Posted on: October 25, 2011 3:52 pm
By Jeff Goodman
If the Big 12 does add West Virginia - as appears to be the case from all accounts - Kansas State coach Frank Martin is ecstatic.
Not necessarily because it'll bring his mentor of sorts, Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins, to the league.
"It's a Hall of Fame coach who went to the Final Four a couple years ago," Martin told CBSSports.com. "If it does happen, it's awesome. Our league instantly gets better."
Martin said he spoke to Huggins on Monday afternoon and the two spoke exclusively about basketball.
"I don't think he had any idea this was coming," Martin said of the reports that have West Virginia leaving the Big East.
Martin said his preference is for the league to be at a dozen teams, but he reiterated that he has complete confidence in the leadership of the Big 12 - whatever direction it chooses to go.
"I have never waffled on the decisions that have been made," Martin said. "I know people on the outside want to complain that we don't have stability, but Kansas State is in a better place than it was five years ago because of the Big 12."
"West Virginia's football program is always in the top of the Big East," he added. "It's big-time football and we don't even have to talk about it basketball-wise."
The addition of West Virginia and TCU would replace outgoing Texas A&M and Missouri - which appears set to depart for the SEC.
"People talk about us being vulnerable," Martin said. "But look at who we are adding."
Posted on: July 13, 2011 1:22 am
By Jeff Goodman
Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:25 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 1:26 pm
By Matt Norlander
There are certain coaches you'd never think would embrace Twitter or use it in the right manner. Frank Martin used to fall into that category for me, but no longer. The engaging, intimidating coach occasionally tosses out decent tweets now and then. He's worth a follow if you care about college hoops and use the tweet machines.
I didn't craft a post on Frank Martin using Twitter to boost his follower count, though. In the wake of Kansas State star Jacob Pullen not getting drafted, Martin dialed up a series of encouraging and angry tweets this morning, spewing contempt at every team that didn't draft one of the best players in Kansas State history.
You can click the link to his feed above, but I've taken his tweets from earlier today and edited them for grammar below.
"I don't work for the NBA nor do I understand the NBA but I do understand winning. Look back at Jacob Pullen's record vs. the guys that got drafted. You will find that he won a lot and also had a better game from a matchup standpoint. Some people like team pictures. I like winning. So give me Jacob and Denis Clemente every time. A couple of things on Jacob, he led the Big 12 in scoring in league play, top 5 in assists, only player that was a unanimous pick four All-Defensive Team. His team won over 50 games his last 2 years, his team finished in top 4 of Big 12 every year. However he is 6 feet, not 6-3, so he is not good enough. Give me a break. Jacob stay strong and keep your faith you will succeed. I've said the same things to [Udonis] Haslem and [J.J.] Barea. You are a winner. One more thing on Jacob Pullen, he had all his individual success and led our team to all the wins in the league that has had the most first-round picks in the last two years, that being the BIG 12!!!"
I love the "some people like team pictures. I like winning" line. I'll recycle that a time or two in the next few years, if that's OK with you, coach.
Martin's hardly the only college hoops coach that was a little disappointed last night, but he couldn't have been too surprised. Pullen wasn't on many mocks, and so he had to expect this. Doesn't mean Martin can't be angry when it comes to pass, though. Pullen is the classic case of a college star with a game that doesn't translate so well to the NBA -- or at least people don't expect it to. We see it every year.
What we don't see is a fiery coach go so public in support of his player. Kudos, Frank. And Pullen will get his tryouts with teams. It wouldn't shock me in the slightest to see him make a roster, either.
Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: April 8, 2011 1:26 pm
Edited on: April 10, 2011 5:05 pm
The changes in the Texas League (now there’s a moniker that makes sense) will seem even more seismic due to the departure of Colorado and Nebraska for other conferences this summer. Of the ten programs that remain in the former Big 12, thirty percent just swapped one head dude for another.
One aspect of the Big 12 situation that has been a huge positive so far is that each coaching search was wrapped up quickly. For good or ill, these programs know who will be in charge and on the recruiting trail this summer, and returning players can get to know the new guy, which could stop the flow of transfers before it ever starts. Certainty is always better than uncertainty in these cases.
Let’s look at those three programs in transition and assess how they did with the hiring process, using the ever-popular letter grading system.
Oklahoma Sooners: A-
Out: Jeff Capel (96-69)
In: Lon Kruger (479-304)
Jeff Capel was obviously a strong recruiter who had a hard time keeping his horses in the corral once he got them on campus. This is not unfamiliar territory at the University of Oklahoma. The mixture of early entry with alleged malfeasance was a bad combo for a school that had some of the same issues under Kelvin Sampson. In that respect, Kruger is an excellent hire: he seems to be a guy who is in complete control of any program he’s coached, and there have been plenty of success stories in his time on the bench.
The only thing that makes this an A- in my mind is Kruger’s age, but that could be ameliorated by the fact that he brought along a former player, K-State kamikaze Steve Henson, as an assistant coach along with another possible future successor. If Kruger can establish a foothold and leave the program in good hands, this is an excellent hire for the Sooners.
In essence, the Sooners get a coach on the brink of his 500<sup>th</sup> victory in exchange for someone who still has a lot to learn. Kudos to Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione for going after the man he really wanted for the job and making it happen.
Texas Tech Red Raiders: B
Out: Pat Knight (50-61)
In: Billy Gillispie (140-85)
I wrote before that I think Pat Knight seems like a pretty good guy who probably will be a good coach. This was just too much for a first job. Texas Tech is hardly a plum – even Pat’s legendary father struggled to get good recruits there, and only went to the NCAA tournament four times in seven years. Knight will have a chance to show what he can do in the future, and possibly earn a shot at something better down the road.
Gillispie, despite his baggage, is probably about as good a get as Tech could expect. Looking at his career as a whole, it’s clear that Kentucky was an aberration – a pressure cooker that has jellified any number of capable coaches since Adolph Rupp’s day. In fact, it may have been a blessing in disguise. Gillispie was forced to deal with his alcohol abuse issues, and may, in fact, come back stronger than before. Look at Bob Huggins for a best-case scenario.
Gillispie does really well in Texas, and he could take Tech somewhere it’s never been before. He did it for UTEP and Texas A&M, and he can probably, somehow, do it for the Red Raiders.
Missouri Tigers: D+
Out: Mike Anderson (200-98)
In: Frank Haith (129-101)
The unscientific consensus amongst hoops writers I spoke to at the Final Four is that this hire is a loser at the press conference that could end up being a winner on the court. The likelihood is that it will fall somewhere in between the Quin Snyder years and the success the Tigers enjoyed under Anderson’s tenure. It’s worth noting, however, that Mizzou never exactly became a Big 12 powerhouse under Anderson. A third-place finish in 2009, with attendant Elite Eight appearance, was as good as it ever got. So let’s not put too high a shine on the guy just yet.
Haith, on the other hand, doesn’t even look that strong. Very few Miami coaches do, so let’s take that as a caveat. Before Haith led the team to a 23-11 mark and a tourney appearance in 2009, the Hurricanes hadn’t exactly been a rocket to the stars. Leonard Hamilton, with three straight good seasons between 1998 and 2000, was the only coach to have made something out of the gig.
The thing about Haith is that he was a Rick Barnes assistant, and he’ll be back closer to his Midwestern recruiting grounds, where he did so well for the Texas Longhorns. Whether his previous success owed more to his personality or the profile of the school he was representing will be the key thing Mizzou fans will be holding their breath to find out.
Kansas State: Incomplete
Frank Martin has admitted that he’d love to be back home in Miami, which would make fans of the program doubly thrilled. Not only do they send Frank Haith off to possibly be one of the worst coaches in the Big 12, but they could get one of the league’s – if not the nation’s -- best coaches in return? Win-win all the way. Obviously, the Florida school pretty much has to put together exactly what Martin wants to lure him away, and K-State will probably try to do the same in order to keep him. The lure of home (and much shorter recruiting trips) could be the fulcrum this turns on.
If Martin leaves, the whole picture gets murky again. But for now, the conference seems to be in decent hands. The more concentrated ten-team league becomes a little tougher to win next season. These guys will have their work cut out for them.
Posted on: February 24, 2011 12:03 am
Edited on: February 24, 2011 12:17 am
Posted by Eric Angevine
Thank you, Mr. Pullen, for saving us from the ludicrous spectre of a Nebraska at-large bid.
Thanks for scoring 27 points in a defensive slow-dance of a game.
Thanks especially for hitting 10 of 11 free throws.
Without you, that 61-57 K-State win in Lincoln might not have happened, and then we'd hear more about how the Huskers deserve to be in the NCAA tournament, when such an assertion flies in the face of empirical evidence. Saturday's home win over Texas was a great parting gift for the Big Ten-bound program, but there's little to suggest that they would perform a similar feat if allowed into the Big Dance this season. The shocker over Texas probably would have been dismissed as the ultimate fluke had the Huskers not pulled a similar feat against Texas A&M in late January.
Nebraska is one of three power conference schools that has never won an NCAA tournament game. Northwestern's presence on that list is an act of omission, since they've never qualified for the event. In the case of South Florida and Nebraska, it's an act of commission, since they've been there but haven't gotten it done. To put a further caveat on the concept, USF has only been a member of the Big East since 2005, so that's not quite the same thing, is it?
Tonight's game between the Wildcats and Huskers was played in front of a pro-Nebraska crowd that filled the Devaney Center to the rafters. It was a dogfight for postseason placement, but you couldn't tell by the sound. On television, the crowd produced little more than a dull roar even when the home team was threatening, and only the students seemed to be willing to stand up for their team. Even the horn that sounded halftime and end of regulation was muted - it sounded more like an outtake from an old Ben Webster record than an urgent signal of time running out.
But time has run out on Nebraska's at-large hopes, and good riddance. Lance Jeter and Jorge Brian Diaz have lead the Cornhusker scoring effort this year, with both just eking into double figure averages in points per game by virtue of fractions of a point. Once upon a time, Nebraska got 9.5 points per game from Christian Standhardinger. After six games this season, he decided to quit on the team and go to La Salle. He was so excited to get out of Lincoln that he celebrated with some amorous action in a city park and killed the whole deal.
Now the Huskers are left to wax semi-thrilled about the off-and-on decent play of All-McDonalds American (OK, Brazilian) Andre Almeida. Talk about a bait-and-switch.
Jacob Pullen reminded us that there is talent all over the court when Frank Martin's purple warriors take to the floor. Even in the midst of a troubling season of their own, the Wildcats have the players and the coach to make something of themselves over the next couple of weeks. If one of these two teams had to come out of this late-season slog atop the bubble, let it be K-State.
Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: February 10, 2011 2:02 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
Who knew Frank Martin was a sunny, pie-in-the-sky optimist? Talking to Seth Davis the other day, the K-State head coach expressed that he felt good about his team's chances to come from sixth place in the Big 12 to make the Big Dance.
There's little doubt that his team will have the chances, but they've shown little ability to take advantage of those opportunities. He lists third-leading scorer Curtis Kelly as a player who must excel for his team to make the postseason push, which may raise an eyebrow or two, considering that Kelly is under internal investigation for the second time this season.
K-State is currently tied with Colorado in sixth place in the conference, so Saturday's game in Boulder is huge for either team's hopes. If Martin can exhort his remaining troops to victory in that matchup, he gets in-state rival Kansas in the Octagon of Doom, which could be his biggest and best chance to make the selection committee sit up and take notice. After that, February 26 vs. Missouri and February 28 at Texas are the remaining big games.
If the Wildcats lose all three of those, they'll be without a real statement win in conference. If they lose to Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska or Iowa State, only a miracle run to the Big 12 title can save them.
Posted on: January 31, 2011 6:05 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2011 10:04 pm
Posted by Matt Norlander
Sorry to be so blunt, but can I suggest, with the news of McDonald's All-American Wally Judge jettisoning the Wildcats, we now leave this team to rot in peace?
The Kansas City Star was the first to have the news; Kellis Robinett got K-State coach Frank Martin, briefly, on the record.
So now, no more what's-wrong-with-Kansas-State stories. No more how-it-can-be-turned-around columns. No more Frank-Martin's-coaching-style-is-high-risk-high-
reward comments. No more lamenting a season that never arrived.
It's officially a lost year, and I think we've all got better things to do than harp on a team who hit a streak of bad luck and couldn't bottle the magic from a year ago.
Unable to bloom into a feared player in the Big 12, Judge, a sophomore forward (right, with Martin) who was averaging less than 6 points per game, wasn't "happy" — on that team right now, who is? — and so he became the latest defect from a program in mid-season. (This is an issue that needs a full-on investigation and dress-down, but that's for another time.)
Judge leaving the team comes just more than two weeks after Freddy Asprilla chose to pack his bags. It's chaos in the Little Apple of Manhattan, Ks., and while those remaining on the team are no doubt trying to fight through this and make a run, surely many of them are thinking, in the back of their minds, how quickly they need this nightmare season to end.
We wanted Kansas State to be good this year. It is a fun team with characters that catalyzed a change of pace in the often business-as-usual Big 12. The Wildcats had a lot of pieces coming back, plus that coach, Martin, whose fiery eyes are made for television cameras and easy columns. How nice it would have been to see the Octagon of Doom be a factor again.
From a No. 3 ranking in the AP poll at the start of the season to, now, an afterthought. The Wildcats are done. They just are. At 2-5 in the Big 12 with road games left against Iowa State, Colorado, Nebraska and Texas, not to mention home ones against Kansas and Missouri, clawing to .500 in the conference is asking too much.
That means reaching the NCAA tournament is now asking too much. Let's lay off this team, allow it to finish its season off in the shadows and wait to see how Martin will rebuild the program next year, when Curtis Kelly and Jacob Pullen are gone.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: January 25, 2011 3:42 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2011 3:54 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
Last season, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins and his protege, Kansas State's Frank Martin, put on postseason runs that were the envy of most every other program in DI basketball. Martin's Wildcats made the Elite Eight before falling to Butler, and Huggy Bear took the Mountaineers all the way to the Final Four. The former co-workers both used the same ear-splitting style to get the most out of their players. Martin, these days, has the reputation of being the most intense coach since one Robert Montgomery Knight patrolled the sidelines.
This season, however, both have struggled to repeat their success. The Wildcats are 14-7 and have fallen to 10th place in the Big 12 with a 2-4 mark. West Virginia is better off, going 13-5 overall and 4-2 in the Big East.
The losses can be explained by many different factors: graduations, injuries, suspensions, you name it. What is more unusual is the number of incidents in which young players seem to have given up, or just tuned their coaches out altogether. Jacob Pullen has publicly stated that he won't play an NIT game if the Wildcats don't garner an NCAA berth in his senior season. His teammate, Jamar Samuels, said he was unphased by Martin's shouting, and lackadaisically promised to give that whole "leadership thingy" a try some day. Huggins has had it far worse this week. Freshman Noah Cottrill quit the team formally, sophomore Dan Jennings wandered out of the arena in the middle of a game, and leading scorer Casey Mitchell was suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.
Clearly, these kids aren't getting the message, and it's not because they need the volume turned up.
Before the season started, ESPN the Magazine ran a piece by Seth Wickersham that explored the psychology of Huggins, Martin and a few other shouters.
In some cases, screaming can be incredibly effective. Under pressure, some athletes become lost in their own heads, thinking about the task at hand. Such stress wastes precious resources that could be turned to solving the problem.I've never been screamed at or coached by either of these men, so I can't judge the intent behind their shouting. The piece also points out that Coach K is a screamer, and he's won multiple national championships. In fact, he'll soon pass his own mentor, world-class verbal depth charge dropper Bob Knight, on the all-time DI wins list. It's impossible to say from this remove how yelling works in each situation. Heck, most of us yell at one time or another -- I know I do -- it's human nature to crank up the decibels when you're not being heard.
If I were to hazard a guess, and I am, I'd say that the yelling probably takes on a more frustrated tone when your team is slumping and suffering from sky-high expectations. The words might cut a little deeper when a player is mired in his own secret self-doubt. To quote the Boss "You end up like a dog that's been beat too much, til you spend half your life just coverin' up."
On the other hand, some of these kids need to imagine what it's going to be like some day when they're working at a retail store or sitting at a desk, and a sharp-tongued boss reams them in his office. At that point, the ramifications of talking back or walking out might mean the rent doesn't get paid next month. I've been in those situations, you probably have too. Sometimes it's worth it to quit, sometimes it's not. I'd have to think a free ride through college, with tutors and a support system, might be one of those situations where discretion is the better part of valor.
Bob Huggins, Coach K and Frank Martin can't suddenly change the way they motivate. It will be transparent and most likely fail. But yelling is a blunt instrument, and it can be backed by caring. Huggins showed where he's coming from last March, when he knelt at floor level to console a badly injured Da'Sean Butler. I believed then and still believe that Bob Huggins showed the world what's underneath that gruff exterior, and it's likely that most of his players feel that. Frank Martin has not yet had that moment, and it's entirely possible that he doesn't have it in him right now. Perhaps he'll mellow with age.
It will be interesting to see if it's all over but the shouting in Manhattan, KS.