in college, to be prepared to walk in and be competitive in practice. He has given himself the chance to compete in practice, and when guys do that they have a chance to help us in games. He has a seven-foot-6 wingspan, I think a lot of times people get too concerned about height up to the top of a player's head. No one blocks shots with the top of their head; no one scores with the top of their head. It is reach that matters in basketball.

On the work ethic of the new recruits...
"Denis has done everything I have asked of him. When, he got here I told him, 'If you don't go to class, I am never going to play you', he has five credits next semester to get a college degree. I told him 'If you don't defend,' which he never did in high school, 'I am never going to play you.' He has made himself into a pretty darn good defender. He understood that he needed to become a better perimeter shooter, for us and for his well-being. He has worked his tail off at that. When he got here, I think he weighed 148 pounds the first day he stepped foot on this campus. He weighed 182 pounds yesterday, and I don't know if you have seen him, but his 182 pounds are different than mine. He has definitely put in the work. I have been extremely pleased. He has been a tremendous leader."

Junior Forward Curtis Kelly

On what the best part of your game is...
"Pretty much everything, if you ask Coach Martin and some of the guys they will tell you I do a little bit of everything. I can rebound, I can shoot it, I can score in the inside. But my most comfortable point is the free throw line in."

On being a different player since he left UConn...
"I think so, I think a lot of my skills are the same I think I'm stronger. I came in fat but lost a lot of weight and got stronger. I think I'm mentally and physically better."

On being able to have guys like Jamar and Dominique to help him out...
"They can help me out by being available when they can so I can pass it to them, because I'm a good passer in the paint. Help me with the boards a lot. I know Jamar and Dominique are capable of that. "

On sitting out last year and seeing the Big 12 play...
"I think the physical play is a little different here than in the Big East. The Big East is more long tall big men and here they are more aggressive strong big men. But I think I will be alright though. It will be a little harder to play with them but not that hard to get around them."

Sophomore Forward Jamar Samuels

On how he developed the 3-pointer...
"I worked really hard in the summer time, I came in the gym a lot just shot a lot balls and they just started going in."

On how Coach Martin is different from his first year to where he is now...
"This year we have the more relaxed Coach, he still gets after us though. The other day he got on the freshmen because they couldn't remember a play so I put myself in their shoes because I remember when that was happening to me. He helps out the freshman a lot more; we were the ones who got yelled at."

On rising confidence level...
"The confidence level has really gone up, when I first got here Mike (Beasley) and Bill (Walker) where here so of course there was a lot of confidence. But this year the confidence is out of the roof. We are looking forward to doing a lot of things this year."

Junior Guard Jacob Pullen

On how Coach is on/off the court...
"On the court he has a job to do, so he is going to do his job everyday he comes in. Off the court when we are over here for Christmas or Fourth of July he has a barbecue and has all of us over. He isn't like a lot of coaches.  He will call me at night if he had some problems with practice or something. For being the young coach, he is he has a great relationship with his players."

On having more confidence...
"I think when you work hard and prepare yourself to win. You feel confident about it and you don't worry about like what happens if we play this team, we are ready to play anybody and are really confident about our team this year. We have a lot more experience rather than more weaknesses."

On being looser as a team...
"As freshmen we were but no one wanted us to be because they thought we were goofy and really immature. But now we can understand what we have to do while also having fun."

Senior Guard Denis Clemente

On not having to go out and score 20 or 30 every game...
"It depends on how the game comes to me. If I have to score 30 points I will score 30 points, if I have to score 10 points I will score 10 points. It just depends on the game."

On being able to score 40 points again...
"Oh well, I don't know about that. I wish I could do that again. " 

On how much he is looking forward to the trip to Puerto Rico...
"I am very excited my whole family is going to make it to the game. My grandma is going to be there she has never seen me play. It is very special for me.  I am excited for my grandma to come and watch me play since she has never seen me play before and I'm exciting about my family coming and watching me play."

Junior Forward Dominique Sutton

On what Curtis Kelly brings to the table...
"Curtis brings a lot sitting out last year he just decided he is ready to play he is ready to go at it. He brings a lot of emotion when everybody sees emotion we are like 'dang, he is an emotional guy he wants to win as much as we do.'  He has worked very hard in the summer to lose a lot of weight and he is very light on his feet right now. He brings a post game to the team a lot moves and athleticism."

On guarding Jamar in practice...
"Jamar and I have played with each other for four or five years now with AAU and stuff like that. So it really wasn't a big deal but he came in and put some time in the gym and he actually worked on his shot and he has a lot more confidence on the perimeter.  He has been making me work a little bit in practice guarding him."