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March 22, 2008
THE MODERATOR: Kansas State Wildcats are with us. We'll have head Coach Frank Martin start with an opening statement, then we'll have questions for just the student athletes.
COACH MARTIN: You know, basketball's a unique sport in the sense that you can do a lot of the things that you practice and talk about doing and stick to your ideas and the way you want to play a game, and at the end of the day that ball's gotta go through that little orange thing. If it doesn't go through that orange thing, it's hard to win.
And we battled a team like Wisconsin that does such an incredible job of protecting the paint defensively. And we knew going in we would have to make some jump shots to win this game today. And it's just a credit to who they are, how they play. The job Bo does with those guys, you know he's got a system in place.
But bottom line is they jump up and they make nine 3s and we go 0-for-13 from the 3-point line, and I felt 11 of the 13 3s we took were the ones that we were looking to shoot, and they just didn't go in for us today. And when that happens, chances of us succeeding become a little more difficult.
I'll leave it at that and let these guys answer some questions for you.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Mike, talk about the difference individually the first half and the second half. Seemed like they were clamping down a little bit more maybe in the second half.
MICHAEL BEASLEY: Second half, they was, like you said, clamping down a little more. They was double-teaming, triple-teaming every time I touched the ball, so really couldn't get the shot I wanted.
Q. Mike, yesterday there was some speculation about what kind of defense Wisconsin would throw at you, were you surprised at what they played or was it what you expected?
MICHAEL BEASLEY: I really wasn't thinking about what kind of defense. I was just thinking about getting my team ready and just trying to get a win.
Q. Mike, the two plays in the second half where the ball just kind of hung on the rim, and you jumped and it went over your head, and Stiemsma got it and laid it in, what were you thinking after those two plays?
MICHAEL BEASLEY: I was upset that I jumped wrong, but I was just trying to stay in the game, not mulling over it. I wasn't trying to be stuck on the two rebounds for the rest of the game.
Q. Did you get a sense, though, that things were not going your way tonight?
MICHAEL BEASLEY: When you're down on the scoreboard, you kind of feel that way. I really don't know what to say. We just didn't play up to our potential, I guess.
Q. We've got two seniors and national freshman player of the year, I'd like to go through and have each of you talk about summarizing what the season has meant to each of you guys?
CLENT STEWART: I mean, it's been a ride. There's been a lot of ups and downs. But this team has stuck together and obviously very talented team. For me, my last season and be the first team in 20 years to, 20 years to win an NCAA tournament. Kansas State is definitely an accomplishment.
But we wanted to go farther. We didn't play up to our potential tonight. But, I mean, overall, it's been fun. And playing with these guys, playing with Mike and Blake and Bill and Jacob, I mean, being the senior, it's been the ride of my life.
MICHAEL BEASLEY: It's been a great season. We basically became a family this year. I've made brothers. We just grew. We had ups and downs. We had good wins, bad losses, but like he said we stuck together and we never let nothing break us.
BLAKE YOUNG: Well, it's been fun. Got a chance to play with Mike and Bill and Stew. And go out there and compete with these guys. They're great teammates and then we got a young coach. Did a great job with us.
I was glad I got to play for him, other than any other coach, got to play for Coach Martin.
It's just been great, the experience, coming here, getting a chance to play two games in the NCAA tournament, it's just been fun, man.
Q. Clent, obviously the season didn't end the way you guys wanted, but could you talk for you personally what these two games in this tournament has meant to you and what it's been like here competing?
CLENT STEWART: I mean, this is what you work for, to get an opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament. All the preseason drills and all the practices, everything is to get to this opportunity.
And to have this opportunity to play and, like I said, we won in the first round and now here against Wisconsin, and, you know, obviously it didn't end up the way we wanted to, but to get the opportunity for myself, it's been a total change. Kansas State my first year I think we won maybe 15 games and probably had close to more losses than we did wins.
And obviously Coach Huggins and Martin came in my junior year and turned the whole program around, turned the attitude around on how things are supposed to work.
And then this season Coach Martin took it to a higher step. And it's been fun.
Q. Michael, do you think that that's your last game for Kansas State and what factors will you consider now as you move ahead about what you're going to do next year?
MICHAEL BEASLEY: As of right now I'm a Kansas State Wildcat. I haven't put any thought into what I'm going to do next year. As of right now I'm still a college student.
Q. Michael, any thought on when you might contemplate that decision?
MICHAEL BEASLEY: No. I mean, you're asking me these questions right after a big loss. And I have had no time at all to think about my decision. And I'm not going to start thinking or contemplating on what I'm going to do for another couple of weeks.
Q. Clent, can you talk a little bit about what makes them so good defensively? I mean, they do this to everybody.
CLENT STEWART: They really packed the lane. They try to limit driving areas. And for us we had to knock down some open shots to open it up. It didn't happen today.
Like I said that's how they play, that's how their coach teaches them is to pack it in and make them shoot over the top of you, and it worked today because we didn't knock down the shots.
Q. Blake and Clent, they got 25 from Hughes and 15 from Flowers, what were their guards able to do against you guys to have that kind of success?
BLAKE YOUNG: They was hitting shots. They was hitting some tough shots. When they got a chance, they got a free shot, an open shot, they knocked it down. I mean, that's what we didn't do tonight; that's what they did.
CLENT STEWART: Blake sums it up there. They made some tough shots. I think we got lost a couple of times defensively, this time of year you can't get lost on your guy this time of year if you want to win.
Obviously all the credit to them in the way they played. They played, both played a great game.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much for your time.
Questions for Coach.
Q. Frank, you said you wouldn't be disappointed with your guys no matter what. Talk about how much pleasure you've gotten out of the season personally?
COACH MARTIN: You know, I'm sure I'll sit back on this bus ride home and start reflecting a little bit. I can't tell you what an incredible ride these kids have given me this year.
To be able to coach a group of guys that came in there every day and never once questioned my decisions or my thoughts or my direction, they just jumped in and they wanted to be a part of it. And it takes a special group of people to do that.
When I sit here and I tell you guys day after day after day after day that our guys only care about winning, I'm not a politically correct answer guy. I'm going to tell you the truth guy. That's all those kids talk about in the locker room. We're not perfect. We had days we didn't play exactly how we wanted to play.
But I'll tell you what, they just answered the question: Even when we had a couple of bumps on our head, never broke our spirit. Never broke our togetherness. And I can't tell you how proud I am of the ride these kids have given me this year.
Q. Bo said they didn't do anything differently against Michael in the second half, they just did it better. What did you see from where you were at, what they did against Mike and how frustrated he became in the second half?
COACH MARTIN: I don't think Mike got frustrated at all. Not at what they were doing. Mike got frustrated because we were getting shots. We knew we had to make perimeter shots to beat Wisconsin. That's what you have to do to beat them. If you don't make jump shots, you're not beating Wisconsin. It's not happening.
And we go 0-for-13. Obviously I'll watch the film and break it down, but I can sit here talking to you right now, I can't think of too many jump shots we made, period. Everything we did was at the rim and/or foul line.
And that's not the team you want to play on a night you don't make jump shots.
Q. Frank, how much do you feel like they're veterans when you're so young and Beasley and Walker put this program on the map in a big way but they're veterans, how big a difference does having that kind of veteran leadership make?
COACH MARTIN: I'm sure that's part of it. I'm sure that -- here's the thing with Wisconsin: If you're down 10 to them, it's the equal of being down 25 to somebody else. So we may be pressed a little bit too much offensively, and maybe inexperience hurt us there when we got down 10 in the second half.
But bottom line, you know, we went out and we outrebounded them. That's their strength. They're a heck of a rebounding team. We outrebounded them by 10.
The difference in the game is the other night every other loose ball that came off the rim, every loose ball on the floor, every deflected pass we came up with, we didn't do that tonight. And then their guards jumped up and made contested 3s and our guys jumped up and missed 3s.
And I think our guys really did stick to the game plan. I think our guys -- I'm not -- there's been a couple of games this year where I left the game and I felt like we broke off the game plan. I didn't feel that way today. Wisconsin did their job. I told you guys the other day Bo's not going to change. Bo's been coaching like that for years and years and years. I've never seen him run a box and one.
Q. Frank, can you talk a little bit about what makes them so good defensively? You talk about jump shots not going in, but it seems like that happens against them all the time?
COACH MARTIN: Well, because they get you in that tempo. That's the thing with them. They get you in that slow-down tempo, grind-it game and, you know, Joe, when you get down four, five, six, seven to them and they get you caught up in that tempo, then they miss a shot and the ball hangs on the rim, they get an offensive rebound, put it back, it kind of deflates you because you guard them for 32 seconds and then they get the ball back and score it or you gotta guard them for another 32 seconds.
So you tend to press a little bit on offensive. And then they make you make jump shots. I thought we sped them up a little bit today. I thought we got them playing a little faster, which I was happy with. It's kind of what we wanted to do.
And, you know, at the end we had to foul some and take some chances with our traps and all that, that we wouldn't have done if the game was a little more manageable.
But it's kind of what they do. They control tempo with their offense and then it puts a lot of pressure, because they limit how many shots you get during the course of the game.
So you get fewer shots and if you don't make jump shots, it's hard to beat them.
Q. Frank, I'm not asking if they're coming back or what, but you just finished coaching two freshmen that form the most prolific 1-2 scoring punch in Big 12 history for a single season. I want to know what kind of ride Michael Beasley and Bill Walker gave you this season?
COACH MARTIN: Unbelievable. I can't believe people are asking the poor kid that's 18 years old if he's going pro after he just got crushed after a loss. I think there's better times to ask that question. He's answered it every single time he's been asked all year. And I don't know if you guys realize it, but he hurts because we lost today, because he cares about winning.
But those two kids have been tremendous. They're opposite personalities, yet they both have an unbelievable fire that burns inside of them to succeed.
They both, like all kids, they want instruction. They want direction. And they do it. And they go out and you guys kind of see what Bill Walker is about because he carries his emotions on his sleeve. Mike's a little more private with his emotions. But they both have an unbelievable fire to succeed.
And that's what makes me so proud that those two guys -- if the NBA rule wasn't in place, neither one of them would have played a day of college basketball.
Those guys never came in and questioned anything I said, not a single day. One carries a 3.16 GPA and the other one is right around 2.9. If they don't go to class, I won't play them. They knew that. They never challenge me on that. That's a credit to them, who they are as people.
Q. You talked about how tough it is to come back against Wisconsin when you're down by 10 and how much that's like a 25-point deficit, and how big of it was the first four minutes of the second half for you when you went from six down to like 13?
COACH MARTIN: If there was a moment in the game that I was disappointed was those first three, four minutes of the second half. I don't think we came out of the gate enthused and I think that 3 they made at the end of the first half, we were down 32 to 20 and we started coming and we were coming and we cut it to 36-33. And we gave up that 3 at the end of the first half to make it back to 39-33.
And I think that kind of -- it hurt us, it hurt us. I was a little disappointed with the way we started the second half. I think that's where the difference was made, instead of being six, five, seven, immediately it was 12, 13. And it wasn't their offense that hurt us. It was our inability to guard the basketball. They came down and dribble drove the ball to the rim three straight times. And you can't have that.
Q. Frank, you talked about getting on the bus and reflecting. What's next for Frank Martin, what's next for the Wildcats looking ahead at the next week, month?
COACH MARTIN: Start building to be back at this podium a year from now. It's what it's all about. We're not interested in winning for a year then go play golf. It's recruiting starts tomorrow morning for me. And we've got some scholarships to fill. And we've got to go out and we've been recruiting during the course of the year, now in the spring you kind of turn it up a notch and go sign guys in the spring signing period.
And the returning players, the underclassmen, like I told them in the locker room, as good as we were this year we weren't quite good enough so we've all got to get better. So strength training with Scott Greenawalt, and individual instruction starts right away, and it's time for all those freshmen to continue the process that they gotta go through which is get better as players.
Q. What was the explanation you got from the officials on the double technical? Looked like they called that initially just on Butch?
COACH MARTIN: I don't speak on officials. I don't mean to be rude and not answer your question.
Q. Wondered what they might have said to you.
COACH MARTIN: They've got a hard job to do. They work their tails off to manage a basketball game that was extremely physical. But I don't -- you know.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
End of FastScripts