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K-State Men's Basketball Hosts Annual Media Day


GO WILDCATS
Senior Rodney McGruder was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 team by the league coaches.

GO WILDCATS
Senior Rodney McGruder was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 team by the league coaches.
GO WILDCATS

Oct. 15, 2012

Watch replay of Weber's Press Conference 
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MANHATTAN, Kan. - First-year Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber and selected players met with the national and local news media on Monday afternoon at the team's annual media day festivities at Bramlage Coliseum.

The Wildcats return 12 lettermen, including seven players with starting experience, from a squad that posted the school's sixth consecutive 20-win season and fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament in five seasons in 2011-12.  The team returns over 80 percent of its scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, blocks and minuted played in 2012-13.

Senior Jordan Henriquez, Martavious Irving and Rodney McGruder, along with Weber, will participate in Big 12 Media Day on Wednesday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

Below is transcript Weber's press conference and selected comments from players.


Kansas State Head Coach Bruce Weber

Opening statement…
“It is an exciting time of year for us. Obviously with the start of practice, if you are coach it is what you wait all year to get the chance to be with your guys on a consistent basis, and kind of create a foundation for the season. Beyond that, I think it is an exciting time at K-State. There is so much positive energy with the athletic program, with the whole campus, obviously football, volleyball, and equestrian having great seasons. For us, the practice facility being opened, and just seeing the commitment there. I think even on campus, President Schulz’s vision for 2025 and becoming a top 50 public research institution. It is just exciting to be a part of it to be honest, and I think we all feel it as a staff. Now what can we do with it. Can we use this positive energy to keep our program going in the right direction? As a team you have got to feel good. We have some veterans led by three seniors. Rodney (McGruder) of course, Jordan (Henriquez), and Martavious (Irving). Guys that have logged a lot of minutes and produced in big games, but even beyond those three you have a lot of other people that played. They played minutes. They started at some point at different times. So you feel good that you are not starting over. Even though there is a new coach, a new system, and a new staff, you have a group that has been together. The trip was a positive for us. I went into the trip, and I told a few of you that wins and losses are not important on the trip, but it was just ten practices, getting guys experience, and getting to know them on and off the court. We did not realize how good the competition was going to be so we had a chance to see them in tough situations which really helped us as we try to move forward.”

On the leadership of the player…
“I think leadership is something that we talked about a lot with them. That first spring you are doing workouts you do not get a feel. We had a chance with the Brazil trip, as I said, to see them in live action, see them in difficult situations, and that is something that somebody has got to grab. Somebody has got to be a leader. Rodney (McGruder) does it by example. Everyone does it differently. Jordon (Henriquez) is kind of the social guy. Everybody gets along with him. He talks to everybody. I call him the mayor of Manhattan because he probably shakes more hands than the mayor here. We still need somebody. We have talked about holding everybody accountable whether it is going to class, getting to practice, the playing intensity level, listening to coaches, saying the right things in the locker room, and all that stuff adds up and can be very important. A fan even media, you do not see it on the outside. You can see it when they do not have success, but you do not see the day to day part of it. I am hoping Rodney will continue to start saying some things besides how hard he plays. He puts in more time than anyone. I think it would be nice if Angel (Rodriquez), if your point guard can be your leader then it really helps. I think he feels more confident about himself and his situation, and Will (Spradling) too. Will is quit but at the same time Will probably understands our system better than anyone. We say something and boom. He has a great feel of the game, but it is still about holding somebody accountable in the locker room when something does not go right. That will be the test of the true leader.“

On the team being more advanced than his past…
“Going into it, I knew a little bit. You know when you go channel surfing through ESPN and you watch a game here or there. I actually did CBS, I was in studio last year for CBS sports network and followed their NCAA games so I had a little bit of a feel, but I did not know totally what to expect. You study and watch film. There is a positive that you have veterans. The guys that have played that have logged minutes. When I went to Southern Illinois, they told me if we won five games my first year that would be a great job. I could not understand that because I always thought that you had a chance to be successful if you get them to buy in and guard, and that is what that group did. It is kind of a mixture of what we had a Southern. There they were very hungry and wanted success. They had not won. They did anything we asked. I think we have a good attitude about these guys. They buy in. At Illinois we had some pretty talented guys. They had a little bit of experience, but not enough. Then two years after that they were obviously pretty good. It is a little bit similar.”

On distinguishing the one and two guards…
“Ideally if you do not have to then it is great because that means that you have more than one guy that can handle the ball, pass, and get into stuff. I think we have that a little bit. Angel (Rodriguez) wants it and that is great. I am trying to get him, if somebody else gets a rebound, if Will (Spradling) gets a rebound, if Shane (Southwell) gets a rebound they can push the ball and get down the court. Angel’s shooting, and we will see in a game, but it has really improved. I want to get him shots also. He has got to break that high school habit. You watch high school point guards and they pass it and then they stand there until they get it back. He has got to get more involved. Will can handle the ball, he understands the game, he is a good passer, a good post feed guy. Shane is a good passer. Martavious (Irving) can do it. Michael Orris is like a lot of freshman and is fighting and trying to figure it all out. You have some guys that guard with toughness so it is not easy on him, but he is not backing down. If we can get to that point then it is going to be that much more harder to guard, and we will be more successful.”

Senior Guard Rodney McGruder
On his midset heading into his senior year…
“I just try to be a great listener. When coach (Weber) first came here, he said the success of the team depends on the seniors. We have to buy into what he is preaching to us. As long as we buy in and go out and play as hard as we can, only the best can come out of it.”

On becoming the team’s vocal leader…
“It is something that I will take on. I want to be a leader of this team and I am going to be a leader of this team. I will take on that challenge from Coach Weber.”

On how he is becoming a better leader…
“I think just listening to the coaches and helping other people out. Being vocal and holding every one of my teammates accountable.”

Senior Center Jordan Henriquez
On Coach Weber’s coaching style…
“The coaching style is completely different. Coach Weber is more into the basics – doing everything slow until we get it right. We get a lot of repetitions at it, so that is good.”

On being a leader…
“It is a day-by-day process. First it starts with us adjusting with the change. As senior being coached by someone for three years and then coming into a new coach for your senior year, it is different. As a senior, this is a huge adjustment and I feel like I am adjusting well. As for a leadership role, I feel like day by day, I continue to get better as a leader.”

Junior Guard Omari Lawrence
On adjusting to the new coaching staff…
“I think this coaching staff has a lot of trust in me. They really want me to improve my skills this year. They are very vocal with me and have been following me throughout the summer and that has helped me become a better player.”

On where he has made the most improvement…
“I have just improved upon my shooting, my conditioning and getting my body ready for the season.”

On improving his shooting ability…
“I have improved from last year step by step with my teammates and with everybody else helping me out. I shoot for a couple hours after every practice. I just want to get a little better and get my technique down before the start of the season.”

Sophomore Guard Angel Rodriquez
On the departure of Frank Martin…
“It was tough. I was confused, sad and I felt like the world was going to end. I talked to my people and they told me to relax and take my time. I am happy that I made the choice to stay at K-State.”

On the media’s perception of the team…
“I think that we are underrated but it does not matter to us. I guess respect is something that you have to gain and that is what we are here for. We are going to work every day, continue to get better and by the end of this year, people are going to realize that they should have counted on us a little more.”

Junior Guard Will Spradling
On taking the program to the next level…
“We have to get some Big 12 Championships, Big 12 Tournament Championship and hopefully make some deeps runs in the NCAA Tournament.”

On being a leader this season…
“Our seniors have done a great job. Angel has stepped up more this year and I am trying to step up more, too.”

Sophomore Forward Nino Williams
On adjusting to the new coaching staff…
“I think that last year was about building toughness and being defensive-minded. This year, coach Weber has been teaching us how to play without the ball, reading and reacting and just teaching us the game more. He is more of a teacher than a disciplinarian.”

On the differences in coaching staffs…
“I feel like everybody has a chance (this year). Everybody has a fresh start, you really do not have a record with Bruce because he does not know you and you really do not know him. We have only practiced for a couple of days but he kind of got a feel for us in Brazil so everyone kind of knows where they stand but everyone is just trying to get playing time.”

On what position he will be playing…
“I play mainly the four but I can guard guys like Rodney (McGruder) and switch off on guys like Will (Spradling). I like to guard everybody and I can rebound with fours. Offensively, I can score with the fours and threes, it does not matter.”