K-State Talks About Trip to Hawaii, Game with Howard

Senior Jamar Samuels averaged 11.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in the Diamond Head Classic.

Dec. 29, 2011

Head coach Frank Martin
On the Hawaii trip...
"We saw that when we play as a whole, pay attention to detail and don't get wrapped up in the emotions of a game that we can be a pretty good basketball team.  We are still a work in progress, but we have a chance to be a good team if we do things right."

On practice since the team has gotten back from Hawaii...
"We have been okay.  The time change (from Hawaii) has been difficult to adjust.  It just messes you up.  It takes you some time to get back adjusted to the time here.  You spend six days over there in Hawaii, you get adjusted to that time, then you come back and two days later you are still feeling the effects."

On stressing focus with this team...
"Our challenge with this team has been immaturity.  It has been the same (challenge) since day one.  And when I mean immaturity, I mean that this team needs to focus on the important things; the attention to detail.  We have a good group of players in our lockerroom, but our immaturity leads to our lack of focus.  However, our guys have improved in that area in the past few weeks, and hopefully, that continues."

On what he would like to see in the last non-conference game...
"Consistency.  That's it.  The immaturity of our team has not allowed us to be as consistent as we would like to be.  We are good against the good teams and not so good against the average teams.  We have to be better in that area.  We have taken some positive steps in the last 10-12 days.  I want to see us continue that."

On the guys stepping up and being more consistent...
"You can take something to the bank everyday and that's Will (Spradling) and Rodney's (McGruder) approach.  Those two guys are phenomenal.   They are so committed to taking every available second to help prepare to get better. Jamar (Samuels) has gotten better in that regard.  He's got to continue to get better in that area for us to continue to improve as a basketball team.  The other guys are a little up-and-down.  However, Will and Rodney have been great.  Whether they make a positive or negative play, it doesn't affect how they go about the next play."

On coaching this team...
"I think it's their willingness to be coached.  They work.  They have a pretty good bond with one another and are honest with one another.  When guys aren't doing right, they don't just accept it; they step up and force each other to do right.  When you have that camaraderie, that honesty in the lockerroom, its fun to coach those types of guys.  It's hard to coach players that are selfish."

On the Big 12...
"I think the league is real good.  The national perception of our league is that Kansas and Texas have to be undefeated for everyone to think that our league is good.  However, when you play schedules like those teams to have played, you aren't going to be undefeated.  Both those teams are still really good, but they aren't undefeated, so folks think we aren't as good as a league.  But we have other teams that have gotten a lot better over the last five years.  Look at how highly-ranked Missouri and Baylor are.  Both have experienced players and you can see why they are doing well."           

On Howard...
"They are really athletic and fast.  They are scrappy.  They are playing Georgetown and are down 17-0 to start the game and they cut it to a two-point game.  They are one of those gritty, hard-playing teams.  They get after you and don't back down.  They are a long team, they are athletic and they are fast.  They remind me a lot of Charleston Southern."

Sophomore Will Spradling
On staying focused with the Big 12 season approaching...
"Not really.  We are just taking it one day at a time. Frank really keeps us focused on the game right in front of us.  We prepare the same exact way regardless of the opponent we are playing.  So we are used to how we prepare and we aren't going to jump ahead of ourselves."

On what you want to accomplish in this last non-conference game...
"Just to get a win.  As long as we continue to run offense like we did in Hawaii, we should continue to get better as a team."

Junior Rodney McGruder
On the travel back from Hawaii...
"Just the travel back.  Changing planes.  I'm still adjusting to the time change.  I have woken up in the middle of the night the last few nights.  I'm hoping I get adjusted back soon."

On the playing better against better teams...
"I believe we do play to the level of our competition.  It is something we need to improve on.  Instead of stepping on our opponents and taking them out of the game, we let them stay around and give them the confidence they can get back into the game.  It is important to do that against Howard."