Friday, February 18, 2011

KSU’s Jacob Pullen learning to be leader

Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen celebrates with the Bramlage Coliseum crowd following the Wildcats' 84-68 upset win over Kansas on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011.

Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen celebrates with the Bramlage Coliseum crowd following the Wildcats' 84-68 upset win over Kansas on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011.


As you might recall, Kansas State coach Frank Martin recently blamed himself for Jacob Pullen’s early-to-midseason problems — just one of the many issues that have derailed a season that began with the Wildcats as a member of the preseason Top 10.

“(Pullen) didn’t do a very good job of leading, and that’s where I needed to help him, and I didn’t,” Martin said. “It’s no surprise that when I started doing a better job of helping him, he started doing a better job of playing.”

The biggest piece of evidence that Pullen is doing a better job was his 38-point performance in K-State’s — can we say a little shocking? — Monday-night blowout of top-ranked Kansas.

Pullen in a recent conversation admitted his designation as Big 12 preseason Player of the Year wasn’t so much a burden. The load was the expectation that he would put his team on his back and lead it to a Big 12 championship by himself.

“Just the weight on my shoulders for the overall team — trying to get everybody involved, trying to score and be a leader, all those things were a lot on my plate that at one time I wasn’t able to digest,” Pullen said. “I tried to eat too fast.”

Pullen tried to be both himself and be departed point guard Denis Clemente. He also let himself and his team down by being party to a scheme in which he and teammate Curtis Kelly availed themselves of clothing discounts at a local department store.

He accepts blame for that short-sighted fiasco, which resulted in a disruptive three-game suspension. And he said he’s not going to let Martin take sole blame for his problems.

“That’s what’s so great about Frank,” Pullen said. “Frank is the type person who will always take responsibility for what happens.

“I blame myself. There are a lot of things I could have done differently. But me and Frank have both taken responsibility for that and that’s the great thing. We’ve stuck together through all that’s happened and now we’re looking toward improving things.”

The win over KU improves things. But where outsiders figured this team would by now be on its way to a conference title, the Wildcats (17-9, 5-6) are trying to rescue an NCAA Tournament bid after struggling through a season of suspensions, unexpected losses and the impact of three players leaving the program during the season.

Most would figure this as the most difficult season of Martin’s career.

Not so, he said Wednesday.

“Difficult is what (KU’s) Thomas Robinson is going through (after losing his mother in January). Difficult is what (former player) Clent Stewart went through three years ago, losing his mom in the middle of the season,” Martin said.

“I mean, kids making mistakes, losing a couple of games? That’s part of the season. Nothing difficult about that. This is what teaching is all about. If I can’t deal with that, I need to find a new profession.”

Bull’s-eye on Texas

So many things stand out about this Texas team. But the one thing I keep thinking is, when is UT going to take a game off? When do the rigors of the season lead to a momentary meltdown?

When will the No. 3-ranked Longhorns not get up for a so-called lesser opponent?

That hasn’t happened. And one of the mitigating factors in their 11-0 conference record has been the way the Longhorns jump opponents from the tipoff.

Though not until Gary Johnson’s early second-half scoring spurt did Texas get comfortable in the 73-55 victory over Oklahoma State on Wednesday night, the Cowboys were looking up out of a 27-15 hole with eight minutes remaining in the first half.

Building an early lead has been a constant against every opponent but Kansas, against whom Texas came back to win after being down by 15 points twice early in the game.

How have the Longhorns kept that intensity?

“We know guys are going to come at our necks now because of the situation we’re in,” Johnson said. “We’re in the conference lead, guys need a key win. So we feel like everybody is against us every game we play from here on out.”


ahpersecoachingexperience 8 years, 11 months ago

I guess if I cared about ksu and jp I would be reading a purple themed webpage. But I don't, so get this trash off

scraptown 8 years, 11 months ago

Way to keep it classy, maybe they were just looking for a positive story as page filler until Saturday.

Nick Adams 8 years, 11 months ago

I'll go ahead and caption the photo for this story..."that's right ya'll, now we've beat them twice in our building...TWICE!!"

100 8 years, 11 months ago

They have beaten us twice there. And Pullen played great as did their team.

When will we see a follow up on how Kelly is eligible to play after failing his drug test for the third time?

Two KSU athletic department sources discussed that he would be kicked off the team for a third infraction. KC star looked into their rulebook & the drug policy was the only infraction which would have him sitting out those three games in November.

So according to multiple sources including students on campus he had his hearing.

How did he get busted a 2nd time in November & miss 3 games, then get caught a 3rd time in February & not miss a single game?

KU sports if we're going to be posting stories about their players, the story on Kelly is probably the most interesting one, considering Pullen running through a Kief screen ended up having our center sit on the bench for more than half of the first half.

This game had to do not only with Pullen & KSU playing very well, along with us playing terrible, it had to do with us being left with no center early in the game...

It ended up being Mario Little against Kelly....

So the question is, LJW....

Can you do a story on how in the world Kelly (who if you read the student comments from KSU is a renowned drug abuser), ended up suiting up for the game against us?

I'm all for having the best out there, but this Kelly situation is ridiculous, especially considering Frank Martin yells at the press (even though a hearing did take place for a third offense) and then suddenly journalists are scared to dig into this issue?

Come on LJW, we just got knocked from the #1 perch in the country on national TV. Embarrassed. Out played.

So why is it not a news story that their tallest player on the court, who was supposed to be suspended from the team, didn't even have to sit out one game after getting caught on a positive drug test a third time?

Especially considering we lose our center in the first half.... How are we not over there right now breaking a national news story that would make ESPN/ Sports Illustrated/Sporting News, etc.

Someone has to break the Frank Martin "if you ask anymore questions i'm gonna hit you in the huddle" secrecy on this. The basic facts are already out there, directly from the KSU administration.

This is a huge story. This is a college coverup at it's worst. And they get away with it because they just beat the #1 team in the country? Or is it because Frank yells at reporters?

Come on LJW.

Let's break this story wide open.

We get beat with or without Kelly....

But how in the world was a three time drug offender even suited up?

I'll tell you the answer because it's common sense.

But it would be much better coming from the LJW, or some news source that has the gonads to stand up to Frank Martin.

JamesA 8 years, 11 months ago

Get over it, 100. Your argument/suggestions are both petty and bitter, and sound like something an MU or KSU fan would complain about. This is NOT a huge story when it involves a mediocre player on a mediocre team. Support your team and stop worrying about your neighbor's lawn. RCJH

100 8 years, 11 months ago

You can call me bitter all you want; I want the truth.

But tell me this isnt a story: Curtis Kelly (who just knocked off the #1 team in the country) had a hearing. KC star further confirmed his three game suspension was a 2nd time offender. Forced to sit 10% of the games. So now he has a hearing for a third violation. What was it about? And regardless, how did he not sit out a single game on his third offense?

Are you really telling me this really isn't a story? So anytime a public figure doesn't want to discuss something he just yells at the press and the questions stop?

scraptown 8 years, 11 months ago

Doesn't seem to be a story, neither ku or k-state has any shortage of dirty laundry, because of privacy laws there won't be any stories concerning dirty drug tests. Loose lips and over-zealous under-supported reporting is the biggest story. Save your righteous indignation for the next domestic abuse report.

100 8 years, 11 months ago

You want to see KU's dirty laundry? We have our share. As does ISU, NU, the rest of the big 12.

Someone above mentioned "bitter". On this particular issue with Kelly I am indeed bitter, regarding a Coach who will stand for this & brush it under the rug.

This is a matter of principle.

It's also because there's kids all over Kansas watching this story unfold & asking grandparents what it means. It was all over the news.

And then Frank, just calls a silence.

No explanation. Listen I hope the kid is innocent. But realistically that would take three false test scores for that to be the case (again sources are from the KSU athletic department to the KC star).

But how poor of a student relations disaster to not even be able to clear Kelly's name.

If the original sources from KSU athletic department had it wrong, have them come out.

This is not an issue of fanhood. This is journalism. And a fellow big 12 school (and Coach) leaving Kelly hanging (or covering).

Either way it's wrong. From what has been reported it's quite obviously the latter. If you really care about journalistic integrity, it is amazing that Frank yelling at reporters stopped this story.

Iowa State doesn't have much dirty laundry, but I don't think they could even get away with this.

Let's hear Frank or Curtis talk. There's a lot of 10 year olds who want to know what kind of players Frank protects on his team.

There's a lot of KSU alumni (a very respectable place, good honest people for the most part) and specifically student athletes at KSU who deserve to know what in the world happened.

Curtis Kelly would do himself a lot of good to have a press conference. Because for all of those not responding, I know I wouldn't want my grandkid to lose a college scholarship (we're talking college) to a kid who can't control his drug habit & is given favors by the Administration he plays for.

No matter how bad you want to look the other way.... This is a story about an internal coverup & a 3 time drug offender using a scholarship that could be used by an athlete that cares about school & the future of his brain cells.

If you care about Big 12 athletics, this is most certainly a story. If OU's starting QB has some strings pulled you can guarantee ESPN would be all over it.

So just because it's KSU or ISU doesn't mean it shouldn't be looked into.

Since this is a KSU article, I'm simply asking for some real journalism here.

  1. How is Kelly still on the team?

  2. Was there a coverup after the KSU administration talked?

  3. Was Frank Martin involved in this coverup?

  4. If Kelly is so innocent, why doesn't he, or Frank Martin, clear his name with the press?

  5. Why the secrecy & anger Frank? Are you hiding something? If not, great, do tell... You see Frank, you make money because of the press & media, so the least you can do is give the journalists a story of positive redemption. Heck it might turn Kelly into a folk hero.

hongfuchen 8 years, 11 months ago

Journalistic integrety? How about having all the facts before you break a story? The digging reporters were doing just that, didgging. once they hit a dead end, they backed off. The facts of this story are no one really knows what happened, not even the "administration" that broke the story.

As far as dirty laundry goes, how about the KU basetball and KU football teams having a brawl on campus. There should have been asault charges assesed, and people sent to jail. If you don't think that KU basketball players smoke pot then your a little Niaeve.

The whole point of this story is KU got spanked monday, and you need to accept that and quit worying about what Curtis Kelly and Frank Martin are doing. He was cleared and that's all that matters.

KU_FanSince75 8 years, 11 months ago

It just cracks me up that Pullen calls his coach by his first name. It sounds disrespectful to me, but I guess I am "old school."

kesmithstl1 8 years, 11 months ago

+1. Bobby Knight would have thrown a player in a trash can if they called him Bobby.

I personally feel the same way. Maybe Frank wants to be the cool teacher!

bbhawk234 8 years, 11 months ago

Is this site called KU Sports or KSU Sports. I sick of this sight constantly having KSU articles. Boycott LJW!

Ryan Mullen 8 years, 11 months ago

If you are sick of this site go over to I went over long ago and I love it.

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