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NCAA MEN'S 2ND & 3RD ROUNDS: PITTSBURGH


March 17, 2012


Jordan Henriquez

Frank Martin

Rodney McGruder

Will Spradling


PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

Syracuse ¬Ė 75
Kansas State ¬Ė 59


THE MODERATOR:¬† We're joined by Kansas State coach and student‑athletes.
Coach, do you want to give a quick statement.
COACH MARTIN:  Hats off to Syracuse.  I told Coach Boeheim before the game that, you know, whenever I get old, which I'm starting to get there, I'm going to be able to tell my kids that I coached basketball against Jim Boeheim, Mike Krzyzewski.
It was an unbelievable honor to line up and prepare a team to go against a Hall of Famer.  Hats off to them.
With all that said, I can't tell you how proud I am of these guys right next to me and the guys in the locker room.  For a young team, their resolve, their fight, their unwillingness to give into the difficult moments of the season, give us a chance to continue to grow, is a thing that I will treasure.
Like I told them in the locker room, it's been an honor to coach these kids all year.
THE MODERATOR: ¬†Questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  Rodney, obviously the ankle was an issue.  Take us through what happened.
RODNEY McGRUDER:¬† Tried to shoot a step‑back jumper.¬† Brandon Triche came back under me, I rolled my ankle.¬† It was tough to play on, but I just wanted the victory so I just tried to fight it through.

Q.¬† Shooting was an issue for your team today.¬† How much of that was the Syracuse 2‑3 zone?
WILL SPRADLING:  I mean, a couple of my shots, they were able to get their hands on and deflect.  When you see that happen, you become a little bit hesitant.  Some of our players were a little bit hesitant shooting.
We just needed to step up and knock some shots down.  We did a better job today than we did against Southern Miss, but we didn't do that well enough.
RODNEY McGRUDER:  We just didn't hit the shots we normally hit, you know.  We had open looks.  We just didn't take advantage of the open looks that we had.
Missed a lot of shots, a lot of open shots, too.

Q.  Obviously the news about Jamar before the game was tough and unexpected.  What was it like playing out there without him?
RODNEY McGRUDER:  It was tough playing without him, especially one of our seniors.  He's one of the main leaders of the team.
It was just tough, you know.  It's tough that he would never get to play another game in a Kansas State uniform.  He missed his last game.
It hurts me, you know, 'cause he's been my friend since I was young.  So that just hurts.

Q.  Jordan, what was Syracuse able to do to get you in foul trouble in this game?
JORDAN HENRIQUEZ:  They did a good job of putting me in ball screens.  Sometimes when I guarded James Southerland, I had the support because he could shoot the ball really well.  They dragged me away from the rim.  When I did contest, they usually got into my body, hit me with a pump fake, drew a couple fouls on me early in the second half.
THE MODERATOR:  Gentlemen, thank you.  We'll continue with questions for Coach Martin.
COACH MARTIN:  Before we take any questions, on the Jamar issue, Jamar is one of the greatest kids I've been around, okay?  What took place, as we found out last night, was completely unfortunate.  As a university, we have to take a stance and protect our university.  Unfortunately it put him in a tough spot.
He's, in my opinion, done nothing wrong.  You always have to err on the side of caution and not do something and look back on it, and then regret your decision.
Please don't ask me any questions on it 'cause I had nothing to do with the decision.  Any questions pertaining to this matter, please direct to John Currie, my boss.

Q.  Coach, what will you say to Jamar knowing that this was his last game potentially?
COACH MARTIN:  Here's what I told him when we got information yesterday.  I said, If this is the worst thing that ever happens to you in your lifetime, you're going to be one of the luckiest human beings to ever walk on the face of the earth.
After that I choked up 'cause, you know, I'm all about kids, man (tearing up).

Q.  What did you lose with Jamar not on the court today?
COACH MARTIN:¬† He's our toughest kid.¬† He gives us the ability to make some shots against that zone.¬† It gives us a frontline guy who's a fifth‑year senior to deal with the adjustments that you got to make during the course of the game.
You know, it made us depend on a freshman that he's played this year and we've won with him in there.¬† We've won with him in there.¬† So he tried his tail off.¬† But when you lose your fifth‑year senior, who is another guy that can make shots against that zone, especially inside the foul line, that little opening right there where we got a bunch of shots from, and we just couldn't make any, you know, it puts you at a disadvantage.
Not being able to have that practice or play a game, it's hard to make adjustments to change what you then have to do with the new players that you have.

Q.  Not only did you have to deal with the absence of Jamar, but Rodney gets hurt, then Henriquez was in foul trouble.  What was the mindset as a coach in the second half?
COACH MARTIN:¬† I trust my guys, man.¬† They lay it on the line.¬† You know, we give Syracuse credit rather than fault our guys.¬† You know, they attacked us.¬† They're not 35‑2, or whatever they are, because they kind of fooled people.¬† You know, they're good.
Our kids fought.  They attacked us.  We're already a man down on our frontline.  You know, then Jordan gets in foul trouble.  It just made it difficult.  Then it puts too much responsibility on Thomas, which is not fair to him at this stage of his career.
But, you know, I give them credit.  Scoop Jardine made some hard threes off the dribble to create some separation in the game, and then it was an uphill battle for us the rest of the way.
You know, we grabbed 25 offensive rebounds.  If I can ask them to do anything else, our kids, you can't control the ball going in the rim.  You know, we got shots.  I asked them to cut down the turnovers at halftime.  We only turned it over four times in the second half.
Give them credit.  They're good.  They beat us.

Q.¬† Could I get more of your shots on Scoop Jardine being a fifth‑year senior, especially how he played in the second half.
COACH MARTIN:¬† That's why when you asked me about Jamar, you know, we lose our fifth‑year senior, their fifth‑year senior made the difference in the game.
We didn't lose 'cause we lost Jamar.  Let me get that straight now.  'Cause Syracuse is minus a very good player, too.  We just lost the toughest guy on our team.
And Scoop, as a fifth‑year senior, made the plays, made difficult shots, made the right pass, played extremely aggressive in the second half.
One thing Angel tries to do, but he's a freshman playing against a guy that's been in college for five years.  You know, give him credit.  They're good 'cause they've got just a helluva coach, and their players, they play the game the right way.
Like I told you guys yesterday, coach has won a whole bunch of games not because of a player; he's won it because they do it the Syracuse way.  As a fan of the game, they're one of the programs that I really, really enjoy watching.

Q.  With everything that went on, how did you feel being down one at half and what did Syracuse do at second half to get some separation?
COACH MARTIN:¬† I was extremely pleased at halftime.¬† We went through about a four‑minute stretch where we turned it over, I want to say, either four or five times that led to straight baskets for them.¬† I said, If we eliminate those four or five turnovers, I think they made three in there, it was nine points without going through our defense, which is what they do.¬† They're real good at it.¬† If we can eliminate that, make a couple more free throws, we actually maybe got a five‑, six‑point lead at halftime.
I was extremely pleased.¬† I thought our offense was good.¬† We were patient.¬† We goaltend on the glass.¬† Defensively we were rock solid.¬† What hurt us in the second half was their offensive rebound.¬† They came out.¬† There was a sequence there, I think the score was 33‑32, and they grabbed two offensive rebounds on one possession.¬† One of those became a foul on Jordan, then Gipson gives up an offensive rebound on a free throw.¬† Now we're giving them cheap points.
They're too good.¬† Here is the deal with Syracuse.¬† If you're playing from behind against them, you're in trouble 'cause of their zone, and their guards are so good that they're not going to give it to you.¬† They're going to get it deep in the shot clock and take hard shots.¬† That's what Scoop did.¬† He made some big‑time shots for them.

Q.  It's obvious you're emotional about your players, especially Jamar.  You seem to learn a lot from your players as well as they learn from you.  What are some of the things you learned from Jamar during his time at Kansas State?
COACH MARTIN:  How to be resilient.  How to continue to battle.  You know, I've been as hard on Jamar as any kid I've ever coached, and he's never run away from it.  You know, he came in as a freshman that thought he was a third pick in the NBA draft, and he's getting ready to walk out with a college degree, and a man that's ready for life.
I don't get to coach him anymore.  That's not fun.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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