Blog Entry

KSU's turnaround is something to be admired

Posted on: March 1, 2011 1:02 am
Edited on: March 1, 2011 8:53 am
I got to Kansas City the afternoon of the Kansas State-UNLV game just before Christmas, checked into my hotel, went upstairs, dropped my bag and immediately came back downstairs to grab a late lunch. In the lobby, I ran into KSU coach Frank Martin. Rather than eat, I sat there and talked.

I asked about Jacob Pullen.

About the recent loss at Florida.

About the lack of a leader on this squad.

"We'll be alright," Martin assured me. But it sounded more like a hope than a promise. A few hours later, Pullen and Curtis Kelly were suspended. Then the Wildcats fell to UNLV, started 2-5 in the Big 12 and lost two rotation players (Freddy Asprilla and Wally Judge), at which point KSU's promising season was lost for good because coaches just don't overcome player suspensions, player defections and a bad first two months of the season.

Or at least that's what most thought.

Turns out, most were wrong.

Monday's 75-70 win at No. 7 Texas pushed Kansas State's record to 21-9 overall, 9-6 in the Big 12 -- this after starting the season 14-8 overall, 2-5 in the Big 12. That means the Wildcats have won seven of their past eight and in the process gone from the wrong side of the bubble to safely into any projected NCAA tournament field. It also means this: Frank Martin deserves Big 12 Coach of the Year consideration. No, the Wildcats won't win the Big 12 like they were supposed to win it; they dug a hole too deep. But one way to prove your worth as a coach is to overcome adversity and turn a bad season good midflight, and Martin has spent the past month doing exactly that -- Monday's win at Texas serving as just the most recent example.
Category: NCAAB

Since: Mar 29, 2007
Posted on: November 15, 2011 3:08 am

KSU's turnaround is something to be admired

Were you speaking to me? If so, it was perhaps the most uninformed or insecure post Ive seen online, anywhere. All I did was praise KSU, and went on to say I want those tough rivalries, and those stop when your rival is dwelling in the basketball basement for years. If you take compliments on your favorite team like this, Id hate to be in a 200 mile radius if someone told you something somewhat bad about KSU. You really need to get over the inferiority complex. You are the one that used the term "Ku's little brother", well pal, KSU is NOT our brother, they have been our whipping with that, Mildcat.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2011 4:15 pm

Kansas State blew it and should be admired?

Gary, you are more often right than wrong. Your sources are usally as good as your instincts. Yet here in this one blog entry you seem to trip on your untied shoelaces. Kansas State was chose by the Big XII coaches as the preseason champion of the conference. Kansas State began the year ranked in the top 5 nationally by both the coaches and the writers. As you point out in the blog, they fell on their faces. Frank Martin seems like a nice guy (at least away from the court when not screaming at his players or 'laying on the brow') but he obviously failed miserably in the first two third of this season. His two best players were suspended for taking improper benefits from a local mechant. (Frank was seemingly unaware of what was happening under his very nose). His next two best players left the program during the season. (Frank was the primary in their actions). His team bickered and his team chemistry was in shambles from players he brought into the program. Now, finally, the team decides to focus on basketball and you want to anoint Frank Martin the coach of the year? After all this he finally is beginning to achieve what everyone thought he should have achieved from the beginning? He should be held up above all other coaches in the nation as coach of the year? Come on Gary, you must know some coaches who are good guys and run clean and cohesive programs who qualify for honors as coaches. This one got away from you, Gary. Please!

Since: Mar 28, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2011 1:59 pm

KSU's turnaround is something to be admired

I understand your reasoning as you speak of overcoming adversity. Frank Martin has done an outstanding job, that cannot be denied. Coaching, ormaybe COY honors need to be defined a little better possibly. I disagree with you when it comes to the coach who has done the most extraordinary job during the season. Coaching is a year round job and not just seasonal. Recruiting, conditioning (mental and physical), developing chemistry, etc. are all parts of a coaches job as well as x's and o's.

So lets be clear- Larry Brown's 1988 honor means little to me and I am a KU fan. More teams have had up and down seasons like KSU's than you suspect, and Frank Martin has not won anything as of yet, let alone a National Title. If you find it more impressive for a team to fall and overcome adversity than one who sustains, that's fine.

As far as your comment about who outperformed preseason rankings being an errant way of making a choice-let us also be clear. I did not say Bill Self should be a candidate or anyone else who has sustained for that matter. I agree it should be a coach who has exceeded expectations though. Steve Lavin has, Frank Martin has not. Roy Williams has done the same and so far more than Martin at this point. Expectations at KSU were much higher than what has been accomplished at KSU this year. Do you believe that Martin has any responsibility in the fall expeienced or do you believe he only has reason to be credited with the successes.  In other words,if this team is this good now-Why were they not earlier? Up and down seasons are not nessecarily a good progression in college hoops while a continued upward movement is. That is why Steve Lavin beats Martin hands down. 

Since: Dec 14, 2009
Posted on: March 2, 2011 1:21 pm

KSU's turnaround is something to be admired

Just to be clear, Larry Brown won National Coach of the Year in 1988, and he deserved it. Any time a team overcomes adversity and achieves great success, that is impressive coaching -- much more impressive than if the team started out great and sustained that. Also, it's a mistake to base COY on who outperformed preseason rankings. It's too easy for people to rank a team low when they should have been ranked high in the first place. The COY should be that coach which did the most extraordinary job of coaching during the year. Right now people are recognizing the extraordinary job Frank Martin has done in overcoming great adversity and turning his team around. It's almost unheard of for a team that everyone had left for dead to make this dramatic a turnaround and emerge as one of the toughest teams in the nation. It's too early to say who should be COY, but if the Wildcats keep performing at this level, and make a deep NCAA run, Martin should be in the conversation.

Since: Mar 28, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2011 10:31 am

KSU's turnaround is something to be admired

I love the post referring to KU's 1988 team. There are a lot of similarities between that KU team and this years Wildcats. I have to say that I've given that some consideration over the past two weeks. KU had defections- the fresman center who transferred to Long Beach St. and Otis Livingston who went to Idaho. They had a player (Marvin Branch) become academically ineligible at semester. They also had injuries. KSU has had similar issues.
KU was ranked #1 by Basketball Digest in the preseason issue, fell out of the rankings, got an at large bid, and won the National Title led by a pre season All American named Danny Manning.
   I didn't believe that qualified Larry Brown for COY honors. I also Don't believe KU was the best team in the nation that year. They just got hot at the right time and had a star player put them on his back along with some decent talent and win 6 games in a row.
   Could that happen this year with KSU? It's possible. Not probable. If it were to happen again, and the people at KSU celebrate a National Title it still wouldn't make Martin COY.

Since: Mar 28, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2011 10:01 am

KSU's turnaround is something to be admired

Wow! Frank Martin for Coach of the year! That is not only absurd but quite humorous as well! I have already complimented them on their turnaround and given praise to Martin and his staff for righting the ship. But COY, hahaha.
  This just proves the lack of objectivity, and great bias of some posters. COY is awarded to a coach whose team has exceeded and surprised based on what they possessed coming into the season. Martin's Wildcats were ranked as high as #3 in many polls and were an overwhelming favorite to win the Big 12. They are currently unranked and have just recently played their way off the bubble. I do believe they will be ranked next week if they win this weekend. This is a far cry from what was expected.
   If one believes that a midseason freefall out of the rankings and a return to tourney status is the basis for a coach to receive COY attention, then Martin is certainly a candidate. But if that is what you believe, then you must conceed that Roy Williams at UNC has him beat. The Tar Heels have plummetted out of the ranking too. Only to play their way back to a #13 ranking and a share of 1st place in the ACC with Duke. An even more impressive turnaround, wouldn't you agree?
   Based on a team exceeding expectations, KU's Bill Self has taken his team higher than Martin has taken KSU. KU was picked as low as 5th in the Big 12 and as high as 7th in some preseason polls. Right now, they are 1st in the Big 12 and #2 in the nation.
   I'm not promoting Self for COY. That honor belongs to Steve Lavin at St. John's! I'm just illustrating clearly why Frank Martin is not even close to being a candidate for COY.
  Try being a bit more objective in your thinking. Subjective thinking can ruin your credibility.

Since: Mar 28, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2011 9:34 am

KSU's turnaround is something to be admired

Sorry Venom I saw your correction after I had already posted

Since: Mar 28, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2011 9:32 am

KSU's turnaround is something to be admired

Mr Venom- OJ Mayo went to USC and was recruited there by Tim Floyd. There were also improprieties in his recruitment which were well documented and landed USC in the NCAA doghouse and went on to cost Mike Garrett his job as AD.

Since: Jan 9, 2010
Posted on: March 1, 2011 3:59 pm

KSU's turnaround is something to be admired

Valid point, to which Frank Martin himself has acknowledged.  But you have to keep in mind their were definate chemistry issues early on, the team didn't seem to like playing ball together.  Martin has completely scrapped his offense and taught the team a completely different scheme right in the middle of big 12 season, and since he installed a new offense, the only loss KSU has had was on that last second shot that would have equalled a win if only there was 1.2 sec left on the inbound play instead of 1.1, that's the only thing that kept this team from going 8-0 in February. 

Coach of the year?  Maybe not.  Yes the cats were picked to win the big 12, so anything short of that according to the preseason expectations is a letdown, thus not worth giving the coach of the year award to FM.  However, this team looked like it was headed to the CBI at best, players being suspended, players leaving, no-one looking interested in playing the game.  Something has to be said for that, and for that reason Frank Martin's name better at least be talked about in the COY conversation.

Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: March 1, 2011 12:23 pm

KSU's turnaround is something to be admired

LEts also remember that he was coach when all the problems started. So I agree he should take the credit for the turn around. But he should also take the blame for the mid season dive.

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