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Wildcats Talk, Prepare for Syracuse


GO WILDCATS
GO WILDCATS

GO WILDCATS

March 16, 2012

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Kansas State and Syracuse each held press conferences on Friday afternoon to discuss Satruday's game. The Wildcats and Orange will meet at 12:15 p.m. EDT from the Consol Energy Center on Saturday in the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament.

Kansas State Head Coach & Player Quotes
Head Coach Frank Martin
Opening Statement…
“Real excited with our guys. Our guys are extremely excited about being one of the lucky teams that's still fortunate enough to be playing. I couldn't be prouder of the guys, whether they're older or younger, the way they've embraced their responsibilities and continue to fight to build our program.”

On recruiting and his preconceived persona …
“You know, Jordan's story is absolutely true. I was sitting there in the home visit. I started rambling off in Spanish, because that is my natural language. I could tell the way he was looking at me that something wasn't right (smiling). When I finished that great first three, four sentences, he looked at me and said, Coach, I don't speak Spanish. You can image how big I felt. I answer your question a lot. This is what I'll say: My phone doesn't stop ringing with people that want me to coach their kids. So if what I'm doing is wrong, then someone needs to tell those parents and the grandmas that write me letters every day thanking me for holding kids accountable. I've got my own way of doing things. It was the way I was raised. I'm a little emotional. I'm not scared to show my emotion in the public eye. Some guys are real emotional in private and they have a public personality. With me what you see is what you get. I'm not different people in different places.”

On what advancing to the Sweet 16 would mean…
“It's that next step. Getting into the tournament, when you do it once, it's an unbelievable experience. When you start doing it on a regular basis, it means that your program's one of the better ones in the country. When you start getting into the second weekend, then it starts making you feel like a lot of the things that you preach, that your kids do, the kind of people in your program, your staff, that everyone's working in the same direction, 'cause you can't advance unless things are smooth. If you're dysfunctional, it's going to catch up with you and you're not making it past that first weekend. But the deeper you go in this, the more credibility goes to your kids and your program.”

On categorizing Syracuse…
“Discipline. I mean, every year they play the game exactly how Boeheim wants them to play. You can watch a Syracuse tape from 10 years ago and you can watch them today, and they make little adjustments based on their personnel. See, it was my scout when I was at Cincinnati, and the discipline with which they play. Their zone defense, you take five guys and put them somewhere else, put five new guys there, three weeks later, they communicate better than anyone in the country in their defense. The way you do that is by having some discipline within your program as to how you want them to play. There's a reason he's won that many games. There's a consistency factor there. You do what he tells you to do or you're not going to play.”

On how his intensity reflects on the team …
“The same way Coach Boeheim's discipline reflects on his team. Listen, there's no team that plays at this time of year that doesn't have unbelievable pride and passion in the way they approach their team and their jobs. Everyone that plays at this time of year has that. They don't have that, they're not playing right now. Like I said before, there's an old saying, that a good team usually resembles their coach. That means that that's a reflection on me. Then I guess I'm doing some things the right way, that I got our team playing hard. Like the question that was asked earlier, people think about Kansas State basketball, they think about toughness, hard playing. That's the reason I'm sitting here today because that's how I've approached my life. Go at it, don't ever step back. If our teams do that, that means we're maximizing who we are. That's what I'm about. I take that as a compliment.”

On Syracuse zone defense…

“Because not all of us can recruit 6'5" guards and 6'11" frontline guys. John Cheney used to play his matchup zone. That was impossible to score against it. The problem is that when your guards are both 6'5", your frontline guys are 6'9", and they're all as long as can be, it makes it hard to pass around or get inside the zone. Everyone says it's a 2 3 zone. It's not a 2 3 zone. It's a condensed 2 2 1 zone. What they do is those wings are way up, they match up with you. If you go inside the zone, the guy you get it to better be prepared to score over a 7 footer because then those length guys match up with your perimeter guys.”

Junior Guard Rodney McGruder

On if too much attention is given to Coach Martin’s intensity over his coaching…
“I do believe that. They just see the guy, you might get a small clip from ESPN or something like that, you just see him getting after us. You don't see all the hard work that he put in with us in practice and all the other things he does for us, so...”

On how the team has replaced the scoring of Jacob Pullen
“We still run the same offense. Nothing has changed really. Different guys step up on different occasions, you know. That's been our success all season.”

On strategy against Syracuse…
“We’ve just really been focusing in on our principles, the way we play defense. We don't want to change anything up, play any different against Syracuse. We're going to play Kansas State basketball, and that's play hard defense and rebound the basketball.”

Junior Forward Jordan Henriquez

On Southern Miss limiting K-State’s rebounding…
“They were real physical. They sent all five guys to the glass, kind of kept us from rebounding a little bit. But I know that overall they did out rebound us on the offensive end. At the end of the game we came out with a win.”

On his recent increase in production…
“I could just say, uhm, my confidence level has gone up. You know, finding the right spots on the floor, whether it's against the man or the zone, just being in my comfort zone.”

On Coach Martin’s personality rubbing off on the team…
“I kind of knew about that already (laughter). You know, his personality, it helps us on the floor and off the floor. But I'm kind of used to him now, so I've adjusted to it. He's a motivational guy. However way he does it, whether it's in an aggressive way or in a passionate way, we know he doesn't mean any harm, he's just trying to motivate us.”

On attacking Syracuse without Fab Melo inside…
“We know they're aggressive with or without him. They're long, they're a long zone. We're going to have to do different things to disrupt them, like ball faking, shifting a lot. That should help us. In my case, it's just about me finding an open area and kind of staying with one of the outside guys, doing what I can to help my team.”

On comparing Syracuse zone defense to Baylor’s…
“I feel like Baylor's zone was a lot more passive. Watching Syracuse on film, they're a lot more aggressive. I know that they lead the country in steals. So I know they're really aggressive with their zone, and that's what we have to attack.”

Freshman Guard Angel Rodriguez

On his initial thoughts on Syracuse…
“Their guys are long, so obviously we got to be careful. We got to make a lot of fake before we pass the ball. When they do decide to press, they're very aggressive, so we got to stay together and help each other out. The coaches prepared us well today in terms of, you know, our players not leaving me alone with the ball. You know, somebody's got to stay in the middle and stuff like that.”

Statement regarding chant from some members of Southern Miss pep band…
“I heard it. I heard it when I was shooting the free throw. You know, I don't pay attention to that nonsense, especially because Puerto Rico is a commonwealth, so we don't need no type of papers. You know, their athletic director and the personnel from their school came to apologize. I accepted it because there's ignorant people and I know that's not how they want to represent their university. I moved on already. I got a game to focus on.”

On what a win would mean to the team…
“It would obviously mean a lot. Regardless of their seed, a win is a win. We're just trying to make a run in this tournament, whether we play the No. 1 seed or the No. 12 seed.”

On matching up with Scoop Jardine…
“Uhm, he's a grown man. He's a veteran. He obviously has experience   a lot more than what I do. But doesn't mean I'm not gonna battle, I'm not gonna play hard. You know, I got to respect him, but I still got to do my job.”

Syracuse Coach and Player Quotes

Head Coach Jim Boeheim
On if making the Sweet 16 still is a strong barometer
“Well, I don't know if it has in public opinion or expert opinion. I think it's important. It's always been important to me. I don't know if it really says this, but it says you're in the last 16 teams playing in the country. I don't know if that means you're one of the best 16   I guess you could argue that point a little bit   but I think it means something like that. There's a lot of teams that play basketball. There's a lot of teams that are good teams. A lot of good programs. I've always thought it's a good thing to get there, get to the Sweet 16. The good thing about it is you still have a chance to go further.”

On Rodney McGruder…
“He's a very, very good player. He can shoot it. He can drive. He's a terrific player. He really is. Tremendous player. Those kind of guys are always difficult to play against.”

On his own and Coach Martin’s intensity…
“Well, the level of both of our intensities I think is high. I think what you meant to say is he may show his level a little bit more than I do. That's possible. I think he's done an unbelievable coaching job. I've known him for a long time. You know, I wouldn't want to have him mad at me. But he's really a good guy. Always been good to be around. He's done a tremendous job at Kansas State, tremendous job.”

On matching up inside with K-State without Fab Melo…
“(Rock and Baye) played this year when they both played against Cincinnati, they played against Yancy Gates. He's a very good big guy. So they played against good big guys. They worked in practice every day against Fab. So they've played against guys that are big. It's important for them, you know, to play as well as they can play.”

On his seniors starting strong against K-State…
“Well, it's important for all of our players to play well. It's certainly important for our two seniors. They've set the tempo for the year. When they played well, we've had big games. It's important for them to play well. It doesn't always translate into scoring a lot, but they need to play well, they really do. Rebound, defense, make plays, you know, we need those two guys to do that.”

On K-State’s defense…

“they're a very, very good defensive team. You know, you have to be aware of that. You have to make sure the players understand there's not going to be easy shots. They contest everything. They pressure. They're a tremendous, tremendous defensive team and rebounding team. That's what you kind of think about as a coach when you think about them. Obviously with us and our zone, we try to adapt to what people do against us, who they try to go to. We try to adjust our zone as much as we can to the teams we're playing against.”

Kris Joseph
On if he feels Syracuse has a target on its back…
“I mean, not necessarily. Any team that's a higher seed would feel like they have a target on their back. What we want to focus on is going out every game and playing our style of basketball and advancing one game at a time. Yesterday's game is over with. We were able to come out on top and we're looking forward to playing Kansas State.”

On playing without Fab Melo again…
“when we lost to Notre Dame, that was our first game without him. I think that prepared us for this game, or yesterday against UNC   Asheville, because we knew what to expect. We knew Rakeem would come in and do a great job, we knew Baye would come in at the 5 and do a great job. We were able to play without him. As we go forward, we'll get used to playing without Fab. He's definitely a great loss for us. But I think everyone stepped it up. We rebounded well yesterday, better than we have in the past, and we did it together as a group. If we continue to do that, we'll be successful.”

On comparing K-State to any teams in the Big East…
“Same teams, Pittsburgh, West Virginia. They deny the wins really tough. They kind of force you to go back door a lot. They rebound well. They have a great big man in Henriquez who blocks shots. It's going to be a tough game.”

Scoop Jardine
On defending Angel Rodriguez…
“I tell you one thing, he's a good player. We just want to try to stay in front of him, make it tough for him. If he turn the ball over, that's on him. For the most part we just trying to make it hard for him and his team, trying to get into any offense that he run. For us, we just want to play our defenses and stay sound, stay mentally ready for anything they bring to the rim.”

On Rodney McGruder…
“Well, we really haven't watched film on Kansas State yet. But I watched the game yesterday. The last six games, I know he's averaging like 22 points. He's playing at a high level. Kris know a lot about him, too, because they was on the same AAU team. We've seen these guys throughout our career, AAU, summer league. We know what to expect from him. He's a great player. He's very, you know, talented. But for the most part we just have to believe in ourselves and believe in our zone, believe in the things we can do on defense. Just try to make it tougher on star guys like that, make his shots tougher, and also gang rebound, because that's where they get they lead, on the offensive glass. For the most part I don't think one guy can beat us. I think we shut him down, make it tougher for him, we should be fine.