K-State Talks About Huggins, West Virginia

Freshman Thomas Gipson has scored in double figures in 3 of the last 4 games.

Dec. 6, 2011

Head Coach Frank Martin
On coaching against friends…
“Huggs, (Alabama head coach) Anthony Grant; they are two of my dearest friends.  You can put (Ole Miss head coach) Andy Kennedy and Ronnie (Everhart) at Duquesne in the same category.  I heard Huggs say, at least after the game—you feel good for your friend that he got a win.  I know how much he believes in me, and how much he expects from me.  It is an unbelievable duty for me to make sure I prepare my team the best I can; I know he does.  I don’t like to lose, and I do not like to see friends lose. When they are playing a game on TV, I sit at home and watch and when they lose, I hurt for them.  This game is kind of bittersweet for me because we need the win and I don’t want to see him lose.”

On Bob Huggins’ effect on his career…
“He is definitely a big part of my personal success.  He has a lot to do with my success at the collegiate level.  When I was unemployed for six months after Northeastern, he went to war to help me stay in this business.  When he was in desperate need of somebody that he could trust at Cincinnati, he decided to hire me.  When it was time to make the decision to come to K-State, he would not have come unless I did.  Those are the kind of things that I never forget.”

On Bob Huggins’ lone season at K-State…
“I would not be here if not for him.  We would not have been in the NCAA Tournament in my first year if it was not for him.  He could have done what every other coach in this business would have done; he would have taken the West Virginia job and taken us assistants and all the kids with him.  That’s what everyone else in the business would have done, but that is not what he is about.  He knows this school gave him a chance.  That is something that he will never forget.  That is why he was willing to leave his staff behind because he made sure that the kids stayed behind.  He wanted to make sure that we finished the job that we came here to do.  He has got his own team and his own program, but he still lives ours through us.  I can tell you that we would have had the success we have had if it was not for him.”

On Bob Huggins’s departure…
“Everything happened so fast and it is not like there was time to have a lot of conversations.  He was told on a Monday that (John) Beilein was taking the job at Michigan and on Thursday, he was taking the job at West Virginia.  There was not a lot of time to have deep conversations with everybody, but he kept me informed every step of the way.  That Thursday morning, he called me up and said ‘I really need to see you’ and we met up at Bob’s Diner at about 6:45 in the morning.  That is where he told me that he could not say no.  He said ‘I have to do it’.  He looked awful.  He was beat up, which I know he was because he was forced into making a tough decision, a decision he had no interest in making because he was so happy here.  He had to make that decision.  After he went in and met with the leaders of the school, he called me and he said to be ready because you have a really good chance at this and they did. Once they decided to offer me the job, he made sure that we all stayed here as a staff.  He went out of his way to call those kids and he told them to believe in me and they would be okay.”

On Huggins’s feelings toward leaving K-State…
“It was awful.  He wife and him loved it here.  I have said this before, but I was with him when someone called and offered him $2 million and he hung up on them.  About two hours later, someone offered him $2.5 million and he hung up on them.  He was not leaving here for another job.  He could have tripled his salary.  Little did he know that days later, he would be faced with such a challenge.  There was only one school that would be appealing to him and that was West Virginia.  It’s home for him.  He was beat up, but he knew that he would have to make that decision.”

On West Virginia…
"They have got a team full of young pups, but they have got three guys that have played in the FInal Four.  (Deniz) Kilicli, Truck (Bryant) and Kevin (Jones) are his seniors and they have got to perform for their team to be good.  Kevin is performing at a high clip.  I think he is averaging around 20 points and 12 rebounds.  Truck is not shooting the ball really well right now, but that is going to come and I hope that it does not come on Thursday night.  That is a team that I don’t want to play at the end of the year. Come March and April, I do not want to play those guys because all those young kids are going to be a lot more consistent and when you combine them with those three guys, you are talking about a pretty good basketball team.  I know this, those guys are going to come out and compete at a high, high level."

Senior Forward Jamar Samuels
On Bob Huggins’ recruiting him…
“Frank had already taken over at K-State, but he (Bob Huggins) still recruited me (while he was still head coach).  Knowing that he left, I always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to go with him, but I had already committed to K-State, so that is where I knew I would be playing basketball.”

On the younger players’ knowledge of Huggins…
“They do not know him because they are young.  They know who Coach (Bob) Huggins is.  I have so much respect for Coach Huggins.  They play the same style of basketball that we play, so it is going to be a very exciting game on Thursday.  I think it’s going to turn into a rivalry game.”

On his second-half play at Virginia Tech...
“We got challenged, and I knew I was not going to be able to play aggressively in the first half because of the two fouls. I knew I would have been bummed if I would have picked up a third foul.  The second half came, and I told myself to stay aggressive.  I knew they were not boxing me out, so the rebounds were wide open.”

On being named Big 12 Player of the Week…
“It is an honor to be in the same club as Denis Clemente, Jacob Pullen and Mike Beasley.  It is an honor. A lot of guys try to get it, and I finally got it.  I am going to continue to work hard and get some more.  It makes me want to strive harder and continue the things that I am doing.  I am not going to let this team down at all.  I want to be a leader, and it is my time to show people that I can be.”

On reaching his full potential…
“I think I can play a lot better, and it is my time to show it.  I am just excited for Thursday’s game.”

On Kevin Jones…
“Kevin Jones is a monster on the boards.  He is very active.  When you have a slip-up, he is definitely going to score the ball on you.  He can shoot the three.  He can dribble the ball, and he can defend.  He is a first team Big East player, and I am really looking forward to the challenge.”