What’s going on with Kansas State’s basketball team?
It’s a question I’m starting to hear more and more and one that exploded Tuesday night with the announcement that seniors Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly had been declared ineligible by the school for receiving impermissible benefits on the purchase of clothing from a Manhattan department story.
This is Pullen and Kelly we’re talking about. Seniors. Supposedly, leaders. For a team that was expected to be in the hunt for a national championship this season.
But after a loss to UNLV on Tuesday night at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, the Wildcats’ only hunt is for their own identity.
It’s been a tumultuous season for Kansas State from the get-go starting with the early suspension of Kelly, who was K-State’s best interior player last season. Kelly seemed prime for a monster senior season. It’s not happening.
Pullen, a preseason All-American, isn’t shooting well and looks like he misses being Denis Clemente’s sidekick. He has not adjusted well to his bigger role and appears to be trying too hard.
I wonder if this team is tuning out Coach Frank Martin. He’s not an easy guy to tune out, but his persistent emotional approach toMartin has a word or two for Will Spradling during Tuesday's loss to UNLVcoaching has to be difficult for players at times.
I’ve been critical of Martin’s coaching tactics, and especially of his frequent use of profanity on the bench. But I’ve gotten to know him a little better over the past couple of seasons and there is no doubt he has the best intentions. I’m just not sure his players know how to differentiate between Good Frank and Bad Frank.
It was Bad Frank who addressed the media after Tuesday night’s loss. If you haven’t seen it, you haven’t been watching ESPN because his post-game news conference has been showing there regularly. It’s not good.
Martin lashes out at some media people who dare ask him about the Pullen/Kelly ineligibility, commenting that he only wanted to talk about the players who were on the floor. Fine. But there was no need for the confrontational tone or for the menacing look Martin was projecting. He looked more like a guy awaiting a prison sentencing than he did a basketball coach. And, like it or not, he did nothing to quell his national image as somewhat of a loose cannon.
Martin stands for maturity and leadership, but he didn’t possess either quality Tuesday night. He sees himself as a teacher, as well as a coach, but sometimes his lesson gets lost in translation.
He’ll never have a better or more challenging teaching experience than he’s facing now, but rather than embrace the opportunity he instead chose fighting words.
Kansas State still has a chance to be the kind of basketball team we all thought it would be. The Wildcats haven’t even started Big 12 play yet, so Martin has time to pull his team together.
But it won’t be easy. And it will be nearly impossible if the mood around the Kansas State program becomes dour and frantic. We’ll learn a lot more about Martin and his team in the next few weeks.
My Facebook Friend
Cammie and Brian BoboI don’t really know Cammie. She reminded me that she once worked in the media relations department at Wichita State, so I’m sure our paths crossed then. Cammie seems like someone who would be fun to know. She’s a rabid sports fan and a former athlete. She loves her Oklahoma State Cowbows. She’s really active and I can tell she’s one of those Type As. So, yeah, I’m happy Cammie is my Facebook friend. She told me she read about my wedding here on the blog, which is cool. Here’s more from Cammie:
Congrats on your weekend…your blog truly choked me up this morning. I can say I am about a once a week reader, but happened to visit this morning as a mutual friend commented, and I of course followed the link on Facebook.I am reminded of the beauty of weddings and remembering that during the scurry and hurry of December we lose focus on the beauty of things. I have been married to a fantastic man for 12 years and would not trade our two kids (well maybe the 7 year old daughter on some given days, but I digress…) or our busy life for anything. Your blog and your karaoke for that matter just gave me a moment to smile and slow down a bit…ALL WAS RIGHT WITH THE WORLD UNTIL…you posted a picture of Bob Stoops’ new home on your blog…how could you?? My husband played football at Oklahoma State, and coached before moving here to run a dealership for Davis-Moore and we don’t speak those words you know…*whispering* Bob Stoops, Boomer Sooner, or OU…(in fact I almost threw up typing them.) We go to church with Brent Kemnitz, and he might (I use the term lightly) be the only Sooner fan that we can tolerate…only because I adore his wife and girls. We brainwash our children and dress them always in orange or gold…(wow that is horrible!! ) :)As far as being your friend on Facebook, I am not sure if you remember or not, but I was a walk-on basketball player at Wichita State under Linda Hargrove after transferring from Newman University and playing soccer and basketball. (very uninteresting, so I would not blame you for not remembering any of that…). I was also a student assistant for a while for Scott Schumacher and Larry Rankin in the SID office as my work study back in the day. I am on a couple of committees now including the Gregg Marshall Men’s Golf Tournament Fundraiser and I think that might be where we were reintroduced. My aunt, Jan Bogle, is the men’s basketball secretary as well, and has been there forever!About me…always 100 miles an hour, and love meeting new people. I am a female sports junkie! I am the proud mommy of a son Braxton who is 10, and a daughter, Brityn who is 7 going on 15. I have been married to Brian for 12 years. I graduated from Wichita State with a Liberal Arts degree. I am an Associate Manager/Insurance Agent for Farm Bureau Financial Services and have been here since 2007. In my spare time (what is that???) I volunteer, teach Sunday School, design jewelry, sew, paint, workout, coach basketball and attend Wichita State and Oklahoma State sports and watch a lot of sports!! Anyone that know me, knows that I am chatty, and that my friends and my family are my life! Relationships are what people with remember you for…Bob, I hope you and your new bride have a fantastic holiday! Thanks for taking that time to find out about your Facebook “friend”.