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: February 28, 2011 4:29 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
It's never smart to get overly smug about how your team is doing in college basketball. Two weeks ago, Texas looked like a lock for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and K-State looked like an NIT participant.
Ever since a St. Valentine's Day massacre of then-No. 1 Kansas, the Wildcats haven't lost a game, sailing through weak leaguemates Oklahoma and Nebraska and then beating Mizzou by ten to move themselves pretty far off the bubble.
In that same stretch, Texas has gone 2-2, beating Oklahoma State and Iowa State in Austin and giving new life to the likes of Nebraska and Colorado on the road.
The Wildcats rely on Jacob Pullen to do the scoring each and every night, but have had four different leading rebounders over the past five games. It's even more helter-skelter on the Texas side of things, where Jordan Hamilton, Tristan Thompson, Gary Johnson and J'Covan Brown seem to almost take turns carrying the scoring load.
Right now, the Longhorns are clinging to a likely 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. The NCAA protects top seeds, which could mean playing in nearby localities like Tulsa, San Antonio and Houston on the road to the Final Four if this team can get back to its winning ways. Kansas State will be happy just to get back on the single-digit seed line by this point. Either way, there's plenty at stake in tonight's Big Monday throwdown.
Kansas State plays at Texas at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
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 8, 2011 11:15 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 11:20 pm
Posted by Jeff Borzello
Kansas State senior Curtis Kelly could find himself in trouble yet again, according to two reports surfacing late Tuesday night.
Both the Wichita Eagle and the Topeka Capital-Journal are reporting that the 6-foot-9 forward is the subject of an investigation by the Kansas State athletic department for violating a condition in the student-athlete handbook.
A source told the papers that the violation could earn Kelly a dismissal. Kelly is apparently appealing the violation, but his playing status is unclear.
“Curtis is still a member of our program,” K-State director of media relations Kenny Lannou said.
Sources told the Eagle that Kelly is a repeat offender of the violation, and it has already cost him playing time. The paper goes on to say that only one violation – the student-athlete drug and alcohol policy – fits those guidelines.
Kansas State has had a tumultuous season since opening day, and Kelly has been at the forefront of those personnel problems.
He missed the first three games for not practicing hard enough, and was then suspended for six games after accepting clothing discounts at a local department store. Teammate Jacob Pullen was suspended for three. Freddy Asprilla and Wally Judge also left the team .
Kelly is averaging 9.9 points this season.Photos: Getty Images
Posted on: January 15, 2011 2:35 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2011 2:54 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
According to a press release from Kansas State University, forward Freddy Asprilla is leaving the Wildcats. Here is the release in its entirety:
Kansas State head coach Frank Martin announced Saturday morning that junior forward Freddy Asprilla has left the men’s basketball team.Morale in Manhattan must be at an all-time low, at least the lowest since Martin took over. With the suspensions of Kelly and Pullen, followed by Pullen's public statement that he would refuse to play if the 'Cats made the NIT, things were already looking bad, but losing a big body (one that hadn't even been around that long) is a serious blow to a team that was supposed to ride depth and experience to a deep tourney run this season.
Asprilla began his DI career at Florida International, where he averaged 13.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. After spending a transfer year at K-State, his numbers were less impressive in the 2010-11 season thus far. It's likely that he would have found his place on the team this season or next, but that potential will have to be realized somewhere else at this point.
Posted on: January 12, 2011 3:46 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2011 4:07 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
As Colorado prepares to visit the Octagon of Doom in Manhattan, Ks., tonight, one question keeps popping up in my mind: Is Colorado on the way up?
It's not a ridiculous notion. There are some extremely skilled basketball players on the CU roster, led by Alec Burks, who scored 36 points to fuel a home rout of #8 Missouri on Saturday. That's an impressive showing for the sophomore, who is considered to be an NBA prospect. The knock has been that he doesn't help his team win, an assertion that was not refuted by early losses to San Francisco and Harvard - pretty much resume-killers for a team hoping for an at-large bid to the Big Dance.
But this hot start to the conference season could make those bad losses fade in memory if the Buffs can continue to play up to their potential. CU has been an excellent ball-control team all season long, ranking in the top five in turnover percentage. That the team now ranks third in that statistic, even after facing the vaunted Missouri press, is an indicator that it's a real phenomenon.
The ball-handling kudos can be somewhat attributed to Burks, but senior guard Cory Higgins is the steady hand at the tiller most nights. Both he and Burks draw plenty of fouls, making opponents put good shooters on the free throw line. Less familiar names contribute to the offensive onslaught as well. Forward Marcus Relphorde and guards Levi Knutson, both seniors, play very efficient roles when they're on the court, as does junior Austin Dufault.
The elephant in the room (or, more pointedly, absent from the room) is defense. The Buffaloes are mediocre at best at stopping opponents, and that even takes into account a December 4 game in which they held Oregon State to just 57 points. They're better at interior defense than perimeter D, which could mean another big win when they face Kansas State tonight. The Wildcats are good but not great from deep. Where Frank Martin's team excels is in snagging rebounds, so it's crucial that Burks and his teammates exhibit patience and find high-percentage shots; not an easy task against the boys in purple, in what is sure to be a hostile environment for the visitors.
In short, Alec Burks is a superstar, and he can take over a game when neccesary. In that respect, he gives Colorado the advantage over K-State, which gets uneven effort from senior leader Jacob Pullen. However, when Frank Martin's troops focus on denying the ball to Burks, his experienced and somewhat undervalued teammates must make them pay.
If they can, Colorado might be the surprise of the Big 12 season in their final go-round before joining the Pac-10.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 4:41 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 4:44 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
Sure, Jacob Pullen was a bit off-base when he compared his redemption story to that of Michael Vick.
However, his self-motivational tactics seem to have worked. Pullen came back and scored 24 points in a rout of Savannah State on Monday. More encouraging, he dished the ball five times and turned it over just once. Sure, he did it against one of the worst teams in DI, but a look back to December 6 shows that he managed six TOs against Alcorn State of the SWAC, which is a comparable level of competition.
Pullen has historically been at his best when he has something to prove. His three battles with fellow Chicagoan and former KU point guard Sherron Collins last season were entertaining displays of one-upsmanship. Nothing this season has brought about the same focus.
The Wildcats got spotty contributions from guards Nick Russell, Will Spradling and Juevol Miles while Pullen sat. If you don't think he noticed, made a gut check and resolved to remedy the situation when he got back on the court, you haven't watched the senior play.
This is Pullen's last go-round in the Big 12, and the season kicks off at Oklahoma State on Saturday. After that, it's Colorado and Texas Tech at home before the tough stuff starts with a trip to Columbia, Missouri to face Mike Anderson's speedy Tigers. If the senior can maintain his focus through the yawn-inducing portion of the schedule, he may finally be in the right headspace to deliver on the promise implicit in K-State's preseason top-5 ranking.
Jacob Pullen should be playing mad. Mad at himself. Mad at anyone who comes into the Octagon looking to knock him off course. Mad at the haters who will wave signs and chant reminders of his indiscretion when he's on the road. Mad at the impending end of his college career.
Angry Jacob Pullen will forestall that final game as long as he can. Those of us who watch the games will share in the fun.
Posted on: January 3, 2011 9:37 am
Posted by Matt Norlander
How is a college basketball player's three-game suspension over discounted clothing comparable to an NFL player's multi-year jail sentence for killing dogs?
It's not, but Jacob Pullen was trying to find an analogy that worked.
In his first meeting (since his suspension was handed down) with the press a few days ago, Pullen addressed his careless mistake, owned it completely and shared some personal information, like when he promised his mom he'd never miss another basketball game over an elibigility problem after he was forced to sit when he was a freshman in high school.
But the money quote was his self-catalyzed comparison to Vick, who remains to be a figure athletes from all arenas continue to admire. In that sense, this quote from the K-State guard isn't surprising:
"I kind of feel like Michael Vick in some ways. I feel like I've got something to prove again. I feel like people doubt what I've done and feel like that I shouldn't be in a place that I've been in," Pullen said. "I feel like now is a reason for me to show them I worked hard for everything that's came my way and everything that this team has gotten. It really makes you hungry again, and I feel like God did it for a reason."
Can you empathize with where Pullen's coming from? I can. The 21-year-old has become a player of lore in Manhattan, Kansas, in the past year and a half. There's a lot of weight on those shoulders that so often shake off defenders and ball screens all night long.
From most accounts, Pullen's a smart guy (which made the clothing fiasco all the more befuddling), and his comments, re: Vick, could be taken out of context pretty easily. I won't be doing that, but I will say bringing up Michael Vick's name when waxing about redemption stories still remains a sensitive issue.
And Vick has had to overcome so much more than Pullen. But athletes need to self-motivate. I get that. To wit:
"It's good to be back on the bad side," Pullen said. "Now it's just giving me a reason to go out and beat everybody."
As for the rest of the eight-minute press conference, Pullen said he found out about his suspension an hour before tip-off, and that "the NCAA sees everything."
Photo: Getty Images