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March 19, 2011

Curtis Kelly

Frank Martin

Jacob Pullen


Wisconsin – 70
Kansas State - 65

THE MODERATOR: For Kansas State we've got Curtis Kelly and Jacob Pullen and head coach Frank Martin. Coach, if you want to make some opening remarks.
COACH MARTIN: Just, you know, hard-fought game. In this tournament they're all hard. Proud of our guys. I think the way they approached this game here today, it's kind of a microcosm of the way these guys approached this whole season.
You know, unfortunately, this time of year, one team has to win and one has to go home. And, unfortunately, for us we're the one that's going home.
But, you know, give Wisconsin credit. Our guys fought hard. I thought we defended halfway decent. And typical Bo Ryan team, they just won't turn it over. Then we had some costly turnovers at the end, but that is still, just real proud of these guys, especially these two guys next to me.

Q. Jacob, can you take us through the two sequences, the three-point attempt that Taylor blocked and there was also the drive where you got tangled up with some bodies and the ball ended up being turned over. What happened there?
JACOB PULLEN: I just saw the clock. And I saw we were down 1 with 20-something seconds and I just wanted to get it into open court. You know, I made a move and I thought he had my hand. I went to at least try to put the ball on the rim. But, you know, it was a physical game, and the referees decided not to call anything. So we had to play through it.
The last shot of the game just didn't get a good tip. You know, I don't know. He played good D and got a piece of the ball.

Q. Jacob, you, I mean, obviously, do some good things, set the school scoring record and matched your career high in points but you still can't get the win. How do you sum up the emotions that come after that?
JACOB PULLEN: I don't know. It's tough. You know, I want to win -- (tearing up)
COACH MARTIN: That is what you wanted to see? That what you were trying to get out of him? Make him cry here in front of people? Good question.
JACOB PULLEN: I just wanted to win the game. I don't care about a scoring record or anything else, man. I wanted to get to the Final Four and I didn't get a chance to do that.

Q. Curt, obviously you guys encountered a lot of adversity this season and fought through it. Just put into words the emotions you are feeling right now?
CURTIS KELLY: I feel hurt. Jake invested so much. I invested a lot. And I don't know what to say. If it wasn't for my family, K-State and Frank Martin, I don't know where I would be.
That's what hurt the most. I didn't want to go out this way. But, I don't know, we fought hard.

Q. Jake, I know you are disappointed right now and maybe this is a tough thing to think about, but do you have any ideas how you want to be remembered, how you think you'll be remembered by people at K-State? You had a hell of a game, a hell of a career?
JACOB PULLEN: I don't know, you know, the competitor in me, you know, I just want to win. I wanted them to remember me as a person that led the team to a Final Four, Elite 8, another one. And the outcome of this game didn't allow that to happen.
All individual accolades and stuff I care nothing about. I'll pass up on all of them. I'll be 100th in scoring thing if that would have got me to the Final Four. You know, that is all I wanted. I wanted a ring.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.

Q. Coach, will you ever have someone like Jacob? How special is he for you personally?
COACH MARTIN: I don't know what to tell you. You know, it's -- when everyone in this room questioned me getting hired, he stayed true to his commitment and said, No, man, I'm coming to play for you. Four years later we're in the NCAA three times, made an Elite 8 run.
He is the scoring leader in the history of K-State. Been to postseason all four years. Go back in the history books and see what the last time K-State went to the postseason four straight years, to the NCAA's three and four years. It's all because of him.
You know, you can coach a long time and never come across another one like him, you know. I'm lucky. God's been good to me, man. I've always been around good players and good players that are better people. And he's first-class. First day, from the first day he walked on campus to when he walks for his degree here in about a month.

Q. Frank, you called this game kind of a microcosm of the season. Can you expound on that a little bit, please.
COACH MARTIN: Yeah, we started off with a bang and then we went into a rut, had just numerous breakdowns. We got nothing from our bench today. We got breakdowns from our bench. That's what we got. You know, we're getting pushed around, knocked over, couldn't rebound the ball. Then we came out the second half and for the most part we controlled the second half until I don't know, little stretch there, you know, 5-minute mark or so. It's unfortunate. Unfortunate.
But that is what I meant that today's game, our will, these kids' will to not give in to a difficult moment, to stay the course, continue to believe and continue to move forward, that is what we did today. And it's kind of the way the season went.

Q. Frank, I told you the stat sheets were going to have Jacob having the game he had and that Jordan Taylor would be 2 for 16 from the floor, I'm guessing you would be pretty pleased with what you have there. Is it amazing that you come out of this with a loss? And does that just speak to Wisconsin's balance, is that what it sums up?
COACH MARTIN: Yeah, their bigs step out and dribble drive it. Their guards don't dribble drive it. Their bigs dribble drive it. I knew that was going be a problem for us, you know. And it was.
We committed I don't know how many silly hand check fouls. And we put them on the line and they shoot 85 percent from the line. So it's -- you are giving them a lay-up by just those silly fouls.
But, you know, I hear everyone -- I pay attention to the media. You know, some coaches say they don't. I do. And I don't think I've ever heard of a kid get beat up on more than Jacob did earlier this year. By all media people. And, you know, he turns around and he's First-Team All-Big 12 unanimously. He is unanimously First-Team All-Defensive. Think about that.
He scores 38 and pretty much his match-up goes 2 for 16. Takes a special person to do that now. Controls the game, too. Gets -- got everyone else shots. We had guys that just couldn't make a shot. He is a special kid, a special, special kid.
Defensively we collectively, it wasn't just him. He did a good job of staying down and not giving Jordan angles. And then the team did a decent job of helping him out there, too.

Q. Coach, what was the play call there towards the end with the three that would have tied it? Was it a bad screen or what?
COACH MARTIN: No, we missed the screen and our freshman point guard -- it was supposed to be a double ball screen. And I knew they were going to try to switch. And our freshman point guard instead of attacking, dribbled it to the sideline and no one guarded him. So we had three guys guarding Jamar and Jacob.
I told them, I told our -- Will can shoot the basketball and he is a real good shooter off the dribble. He is not a great shooter on the catch. He is a real good shooter off the dribble. I told him, Will, when you come off that ball screen if they don't guard you, shoot it. Because I knew they were going to pay so much attention to Jake.
But we didn't execute it real well. Our floor space station was bad. Which then Jake had no space to operate.

Q. When you guys did play so much better in the start of the second half, what changed there and what did you like more about your team?
COACH MARTIN: We actually rebounded the ball. We made some shots. We made shots early in the game, then went through a rut where we didn't make any shots. I mean, Jacob made shots, but no one else did. You know, Wisconsin is a good team. So they took stuff away from us.
And then the second half we came out, we made some shots. We were better offensively. We actually passed the ball. We cut. We didn't jog our cuts. We got more people involved in what we were doing in the second half than what we did in the first half.
And our energy was better. You know, it's a shame that, you know, we had that little dead spot. When we were up 6 we had three consecutive awful defensive possessions.
Give Wisconsin credit. They made some shots and they went up and grabbed some key offensive rebounds that, you know, gave them extra possessions.

Q. Jake obviously was extremely successful offensively and defensively. But what did he add in terms of leadership down the stretch?
COACH MARTIN: He's been phenomenal. See, I did something this year that I've never really done and probably will never do again. I kind of called out a couple of players pubically when I questioned our team's leadership because I didn't think it was very good. Rarely do I say anything public about that. And Jacob the whole time was begging me to help him lead.
And finally I went home one day and I said, You know what, he is asking for my help and I'm telling him to do stuff and he's asking me to help and I'm not doing my job. So I started helping him and from that day forward he was phenomenal.
The commitment that he made to lead our team, to make those other guys around him better players, the will to win, what he just said, that's special. You don't come across too many people that are like that. That they're so willing to embrace that responsibility. He's done it since the day he walked on campus.

Q. To kind of follow up on that you have often said that Jacob learned from Denny and Mike Beasley. Are you going to be saying that when, say, Will Spradling, Rodney McGruder or upperclassmen about Jacob Pullen?
COACH MARTIN: If they didn't, then they wasted their time. Because when you get to be around a kid like Jake, if you don't learn how to work, you don't learn how to compete, you don't learn how to lead, you don't learn to have confidence, then you wasted your time. You know, because it's -- he brings all those things to the table. He's loyal.
If those guys didn't do what Jacob did when he was around those guys, then they wasted their time. I won't know till next year. See how those guys respond.
THE MODERATOR: All right, coach, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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