Martin, Players Talk about practice, UMES

Will Spradling has gone for double figures in back-to-back games to start the season.

Nov. 17, 2011

Head coach Frank Martin
On Jamar playing…
“He is a grown man.  All I hear is people talk about how he has to stay out of foul trouble, which I totally agree with, but it also tells you that he does not run away from contact, and right now for our youth, that contact affects their discipline.  That is something that we have to get better at and he understands that.  He has been through the ropes.  He understands our concepts.  He understands what we do.  Some of the mistakes that are making place on both ends of the floor get minimized when you have another player on the floor that has a better understanding of what you are doing.”

On practice…
“We were off yesterday, the day before we had a teaching day where we did not compete a lot.  We competed very little so I gave them that day off and today, yesterday being an off day, allowed them to heal.”

On Jamar being the go to player…
“We are getting ready to find out.  He has matured a lot.  I would have never answered that question with a positive answer before.  That is nothing against him, he just was not mentally ready, or he had not put in the time for me to be willing to consider.  He has done it now and we have other guys that are embracing that responsibility also.  It is comforting now.  It is hard to except Thomas Gipson to deliver in crunch time without making a mistake because he has never done it before.  Now you have a guy that has been around and the game should not be as fast as it used to be.  Like Gipson right now, it is real fast.  He is trying to get it to slow down and is trying to figure out where he belongs.  Jamar understands all of that stuff.  He has prepared himself in a way that my answer to your question, four and a half minutes later, is yes.“

On Jamar being disappointed to not play yet…
“It is his senior year.  No one wants to miss games because you only have so many in the tank, and when there is games you cannot play, for reasons other than injury, that is frustrating especially your senior year.  He understood.  He handled it real well.”

On Jamar’s leadership for the team…
“He has remained positive.  In the past where he has been wrapped up over his mistake or his positive play.  That would not allow him to then help the team because he was so wrapped up (in the moment).  To a certain extent, he was being emotionally selfish.  Now he is not allowing that to happen.  Whether he makes a positive or negative play, he remains positive and on task which then allows him to help the other guys continue to play.  You hear people say that coaches should let players play through mistakes, but now when that mistake leads to two, to three, to four.  You do not let those guys play through mistakes.  Denis Clemente, Jacob Pullen, I let them play through mistakes, because they made mistakes, but they did not hang their head or droop their shoulders when they made one.  They kept playing to make sure that they did not make two in a row.  Jamar is kind of getting to that point .”

On Maryland-Eastern Shore…
“They are big, and strong.  When you schedule a Maryland Eastern Shore team, you always anticipate them having real good guards, but not having real good size.  They have two 6-foot-8 guys that are just a handful at the rim.  They do not play a lot of guys, but they have some athleticism.  They have a guard that can score.  They went into American and beat American.  They went into George Washington, who is a pretty good basketball team, and they gave George Washington all they wanted and ran out of gas.  George Washington kind of got away from them at the end of the game.  They present something that we have not faced this year.  We faced two teams that have a lot of face-up players, and perimeter shooting players.  We are getting ready to face a team that is going to try and load it up at the front of the rim, and try to beat you at the rim.  So it will be a different challenge for us.”

Senior Jamar Samuels
On how tough was the 3-game suspension…
“It was tough.  I felt like I was hurting my teammates out there.  I was not out there to help them, and we struggled a little bit.  But we are a young team, and I am glad I can be back out there to provide a little more energy.”

On how he has changed since last season…
“From last year, I became a little wiser.  I am just going to try and bring the same intensity I have brought since I have been here.  I am excited to be back out there because sitting on the bench in street clothes is not fun.  I would not wish that on any college basketball player.“

On what he brings to the team…
“My rebounding, a lot of leadership and a lot of energy.  I am going to be out there talking to guys, pointing them where they should be and helping Frank (Martin) yell less.”

Guard Will Spradling
On how Jamar has improved since last season…
“Last year he followed.  He was not a leader at all.  If other people did things that were not right, he would just follow in their footsteps.  He would not step up and say no you are going in the wrong direction, you need to go this way.  This year, he has really stepped up and taken the lead on the younger guys.  He points them in the right direction, which is something he definitely improved upon this year.“

On what Jamar brings to the table…
“Jamar does a little bit of everything.  He is a scorer.  He brings intensity and blocks shots.  He is an all around player.”

On Jamar’s impact in practice…
“There were a couple days when we were just dead (in practice), and Jamar (Samuels) was the one that picked up the energy and brought it up to all the players.  Jamar has done a great job of that just going at all the younger players, especially Thomas (Gipson) because we have Thomas and Jordan (Henriquez) in the first five, and no one was really battling Thomas.  Jamar really took it to Thomas to teach him and told him you cannot play like you did the first game against Charleston Southern.  He said you really have to pick it up, and that helped Thomas really pick it up for the next game (against Loyola Chicago).”