Tag Archives: Adrian Diaz Kansas State

Putting on a Show: The Exhibition Game

6 Nov

I’ll later be transcribing Frank Martin’s postgame press conference as well as the comments of Jordan Henriquez and Martavious Irving. For now, though, here are the quick hits of what to take away from Kansas State’s 90-60 exhibition victory over Fort Hays State.

Most of the veterans look solid. This may seem ironic with the announcement that senior Jamar Samuels is suspended for the first three games, but Jordan Henriquez, Martavious Irving and Will Spradling played well. All scored in double figures, and Henriquez even recorded a double-double. More than numbers, though, they looked like they understood what was going on, and they played in a fairly disciplined way most of the time. To me, it’s incredible to see how far these guys – Henriquez and Irving in particular – have come in just a few years. They seem more comfortable talking to the media, just more at ease in general. I think that sense of confidence will really play into their leadership this season. They know they have earned their spots, and they can help the younger guys learn how to do that too.

Several of the new guys have potential to contribute. The main ones I’m talking about here are Angel Rodriguez and Thomas Gipson. Rodriguez has speed and a sweet shot. Plus, as Martin said, Rodriguez understands the game and what it means to be a point guard. It seems that he has acquired a decent understanding of the offense. Gipson has a huge body, but he can catch the ball, and he knows how to temper the strength of his shot when he is close to the rim. In addition to that soft touch, he has some nice back-to-the-basket moves. He also does not hesitate. When he gets the ball at the basket, he goes up instead of dribbling once out of compulsion. It’s good to see. Adrian Diaz is another one to keep an eye on. His response to missed shots and such reminds me of Jordan Henriquez. He looks so regretful after a missed opportunity, but he doesn’t seem to let that linger. Also, Diaz seems fairly agile despite his size, and Martin said he is more developed offensively than Henriquez was when he came in as a freshman. Obviously, all the new guys need work. They could be very good, though, and I think Rodriguez and Gipson – and perhaps Diaz as well – will be getting some serious minutes down the road.

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Martin talks about the season’s newcomers

3 Nov

At Kansas State’s basketball media day last week, I asked coach Frank Martin what each of the first-year guys brings to the team.

“They all bring something different,” he began, “and I know that sounds like a generic answer, but it’s the truth. We don’t have two of them that do the same thing.”

The coach then proceeded to launch into wonderfully detailed description of each of the six new scholarship players. I could paraphrase his comments, but I found everything he said to be interesting and informative, so I’ll just give you Martin’s remarks as he said them.

#42 Thomas Gipson – 6’7″ 275-lb forward – freshman from Cedar Hill, Texas

“Gipson’s a 270-pound wide body that’s not scared to throw that big body of his around. He lays wood on you, you know you got hit. Gives us a presence at the rim. He plays with the same aggression as Luis Colon, but has an understanding of how to score a little bit like Curtis Kelly – but doesn’t rebound the ball as well as either one of those guys yet. It’s something that’ll come.”

#20 Adrian Diaz – 6’10” 225-lb forward – freshman from Miami, Florida

“Adrian Diaz is long and athletic and can run. When the game’s up and down, you see his strengths. When the game’s a grind and a physical nature, you see that he’s got a ways to go from a strength standpoint. He’s got great hands. If he catches that ball, he’s going to dunk it. He’s 10 feet away he can shoot it in the basket – the ball doesn’t hit his hand and end up in the cheerleaders. It stays in the court, which is a plus.”

#13 Angel Rodriguez – 5’11 180-lb guard – freshman from San Juan, Puerto Rico  

“Then Angel, he’s a consummate point guard. He’s the kind of guy that understands the tempo of the game, when to go, when not to go, he’s a little pit bull defensively.”

[Because of knee problems, Rodriguez only played in games – no practices – his senior year of high school, and had surgery after the season. Now he has to get back into the habit of practice.]

“That attention to that daily focus for practice, that you’ve got to have, he’s trying to relearn that because it got lost in the shuffle because of the situation last year.”

James Watson – 6’8″ 230-pound forward – Atoka, Oklahoma – junior transfer from Cowley College

“James is a young man that in individuals has shown the ability to be an outstanding Big 12 athlete. He can jump up and block shots. He can run, dunks the basketball. He probably has had, in individuals, more lob dunks than any guy we’ve had since I’ve been here. Walker would just dunk on people, but James is just athletic. He runs and jumps up in the air pretty good, and he shoots it fairly well. We need him to do what he’s got to do to be able to earn the right to be on the floor, which I think he will.”

[When Martin says, “do what he’s got to do to be able to earn the right to be on the floor,” he is referring to the incredibly challenging conditioning test – an extended series of timed sprints, I have been told – that players must pass before they are allowed to practice.]

Omari Lawrence – 6’3″ 220-lb guard – Bronx, New York – sophomore transfer from St. John’s

“Omari gives us what I call power guard. He’s a 6-foot-3 strong guy that understands – I never watched Omari play at St. Johns. I watched him the summer between his sophomore and junior year in high school. He didn’t shoot it. He’d drive it. He’d finish at the rim. Well, now, after watching him in practice for nine, 10 days, whatever it’s been, he shoots the ball real well, so he’s obviously spent time getting better with that. He’s struggling with our defensive concepts right now, but he’ll be fine. He’s an older guy, and I think he’ll be fine.”

Jeremy Jones – 6’2″ 170-lb guard – Chicago, Illinois – junior transfer from Seward County Community College

“Jeremy Jones is fast. He’s the kind of guy that can go get a basket on his own. He doesn’t need help to go get a shot. He can figure that one out. He needs a lot of help on the other side of the floor, but it’s not because of a lack of competitiveness. Like all first-year guys – if we played a 2-3 zone it’d be a lot easier for those guys to learn what we do. Our concepts our different than 99 percent of the people out there from a defensive standpoint, so it takes time for those guys to learn, and he’s competing his tail off. But he brings a speed element to the game. He had a basket yesterday in the open floor where it was Denis Clemente-like from a speed standpoint, but then the difference is that he went up and finished over Diaz and J.O. – Jordan. I don’t know how the heck he got the shot on the rim, but he did. It was an impressive basket because he showed that unbelieveable speed and then the ability to score over size.”