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October 17, 2007

Frank Martin


PETER IRWIN: We're now joined by Coach Frank Martin from Kansas State. Welcome and make some opening comments.
FRANK MARTIN: I apologize I was a couple of minutes late. They had me waiting there. But I promise, win or lose, that won't be the case when you guys come out to cover us. I'll be on time. And that's something that's important to me, is punctuality. But I'll kind of leave it up to you guys.
I've been watching our team for the past two months. I'm extremely pleased with the progress we've made, how our guys have blended with one another, their willingness to learn. And the most important thing to me is how competitive they've been and the drive that they have to succeed. I'll kind of open it up to you guys and follow your lead.

Q. Walker is back at 100 percent. Has he lost a bunch of weight; is all that true?
FRANK MARTIN: You know, here's the thing, if you're around him for one day you learn what an incredible drive to succeed that young man has. For a 19-year-old to be so passionate about being good is rare these days. If I would have asked anybody a year ago, do you know that Bill Walker has overcome an ACL injury early in his life, 90 percent of the people that didn't know him would say there's no way someone that athletic and that powerful could have had an ACL injury. This is something he's experienced before. So it gave him a great deal of confidence that he can overcome this little bump in the road for him and that's why me as a person, somebody that knew him through the recruiting process, that knows what he's all about, there was never an ounce of concern on my part as to whether or not he will be ready to go full tilt this year. He's in the best shape he's ever been in his life, as strong as ever. Conditioning-wise he's better than he's ever been. He still has a little ways to go to get to 100 percent as far as some of his lateral movements and all that, but he's been great.

Q. There's been a lot of talk about the recruiting class that Coach brought in. Could you talk about a couple of the veteran players like Blake Young and Clent Stewart and what they mean to your club and what you expect out of them?
FRANK MARTIN: Dave Hoskins was a second team All-Conference player last year. You don't become that unless you have substance and a game to back that up. And Dave is an incredible teammate. Dave, Clent, Blake, those three guys, Mike Beasley, Bill Walker and the rest of the characters we have as first year guys, which is a whole slew of them. I'm going to have to start doing like football coaches do, like put names on their foreheads. We've got so many first year guys it's hard to remember them every day.
All our new guys would have no chance to succeed in the Big 12 if we didn't have guys like those three to show them the way. The job that those three guys have done -- Mike Beasley has gained 14 pounds of lean muscle since he's been on campus. He's been extremely committed to the weight room like all our guys are. That doesn't happen until the day he gets on campus and those guys show him the way and how hard our guys work and will continue to work.

Q. Are you concerned that your fan base will expect too much from Michael?
FRANK MARTIN: You know, I can't speak for Michael. But I can tell you that I've been at a university where the fan base didn't care. That's a lonely feeling. That's hard. I want to be somewhere where everybody expects us to win, because I expect to win. I want our players to expect to win. And we're going to compete to win. I mean that's what we want. I want our fans -- if we don't win, then I want our fans to be pissed off. They have that right because I want them to take pride in the product we're going to put out on that court.
Mike puts a great deal of pride in winning. He's about winning. If you follow his high school career, everyone knows he played four different high schools in four years, each one of those schools won a championship the year he was there. There's something to be said about that. I believe in people that win, not people that play for self-glory. He plays to win. He wants to be good. He takes a great deal of pride in helping K-State get back to the days of greatness. And at the end of the day he's 18 years old.
I don't know about you guys, but when I was 18 I had bad days. He's going to have a bad day. That's just reality and human nature, and it's our job as coaches, teammates, to make him understand that that's okay. It's just not good to have two bad days in a row.

Q. This is obviously your first chance to coach college basketball as a head coach. Talk about the opportunity you're getting. Did you ever think you had an opportunity where you had such a roster stacked like Kansas State and the Big 12 in that first opportunity?
FRANK MARTIN: Yeah, I mean it's 22 years ago when my high school coach asked me to help him coach his junior varsity program I didn't know what I was getting into. And once I started doing it I realized this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. And every day I got out of bed I wanted to be in the situation that I'm in right now. I wanted to be at a school that had incredible tradition, which K-State had. I wanted to be a part of a team that has incredible talent, that has the ability to compete for championships. I wanted to be in an arena that's full of people, passionate fans, that has a president like President Wefald, and people like Tim Weiser, people that care, that care about succeeding.
I just got asked a question outside, you know there's times I've been sitting around in my basement and I'd tell my wife, Coach Knight has been an idol of mine since I was a young kid, and how he was able to get teams together and compete at such a high level. And as a high school coach for so many years I understood the challenges that young kids go through before they get to college. And for him to be able to coach a group of guys and put them out there and get them educated and get them college degrees, and yet compete at a high level, not for a year, not for two years, but for so many years, I've got to catch myself. As much as that was something that was -- getting ready to deal with Coach Barnes and Bill Self and all those great coaches that we have in this league.
At the same time I can't sit around and say, wow. I have to be able to get that thought out of my head and understand that Frank, those guys that were my idols, those were the guys that you learned watching their teams play, now is the time that you have to prepare a team to compete with those guys and win. I know that's hard. I've had the opportunity to coach against teams coached by every team in this league, I understand how hard their teams play. I understand how well prepared they are. So that drives me to be ready to go at a high level.

Q. One of the biggest things you probably learned from Coach Huggins, what are two or three of the ones that stand out most?
FRANK MARTIN: Confidence. He walked into that gym at Kansas State last year and he and I were and Dalonte Hill were there for that first workout. When we finished I went back in the locker room and said, "Huggs, how are we going to win?" And like he did every year I've known him he said, "Frank, we'll figure it out." He instills incredible confidence in players, and he completely convinces players that if they are willing to sacrifice themselves by competing at a high level, by playing with each other, by outworking themselves, that's what I believed in. And once I started working them that's what I realized that college basketball is all about.

Q. Obviously it's early, but how much different do you think you'll be than Coach Huggins?
FRANK MARTIN: We're real similar as people. That's why when he gave me the opportunity to go work for him that's why it became such a special thing for me, because I believed in him as much as I did, and still do. We just spoke last night for 45 minutes, Andy Kennedy, him and myself. That created an incredible bond in us working together at Cincinnati. But with that said, I also have my own flavor. And that's what we've been trying to do is instill my flavor into how we're going to play at Kansas State. There are things I've learned through my experiences being Coach, just like I learned from Ron Everhart and Rudy Keeling and Andy Kennedy that I'm going to use my thoughts in how the game is going to be played, and that's my job to develop those ideas and make sure that the players understand those ideas. We're going to be similar in some things, but somewhat different in others.
PETER IRWIN: We wish you the best of luck.

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