Tag Archives: Jacob Pullen K-State

Frank Martin talks about the media

27 Mar


When the K-State head coach chastised a beat reporter for asking Jacob Pullen how he was feeling after the loss that marked the end of his college career, reactions varied. Some fans of other schools rolled their eyes, categorizing Martin’s reaction as an overreaction. Some media types, particularly those who had played or coached, saw the merit in the coach’s response, agreeing that the question was inappropriate. I thought the above video was quite eye-opening as to Martin’s feelings about the whole scenario.

Here were my thoughts about the whole thing:

  • As a reporter interviewing college students, it’s prudent – heck, it’s just the nice thing to do – to be a little sensitive. If there’s anything that makes a difficult situation even more painful, it’s trying to put into words how difficult the situation is. If you can plainly see how someone is feeling (say, Pullen pulling his jersey over his face at the end of the game, or his teammates sitting on the bench with dejected faces), it’s generally better to try to describe the visuals available instead of asking the clearly distraught 21-year-old how he is feeling.
  • I understand that this reporter probably wanted a quote from Pullen saying exactly what he said: that he doesn’t care about the record because all he wanted to do was win and go to the Final Four. However, a better way to get that quote might have been to say, for example: “You’ve told us all season how the records don’t mean anything for you right now, but because you did become K-State’s all-time leading scorer tonight, how far down the road do you see that sinking in and being able to just appreciate all the accomplishments you had with this group of guys?” Most likely, the answer given would have been pretty similar.
  • All that said, I don’t think there was malicious intent in this question, ill-worded or ill-timed though it may have been. The reporter, in my opinion, did not make Pullen cry. Any competitor, especially after the final game of his career, is going to take the loss hard. Pullen has invested himself physically, emotionally and mentally in this program over the last four years. It’s been his life. Now his time here is over, and that’s a difficult reality to grasp. However, it’s something all seniors go through.
  • When people talk about Pullen, it won’t be about that last press conference. It will be about him being the first player to go through four full years playing for Martin as a head coach. It will be about his maturation throughout that time, from a cocky freshman to a seasoned leader and the school’s all-time scoring leader. And hopefully, it will be about #0 hanging from the rafters of Bramlage Coliseum. Martin said he doesn’t know the criteria for having a number retired but said it would be a “crying shame” if somebody doesn’t figure out a way to get that done for Pullen.

How to Get the Best of the Badgers

18 Mar

After the Wildcats’ 73-68 win over Utah State on Thursday night, it’s one win down and four to go. Senior guard Jacob Pullen said he wants K-State to remember him for bringing the school a national championship, and on Saturday the team will have an opportunity to get another step closer as it faces Wisconsin in the third round of the NCAA tournament.

With even 4-seed vs. 13-seed and 3-seed vs. 14-seed games coming down to the wire this tournament, it’s almost a sure thing that a 4-seed vs. 5-seed matchup will be even more intensely competitive. That, as we all know, is why yesterday and today are probably the least productive workdays of the year across the United States.

Some of the stats on the Wildcats give us a little insight on what they need to do to be successful in this next game:

  • K-State is 22-4 when leading at halftime this season. Simply put, it’s imperative that the Wildcats start strong. They have to come out with energy and get some shots and stops early to get into a rhythm. Taking advantage of momentum is much easier than trying to create it once you’re in a bad situation. While the latter option is not impossible, it’s difficult and exhausting, and the opponents a team faces in the NCAA tournament are going to inflict enough hardship; this isn’t the time to make things harder on oneself with careless mistakes.
  • Wildcats are 20-6 when outrebounding their opponents. This isn’t surprising in the least, of course, because defense rebounds deprive opponents of possessions and facilitate fast breaks and offensive rebounds give current possessions new life. As senior Curtis Kelly has become more comfortable on the blocks after missing 9 games in the earlier portion of the season, and as sophomore Jordan Henriquez-Roberts has become stronger and more aggressive at the rim, K-State’s frontcourt has been surprisingly effective, even with Freddy Asprilla and Wally Judge, who quit the team in January.

After watching Wisconsin whip Belmont yesterday, I’ve compiled a few observations about the Badgers. These are some of the aspects the Wildcats will have to watch in order to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

  • The most obvious one: They can shoot the roof off the place if you let them. Against the Bruins on Thursday, the Badgers hit 12 of 22 from 3-point range, and they make 82 percent of their free throws. That’s the best in the country, just in case you’re wondering. I’m interested to see if the Wildcats will utilize a few different defensive sets to try and keep the Badgers guessing and disrupt their offensive rhythm. As for that lethal accuracy from the charity stripe, it would be prudent for the Wildcats to avoid any bonus situations for as long as possible.
  • The Badgers can make runs. Their game with Belmont was very close for probably the first 15, 17 minutes of the game. Then Wisconsin went on a tear to close out the first half and followed it up with another to begin the second half. The takeaway from: K-State is going to have to hunker down and be sharp and energetic for the duration of the game. The instant someone takes a play off because he’s tired, Wisconsin will take advantage. Because of this, expect head coach Frank Martin to sub fairly often, as he has been doing recently.
  • Wisconsin takes care of the ball. The team averages only seven turnovers per game. Last night, Belmont forced the Badgers into seven in the first half, and that played a large role in how close the game was to that point. The Wildcats will need to do likewise on Saturday.

A Frank Philosophy

26 Feb

After the Wildcats defeated Missouri 80-70 on Saturday afternoon, a reporter asked Kansas State coach Frank Martin to talk about his coaching style. Martin tilted his head to the side, wiped his hand across his face, and smiled, shaking his head.

“It is what it is, man,” he said with a laugh. Instead of leaving it at that, though, the coach went on to detail why he is so animated and hard-nosed in his instruction of the team, and the result was some interesting insight into why he does what he does. The following is what I took away from it.

1) He loves his job, and he quantifies the amount of that dedication by reminding everyone that he has been coaching for 26 years. As he himself says, he is an emotional guy, and he wants those surrounding him to have the same kind of fervor and enthusiasm for what they are doing.

“I have unbelievable passion for what I do. I want people with me who have unbelievable passion for what they do.”

2) He is a teacher, and he is responsible for ensuring his players learn how to do things the right way consistently so they can build toward their potential and not make errors that, if continued, will be detrimental further down the road.

“We spend countless hours rehearsing what we’re supposed to do. Why do you think it is that I don’t get aggravated with Jacob very much, just like I didn’t get aggravated with Denis very much? Because they’ve been through it, they understand, so they don’t make the mistakes that cost you games. I’ve got a very young team right now. They need to understand that every possession is important. Every minute of every practice, they have an opportunity to get better, and I hold people accountable.”

3) He doesn’t let people off the hook for less than they are capable of. When he sees mistakes, he calls them, and he does it so they will be better off in the long run.

“I tell you what, I’ve got children. I want people like me to deal with my children when I’m not around. I don’t want people to make their life easy. I want somebody who’s going to hold my kids accountable and who’s going to demand that they do right – not every once in a while, every day.”

4) He doesn’t let outside advice dictate how he runs his program.

“I understand I don’t make people happy sometimes, but as long as my players, my bosses, my family believe in me, that’s what matters to me.”

Senior guard Jacob Pullen also offered some thoughts on the part of the coach people see on the sideline.

“There’s a method to every madness, and for his it’s really just understanding his passion for the game.”

Pullen continued that, unlike some other coaches, Martin does not sugarcoat facts to make players happy; he tells them what they need to know to become better. Having a coach like Frank, as Pullen calls him, makes the players grow up as people, not just as athletes.

With the improvement that these guys have made over the course of this season, I’d say there’s merit to that.