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Frank Martin Teleconference Transcript


GO WILDCATS
Head coach Frank Martin has won 95 games in four seasons at K-State.

GO WILDCATS
Head coach Frank Martin has won 95 games in four seasons at K-State.
GO WILDCATS

Oct. 14, 2011

Head Coach Frank Martin
On no midnight madness this year...
"We want the event to complement the whole football game experience and every other year it seems like the football game is an away game on that weekend.  It's a great event for kids, students, and fans.  However, if you do it too much, I think it loses its steam.  We are going to take a year off and hopefully we will have a football game on the same weekend next year and we will go at again next year."

On Rodney McGruder not being voted onto the preseason all-conference team...
"He is a prideful kid, so I am sure that bothers him.  However, we do not pay attention to that kind of stuff.  I am not going to spend any time talking about it and I do not think he will spend much time talking about it.  He wants to win, and if you win then all of that stuff takes care of itself.  Me personally, I found it kind of interesting.  At the conclusion of a season, which is when the award matters because it is about what you got done, whether it is individually or as a team, they voted him in.  Now the preseason, the following year, he is not voted in.  So that was interesting and unique, but who cares.  It is about winning games and about playing the season, and we will find that out starting tomorrow."

On the concerns for the team this year...
"It is like every year.  The rules are so strict, our inability to be around the guys all summer that we really do not know what you have until you start spending time with them.  What I have concerns about going into the season is that there are going to be some guys that have never played at K-State before, never been to a single practice, that we are going to need to help the team.  The good thing is that the sole responsibility of leading and winning is not going to be on their shoulders, we have other people to take care of that.  We have a group of guys that are extremely experienced, and then a group of guys that have absolutely no experience.  Those two groups connecting will determine how good we can be as a team."

On whether he would have expectations or fly under the radar...
"I like expectations.  Here's the deal, people on the outside, people in the media...you guys' opinions change with the wind.  My opinion never changes.  The expectations that we place on each other as coaches, the coaches on players and the players on us, that doesn't change.  Those are the only expectations that ever matter to me.  Our expectations are to go into the season and win the Big 12, just like they were last year and the year before that. We're consistent with what we expect from ourselves and our players."

On the excitement of getting this season started...
"I spent the spring and the summer touring the state and that's part of the job.  I get it, and I've got to do it.  For the most part I like doing it, but what I really enjoy doing every single year is being around those guys day in and day out, starting tomorrow.  That's where those daily interactions come into place, to engage with your team in an educational way as a whole rather than individually.  Having to sit there and watch film to figure out what I need to do to help somebody become better.  To figure out the train of thought that needs to be taken to help the players, and then watching those kids go in there every single day and battle and learn, to ultimately go out on the floor and win games.  That's the part of my job that I absolutely love and I get excited this time of year."

On the athletic ability of this squad...
"Every year at the beginning of the season, I've told you guys that our ultimate goal is to build our depth and athleticism.  I think this year that we are more athletic and we're longer than we were last year when we started the season.  That's a credit to our coaches that they continue to go out and find those kinds of kids, and recruit them and convince them to come to school here."

On the team's health...
"Everybody is locked and loaded.  Everyone is 100 percent.  Full throttle moving forward and you know everyone is excited and so are we."

On the team's athleticism and length affecting how the team will play...
"Last year we had to back off a little bit from how we like to play defensively and how we like to play offensively, it was something that had to be done with that team.  I think this year we'll be able to get back to being a little bit more aggressive defensively.  I'm not into full court trapping and all that stuff.  It's never been my belief that's how you play defensive basketball.  Last year, we had to resort to more zone and a safer man-to-man on defense.  I think this year we'll be able to be a little more aggressive defensively.  Also, we're long and interchangeable, so we can do some more things on defense than we've had in the past.  On offense, I think we'll have that depth again, meaning that we can put that pedal to the metal."

On the most important thing he wants to see out of Jamar (Samuels) in these first few practices...
"I want him to be consistent with who he has been the last four months or so.  Jamar has had some great moments for our program, but you know he's also had some other moments that make you scratch your head.  That's been my battle with him, consistency and growth.  You know Jamar ended the season at 201 pounds, and right now he weighs 233 pounds.  So he's made a commitment to making himself better, now he's got to be consistent with that and translate that into that everyday preparation and desire on the basketball court and that's going to be his challenge.  That has been my communication with him and that's the step he has got to take now.  This is his last chance, it's not like he has next year to improve on that. He's got to go out there and do it."

On how different Jamar (Samuels) looks at 233 pounds...
"He doesn't look like a lizard anymore; he actually looks like a Division I athlete.  He came in as a skinny guy, and he had kind of stayed that way.  He's the one guy we had whose body wouldn't change.  It's not a weight-room thing; he'd go to the weight-room like everyone else.  It's the nutrition, it's the caring for your body, and those are all the things that go into place with being a high-level Division I athlete.  We've been preaching it and preaching it.  I think that it has finally sunk in. You know when you see him out there, even though it's been individuals only two hours a week, you can tell right away that he's a stronger player.  He's not going to get knocked around as much, and you know that's exciting.  Now it's a matter of him remaining consistent and bringing it to the floor every day."

On the use of the pinch-post offense...
"We'll do a little bit of both. That offense was good for us and it fed last year's team.  It's something that last year's team needed for a variety of reasons.  We'll continue to use it and we'll also implement some of the older things that we used to do.  They've both been successful for us, so we need to figure out which way this team plays better.  That's our duty as coaches, to figure that one out and make those kinds of decisions."

On playing against Bob Huggins this season...
"I don't like playing against friends.  When it's people like that that I'm real close to.  People that I know inside and out, they don't like to lose and it's been that way with me since my first days as a high school coach.  It's a difficult one.  The same as when we played Alabama with Anthony Grant.  You know when we beat them two years ago, it was hard for me to enjoy that moment because I could see his face."

On how the West Virginia game was arranged...
"It just happened in conversation, here's the other side of that; at the end of the day our team will be better because of that game.  Hugs loved Manhattan, Kansas [when he was coach] and continues to love it here.  We are all here because of him.  It is only fitting to give him a chance to come back to the state and play, so that he can get in front of our fans again.  If it wasn't for him we would not be here, so it's the right thing to do."

On Rodney McGruder and Will Spradling's maturity...
"All of that goes hand in hand with their growth.  They both grew a lot as last season went on, and if you remember correctly the last game that last year's team played, neither one played well against Wisconsin.  Those kids have tremendous pride and that's something that they didn't forget, so they took that right into the spring and the offseason.  With Rodney, I don't say these things during the season because then people say `oh, he's making up excuses,' but he had a bad wheel [knee] last year.  That time off allowed his knee to heal.  Those two guys took on the spring and the summer...that's what good players do.  They continue to work the way they used to.  They use the confidence that they gained from the previous season to continue to grow.  The fact they didn't play well their last game out drives them every day to take on a challenge.  Will went out with Athletes in Action, a team made up of an all-star cast of Big 12 players, and he's the MVP of the tournament, let alone the MVP of the team.  Rodney goes with a team put together with a bunch of Big East guys, who are all very talented players, they come back and Rodney is their leading scorer, and I believe their leading rebounder.  I was extremely proud of those two guys.  They went out and not only had success, but that they were leaders on those teams.  The guys that coached those two teams called me just to tell me what a joy it is to coach our guys.  That's what you hope for when you coach kids, that they understand how to do things the right way, so that when they are given responsibility they take care of it."

On who has stood out among the six newcomers...
"We're excited about all of them.  But like with all new kids, you get excited about one and then the next day they come out and their workouts are all upside down.  When you do it as long as we've been doing it, you realize that you can't get too excited about first year guys.  Omari (Lawrence) had a reputation for being a driver, who couldn't shoot and he's been shooting lights out in workouts.  Angel (Rodriguez) is obviously a point guard, that's what he does.  He has the mentality and tenacity to be one, but that every second focus that you have to have, well he's a young kid.  He's still not there.  Jeremy Jones has unbelievable speed, he shows the ability to be able to score, but then he'll go down to the other end and be completely lost on defense.  Thomas (Gibson) has had some real good moments, then he has some other moments where he gets back to the high school frame of mind.  That's the same with Adrian (Diaz) and James (Watson).  They've all shown us what we need to see, which is the ability to help our team.  Now it's our jobs as coaches, and their teammates, to help show them how to be consistent while playing to their maximum potential as often as possible.

On the issue of post scoring early on for the team...
"I don't think that'll be a problem.  I mean Jordan (Henriquez) has come a long way.  Jamar, you know people forget that he was the Sixth Man of the Year in the Big 12 two years ago.  He became a starter last year and his numbers just weren't the same.  They weren't too far off, it's not like we're talking about a guy whose never played a game of Big 12 basketball.  Jamar is going to be fine, he's going to provide some opportunities for us there.  And then out of those new guys I like what I see out of James (Watson) and Thomas (Gipson), they can really do it.  Adrian (Diaz), who we knew had the ability to shoot the ball and pass it, has showed the ability to score around the rim, too.  He's so long and athletic.  I think we'll be fine, I'm not going to tell you that it's going to be a great thing, because I don't know yet, but I don't foresee it being a problem."

On being happy about TCU joining the Big 12...
"Absolutely happy, I'm ecstatic about it.  We recruit Dallas a lot.  We can tell parents that we play down in Austin, Waco and before College Staton.  Now we'll go play in Dallas, and that's going to be great.  It will be a tremendous opportunity for us in recruiting.  From an alumni standpoint, that's where a lot of them are for us outside the state of Kansas.  In the league, I think it's awesome. TCU had a home in the Big East and shows how comfortable they are.  Our league is strong and moving forward, and they are willing to do that, it shows that our league is committed to one another and looking to grow.  I'm ecstatic, Jimmy Christian is a friend, and he's a good basketball coach.  Gary Patterson is running a hell of a football program down there.  He's a K-Stater, so he's got Big 12 written all over him.  It's a real neat deal.  I think it's a great deal."