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March 14, 2008

Michael Beasley

Frank Martin

Bill Walker


CHARLIE FISS: We are ready to begin with our Kansas State wildcats, head coach frank Martin and his two student athletes, Bill Walker and Michael Beasley.
Coach, we will call you on, first, for thoughts on tonight's game.
COACH FRANK MARTIN: That's what this time of year is all about. That's what this conference, this game is pretty much a reflection of what this conference has been like the whole year. It is every game so far in this conference tournament has been an absolute grind. It's one of those things that at this time of year, somebody's moment of joy is another group of guys', you know, misery time. It's unfortunate.
We fought hard. We didn't shoot the ball as well as we did the first time we played A&M and that's part of our game plan going in, against them, is to be able to make some shots. But we battled and battled.
And even -- we dug a little hole and we stayed the course and turned it around, took a lead and then what hurt us in the first half that we kind of eliminated in the second half came back and bit us again at the end of the game, which was offensive rebounds. That was the difference in the game there.

Q. Michael and Bill, can you just talk about how you guys feel about your performance in the Big 12 tournament.
BILL WALKER: We lost today. We obviously didn't perform that well. But I'm happy with the way we went out there and fought today. That's all you can ask for this time of year, just not letting up, just continuously playing for 40 minutes. I think we did that today.
MICHAEL BEASLEY: I think we went out and played our hearts out. Like Coach said, we didn't rebound on either end. That kind of determined the game.

Q. We know what happened to you guys last year with your record the way it was in conference. Are there any worries now about the NCAA tournament?
BILL WALKER: I'm not worried. We don't know if we're in. We'll know Sunday if we needed this game or not.
MICHAEL BEASLEY: I feel the same way. I'm worried. Like I said, we got to wait until Sunday, you know.

Q. Michael, can you -- do you feel that this team is ready for a NCAA appearance?
MICHAEL BEASLEY: Definitely. We can't play the way we played today. We got to bring the intensity a little more. We got to rebound better. But on our best day, definitely, we can be the best team in the country.

Q. Mike, can you take me through that final scenario of the final shot that rimmed out at the end?
MICHAEL BEASLEY: It was a good shot, you know. Coach drew up a good play, and we executed. It just didn't fall, you know?

Q. Providing you go on to the NCAA tournament, you've now for two months solid been getting Big 12 teams that have seen you twice, three times and devised all sorts of defenses and triple teams and what not to come after you. Are you looking forward to maybe taking on a few teams that haven't had months and months to game plan for you?
MICHAEL BEASLEY: I'm not really thinking about, you know, that right now. I will leave it up to the coaches. They play how they play and Coach come up with a way to get out of it.
CHARLIE FISS: All right. We'll let you go back to the locker room. Questions for Coach?

Q. Frank, obviously Michael has meant so much to your team. Talk about the play, the final scenario and your thoughts when you see that ball rim out at the end.
COACH FRANK MARTIN: I mean, you know, guys went out, they executed what we drew up. A&M guarded it. They're a good basketball team.
Here's the part that -- excuse me. Here's the part that -- because I listened to some of the questions that are asked of the kids, here's the part that's a little kind of -- you know, I sit up here and when the conference -- preconference season was over, do you guys remember what Texas A&M was ranked? Who remembers?

Q. Tenth.
COACH FRANK MARTIN: Tenth. So all of a sudden they start in the Big 12 and they stink? I mean, this conference is high-level basketball. There's not a team in this conference that gets out of your way and let's you win.
Nebraska, the team you guys saw playing out there the game before, that's a team that beat Arizona State 25, beat Oregon. This conference as been what you guys just saw in our game; Every single game you line up and play. Tonight, we took some shots and didn't make them and the difference between this team and the first time we played A&M is that we made some of those shots.
You know, so if playing 16 games and then one conference tournament game in the Big 12 this year doesn't prepare us to be a NCAA team, then no season will ever prepare us to be a NCAA team. This conference is unbelievable.
These guys over here, I have been telling you guys all year, they don't care about anything but winning. Don't care about anything but winning. Losing is not something they take well to.
Now, the sun will come up tomorrow and we've got to line up and prepare. If there are 64 better teams than us in the country, I want to see them.

Q. Can you talk about the supporting cast that surrounded Michael tonight. Did you get what you wanted from those guys in this game?
COACH FRANK MARTIN: Yeah. They fought their hearts out. I mean, you know, we played a very good basketball team. Here's the thing with -- to take my point a step further in the Big 12. Kansas and Texas can very easily both be number 1 seeds. We're the No. 3 seed in the league. Does that mean if they're both almost No. 1 seeds that we're not deserving of any seed? You can't do that unless you have balance. There's no way we win ten conference games and go out and play A&M nose to nose the way we did. Some people might disagree with me, but I think they are a pretty darn good basketball team.
No way we do that with one guy or two guys. I thought Clent Stewart played as well as he has played in over a month today. I thought he had a lot of energy and a bounce to his step.
I think Blake Young was his typical stuff, all over that basketball court creating havoc. We took some 3s that were wide open, we just didn't put them down. And then Dominique Kirk plays like a senior. That's what seniors do at this time of year. They don't want their seasons to be over. They want to continue playing, so seniors at this time of year step up and make those kind of plays. That's what four years in the Big 12 does, it prepares them to be able to make the plays he made tonight.

Q. Your points are certainly very valid. Do you fear what could happen Sunday based on the experience you guys had last year at K-State? Do you fear what may happen Sunday, may not happen Sunday?
COACH FRANK MARTIN: No. I'm not in Afghanistan. I've got nothing to fear, you know? I'm a basketball coach. I have been on the bubble two consecutive years. Got left out my last year in Cincinnati, got left out last year. You wake up the next day and go coach basketball and go wherever they send you. I don't know if it is a bad word on your part. But "fear" -- my country, my family has overcome a lot to succeed in this country. So the NCAA selection committee thinks that the team I coach is not good enough for their tournament, I don't fear that.

Q. Coach, you said the last two years you were on the bubble. Do you feel that you're on the bubble this year?
COACH FRANK MARTIN: Two years ago at the University of Cincinnati we were on the bubble because we were a No. 8 seed in our conference, 8. And we went out and lost in the first round of the conference tournament. That's why we got left out of the bubble. We were 8-8 in conference play.
Last year we had bad losses, bad losses. We lost to California who wasn't a good basketball team. We lost to New Mexico who wasn't a good basketball team. You look at our schedule, you look at the teams that have beat us, and you tell me who that we beat -- that beat us, excuse me, is not going to play in the post-season? Now, does that mean that if you lose to the teams that are good you are supposed to get in? No, that's not what it means.
But the bottom line is we've won a lot more than we've lost. We were the number 3 seed in the Big 12 tournament. If that's not good enough to get you into a NCAA tournament, then you know what? Then something needs to be done to reprogram how the system works.

Q. Coach Turgeon was in here just a little bit ago, he said the last time he played you, you were a different team, different animal. Not counting win or loss tonight, you played your hearts out tonight, how would you evaluate how you guys were playing going into the tournament?
COACH FRANK MARTIN: We lost a heartbreaker at Baylor. We lost a heartbreaker at Nebraska. Went nose to nose with Texas. Went into Kansas where you can count the number of teams that have succeeded over the last four years that have won on probably a couple of fingers. And we fought our hearts out that night. Went out and won our last two conference games including at Iowa State which only one Big 12 team has a winning record in that facility against a team that at home plays extremely well.
Texas needed luck in overtime to win. Kansas went in there and Bill raved about how good they played and it was a dogfight of a game. We went out there and we won. We came out today and played A&M and we played well. We played -- I've said from the word "go" this conference deserves six bids, six bids to the NCAA tournament. We played one of the six that I think should get a bid. That's what this time of year is all about. Every team you play is a good team.
Now, Mark thinks we were a different team back then than we are now. That's because we played in our building. Tell him we can go play in our building tomorrow morning, I guarantee you we will play a little different in our building. It's basketball.

Q. Back to the play with 7.9 seconds left, when you talk about that's the play you wanted, you got from Clent penetrating and shooting the three?
COACH FRANK MARTIN: No, the one I was -- the one I was answering before was the one that Michael missed. I didn't talk about the final play.

Q. About the final play, what were you looking for exactly?
COACH FRANK MARTIN: Stew overdrove the ball there. We were supposed to run a little action there where we ball screened and then we flare the screener to set the ball screen. Stew overdribbled the ball. Got into a place where he couldn't come back to the guy that set the ball screen. So he just decided to jump up and shoot it. I think his foot was on the line so it wouldn't be have been a 3 anyways. But then he goes in there and battles and pats that ball out and gets us one more shot.
I don't want to say he made a mistake but he made an ill-advised decision. Instead of just giving up on it, he went out and figured a way to get us one more shot.
CHARLIE FISS: Coach, thank you.

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