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Monday, February 13, 2012

Spradling ready to step up, lead Wildcats

Kansas State coach Frank Martin, right, talks to guard Will Spradling during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, in Manhattan, Kan. Oklahoma won the game 63-60.

Kansas State coach Frank Martin, right, talks to guard Will Spradling during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, in Manhattan, Kan. Oklahoma won the game 63-60.

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— Kansas State’s signing of Shawnee Mission South guard Will Spradling to a national letter of intent in November of 2009 did not create a lot of buzz in the college basketball world.

Some skeptics, in fact, saw Wildcat coach Frank Martin’s pursuit of the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder as a mere goodwill gesture.

“I feel people doubted me. The main thing (from peers) I’d get is, ‘Are you going to red-shirt?’ That pushed me to show them I was going to have a key role,” Spradling told the Journal-World in a preseason interview.

He has started all 24 games in this, his sophomore, season, after starting six games and playing meaningful minutes in 34 games during his freshman campaign.

Spradling — he’ll start in the backcourt for KSU (17-7, 6-6 Big 12) in today’s 8 p.m. Sunflower Showdown versus KU (20-5, 10-2) in Bramlage Coliseum — last season became the first Wildcat true freshman to play in all games since Jacob Pullen and Michael Beasley in 2007-08.

“I felt I came in and made a statement (that) I wasn’t going to sit on the bench. I wasn’t going to be the in-state player they picked up just because I’m from the state,” said Spradling, who orally committed to KSU before the start of his junior season.

“It was tough the first couple weeks (on campus as rookie). Jacob just tried to embarrass me in practice every day. I’d get embarrassed and yelled at for whatever,” Spradling added.

“Right after I got done getting yelled at, Jake was there telling me what I could do to get better. That really taught me a lot. By the end of the year, me and Jake were going at it every day.

“He was a great player. That’s one of the greatest players in college basketball last year. I’m happy I got to play with him,” noted Spradling, who is averaging 10.4 points off 38.3 percent shooting (40 of 105 from three for 38.1 percent) with 62 assists against 40 turnovers. He averaged 6.4 points (off 39.7 percent shooting, 40-of-108, from three) and 1.8 assists his rookie campaign.

“After the season, he (Pullen) said stuff like, ‘This is your team this year. You really have to take it over and be a leader.’’’

Spradling enters tonight’s ESPN Big Monday game with a 1-2 record versus KU. He scored five points (2-of-7 shooting 1-for-4 threes) with five assists and four turnovers in 33 minutes in KSU’s 67-49 loss to KU on Jan. 4 in Allen Fieldhouse.

As a freshman, he had four points (2-of-6 shooting, 0-for-3 three) in KSU’s 90-66 blowout loss in Allen and nine points (3-for-4, 1-for-2 from three) in the Cats’ 84-68 rout of KU in Bramlage.

“He’s a solid glue guy, a stabilizer,” KU coach Bill Self said. “Today (Saturday in 75-64 loss at Texas) he made three threes the first half (en route to 11 points). One of his big keys is making shots. That’s a big bonus for them.”

KU didn’t recruit Spradling, who finished his career as SM South’s No. 2 scorer of all-time (1,225 points). That was OK with Spradling.

“I was never a KU fan. I felt that wasn’t a program I really wanted to go to,” Spradling said. “My dad (Shannon) was a basketball coach (for Spiece Mo-Kan AAU). I followed where his players went. He had over 70 players go Div. I, so I followed the teams they were at.”

First meeting revisited: The Jayhawks, who were led by Thomas Robinson (15 points, 14 rebounds and Travis Releford (16 points, 11 boards), outrebounded the Cats, 50-26, in Allen. Rodney McGruder had 15 points, while Jamar Samuels had 12 points and a team-high six rebounds for KSU.

“I thought the first game we did an exceptional job getting the majority of the 50/50 balls,” Self said. “We’ve got to do a great job of that over there. It will be a juiced atmosphere, and it is probably the hardest game to play in, but the most fun game at the same time. It seems like they do a great job whenever they play us (in Manhattan), and we are going to have to play a team that is very, very hungry.”

Taylor’s final trip to KSU: KU senior Tyshawn Taylor is 2-1 against KSU in Bramlage. The Cats clubbed KU, 84-68, last season in Manhattan.

“Jacob Pullen,” Taylor said, asked what he remembered about that game, one in which Pullen exploded for 38 points. “I feel like he hit every shot (9-for-17, 5-for-6 from three, 15-of-19 from the line) and we lost.”

Of playing at Bramlage, Taylor said: “The intensity level for their team rises, like anybody else that plays at home. They feed off their crowd. We know when we play against Kansas State that they’re going to have a good crowd all the time. I’m sure they’re going to be hyped. The last time we beat them on the boards, so I’m sure that’s going to be an emphasis for them to crash the boards and be more aggressive. We have to be ready to match their intensity and not get sped up and play into their hands and the crowd’s hand.”

KSU’s take: KSU last year was coming off a loss at Colorado the night the Wildcats clobbered KU by 16 points.

“If you can find Jacob Pullen to line up and score 38 on Monday, I’d feel a lot better about it,” KSU coach Frank Martin told the Manhattan Mercury. “That turnaround feels a lot better when you’ve got a guy who can do that.. Last year is meaningless to this team, but the reason I thought we had a chance to succeed was because we had been playing well, we didn’t dwell on a loss, and we went in there on Sunday and did a great job of preparing.

“Our kids were optimistic, enthusiastic, and that gave us a chance to succeed on Monday. We’ll do the same thing. That’s not going to change.”

Of KU’s Taylor, Martin said: “Tyshawn is playing as well as any guard in the country right now. I knew he was good, but what I’ve been watching as of late is just phenomenal because of how well he’s playing.”

This, that: KU leads the all-time series, 182-91. KU has won 22 of the last 24 in Manhattan and 43 of the last 46 overall. ... Martin is 2-8 versus KU, 2-2 in Bramlage; Bill Self is 17-3 vs. KSU as KU coach, 18-3 overall. ... Since the inception of the Big 12 Conference, KU is 28-3 in regular-season battles and 35-3 including Big 12 Championship meetings versus Kansas State.

Comments

HawkfromHays 2 years, 6 months ago

“I was never a KU fan. I felt that wasn’t a program I really wanted to go to,”. Yeah, I'm sure that's the biggest reason he didn't end up here.

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jayhawker_97 2 years, 6 months ago

yeah, let TT & EJ teach him a lesson to be a humble guard.

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nuleafjhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Let's hope he's much less of a KU fan at about 10:15 pm tonight.

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jhox 2 years, 6 months ago

Watching him last year, I thought we may have made a mistake in not going after Spradling. Watching him this year, the more I believe he's a kid with a very high basketball IQ, who is probably not going to get a lot better. I have no doubt he could contribute to this year's KU team, given our lack of depth, but athletically he is not quite up to Bill Self standards. This is a rare year when someone with his skill set could have contributed to KU. I don't say that to dog the kid. I respect overachievers, but I'm glad we didn't go after him because he would have contributed very little at KU.

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Scott Oswalt 2 years, 6 months ago

Maybe....Spradling would never start for KU though.

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jayhawkjake07 2 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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dylans 2 years, 6 months ago

'"I was never a KU fan. I felt that wasn’t a program I really wanted to go to,” Spradling said." after getting no interest from KU. or was it after realizing he wouldn't sniff the court? Good thing he has Frank breathing fire down his throat or he'd be washed up already with that kinda drive. If I was told I could walk on at North Carolina or start at North Carolina State; I'd be wearing baby blue. (just a comparison I'm not a heel fan)

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Mike Bratisax 2 years, 6 months ago

HawkfromHays, I think you nailed it... Even w/our short bench, he most likely would not get a lot of minutes.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 6 months ago

During tonight's game do not think you accidentally hit the SAP button on your remote. It's just Frank's recruiting philosophy. Seriously, how many players can one team have with a last name ending in the letter Z?

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Cmill1221 2 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Alohahawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Careful. Don't feed them any barnyard fodder and get them all excited. They'll have to get the pooper scoopers out mid game.

Must admit that Frank Martin has been much more reserved this season. Perhaps his doctor recommended he calm down a bit. I imagine most college coaches develop high blood pressure over the years. That, and lose their hair.

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nuleafjhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

I wondered that about Martin as well.

Can't figure out if he's more reserved, or just beat down.

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dylans 2 years, 6 months ago

Last years KSU team had a little talent and just needed some drive. This years KSU team needs more talent. There is just no sense in whipping a dead horse.

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yates33333 2 years, 6 months ago

If you had watched him in the Texas game you'd have thought he was someone else. Gawd, I hope nothing happens to him. I do hate to see him so calm. It takes the fun out of the game.

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oldrocker 2 years, 6 months ago

Frank issued a statement to the KSU student body last week to refrain from swearing and said he is going to do the same.

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Cmill1221 2 years, 6 months ago

WHAT!?!? I can't believe they removed my comment!! What is this? North Korea!?!?

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Martin Rosenblum 2 years, 6 months ago

Oh no! We're going to the Octogon of Misfit Toys tonight!

Please tell me Dickie V's not going to call this.

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jhwksr4me 2 years, 6 months ago

And miss Holly Rowe!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Scott Oswalt 2 years, 6 months ago

Holly Rowe = Miss Piggy

Oink Oink!

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Ben Kane 2 years, 6 months ago

hard to believe we will have to start considering them a rival next year.

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Rock_Chalk_NYC 2 years, 6 months ago

Apparently Spradling's Dad not only had a son not good enough to play at KU, but also coached a "slew" of kids not up to Jayhawk muster! LOL

“My dad (Shannon) was a basketball coach (for Spiece Mo-Kan AAU). I followed where his players went. He had over 70 players go Div. I, so I followed the teams they were at.”

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Martin Rosenblum 2 years, 6 months ago

They probably ended up at schools like Duke, NC, KY, UConn, etc. and he was trying not to make us feel bad. Interesting that no names were mentioned. Actually, probably 60 were walk-ons or equipment managers, at D1 schools. (Damn, we're getting tacky here)

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jayhawkjake07 2 years, 6 months ago

His dad supposedly help train brandon rush when he was in high school so i this statement is kind of iffy to me

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REHawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Nice tribute, Frank Martin to Tyshawn. Heck of a deal, Tyshawn not on the Cousy list. NBA scouts who are watching his game closely now must be highly impressed with our point guard. If we win the league and churn our way to the Final 4, Tyshawn will leave most of those finalists in the dust. He is averaging close to 34 minutes per game in league play, that on a repaired knee. If we can find ways to drop that to 30, he will experience fewer late-game turnovers, preserve his wheels and be more rested going into the NCAA Tournament. By their senior campaigns, Miles and Collins were playing at near exhaustion come tournament play in March. Perhaps it is the dark leggings, but Tyshawn has begun to appear very lank and streamlined of late.

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justanotherfan 2 years, 6 months ago

I've always thought that Will Spradling was a player that was just good enough to get a coach fired. Not saying that's what will happen to Frank Martin, but still.

Spradling is a guy that seems like he's a pretty solid to good starting player on the surface. Seems like he has a good feel for the game, shoots it well, hustles, plays team basketball, etc. But if you watch him closely you realize that he's not actually good enough to rely on as one of your main players. He's a little too good to be a career backup player, but probably never good enough to really be a starter on a high caliber team unless he's surrounded by awesome talent. Hence K-State's so-so record. They have too many just good enough to get you fired players on the roster and not enough studs along with them.

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jaybate 2 years, 6 months ago

jaf,

This is a hellluva a good psy-ops needle, if he happens to read it. :-)

But I have to say that I like the fire in his belly and the steel of this kid. He's not afraid of KU. He's not bowing down. That is the only way to beat KU, or any team. You first have to refuse to be intimidated, or in awe.

Maybe the kid's dad and Self didn't hit it off early on. Maybe the kid's dad was a Roy-loyalist and could not switch gears. Who knows? Maybe Self just thinks you have to be 6-3, or greater, with a 40 vertical, and not 6'2" to cut it at KU as a glue man/trey shooter. Or maybe Self had too much depth and Spradling's dad and he said go where the slot to play is best.

Regardless, KU will need a lot of fire in the belly and steel, when we play a heavily favored UK for the NC the first week of April and upset them. :-)

KSU will have learned that Spradling cannot get a shot off against Elijah/Travis/TT straight up, from last game's 0'fer outing, so they will have schemed a number of scrape off plays to get him his looks this time. The kid can shoot and change a game doing it, if he gets some daylight. We must keep him on a short leash.

And with TT starting his inevitable trey slump (everyone has one in a season) and Conner on-again-off-again, we need Elijah to have a 6-7 night tonight from trey. He's do for a net scorcher. Tonight would be a great night for it.

The most interesting thing will be to see if Jeff can get a 15/10 game tonight, when the muscle starts being applied. After two big games, this is a natural for a let down for Jeff and the muscle could easily amplify his let down. If he can 15/10 in a low scoring slugfest, even 10/10, then we will know he will have matured as a D1 big.

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jaybate 2 years, 6 months ago

"Eight Ways of Looking at the Octogon of Rheum"

  1. Heated by burning cow chips still in cows.

  2. Alumni-architect got paid by the corner, couldn't count past 8.

  3. Court made of shellaced sheep femurs.

  4. Converted experimental barn with roof made of glue-laminated steer dinguses.

  5. Reputed by some to be a Masonic symbol for incompetence.

  6. Originally designed as a crypt for unsuccessful KSU coaches, but not big enough.

  7. Surfaced with sodium, it is considered the world's largest salt lick and meets the needs of more than half of all KSU co-eds each day.

  8. Most efficient form language for losing to KU in.

Rock Chalk!

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Redlandsjhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

  1. Originally planned as a corn crib or silo but misprint on blueprint resulted in it being built too big, decided to play games in it.
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brooksmd 2 years, 6 months ago

  1. Surfaced with sodium, it is considered the world's largest salt lick and meets the needs of more than half of all KSU co-eds each day. ----- Heard alot of mooo's out of Manhattan after they read that one.
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Tony Bandle 2 years, 6 months ago

How about some old favorites:

1] The Octogonna Lose To Kansas Again. 2] The Octogon of Dumb 3] The Octogon of Dung 4] The Lose-a-gon to KU-a-gon 5] The Eight is Not Enough-A-Gon 6] The Purple Pit of Pained Pussycats 7] That Eight-Sided Freak 8] The Beat Kansas Once-In-A-Blue-Moon-Agon 9] The Quandrangle Times Two

C'mon, everyone...join the fun.......and it's educational as well!!!

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Mike Kendall 2 years, 6 months ago

I kinda like the "Eight-sided Freak!"

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JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 6 months ago

Octagon = 5 KSU players + 3 Refs.

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theend 2 years, 6 months ago

Hopefully.....Jaybate will spend less time out to dinner on a game night and more time on the computer . He went out to dinner instead of watching the KU-Baylor game!!!

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 6 months ago

Went to dinner at 3:00 pm !!??...what are you, JB, 85 or something ??!! :)

Where was it because it must have been good. [No fair if it involved a child's birthday, a wife thing or something else innocent like that].

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theend 2 years, 6 months ago

No it was the Baylor game......which started at 6:00. He got back when KU was up 20. I have not forgiven him for missing it yet.

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Nick Cole 2 years, 6 months ago

KU and Baylor did not play at 3:00 pm...

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jaybate 2 years, 6 months ago

Hrrrrmph!!!

This from an architect who came whining to us about a little thing like a near death experience.

Get down and give your sergeant 20 on the finger tips!!!!

:-)

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gchawk 2 years, 6 months ago

"I didn't get a hrrrumph from that guy"!!!

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jaybate 2 years, 6 months ago

theend,

I hope to be in the thick of it. This is stinking Agricultural U after all!!!!

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kesmithstl1 2 years, 6 months ago

what's the over/under on # of Spradling flops tonight? I say 4.

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jaybate 2 years, 6 months ago

He's going for what is known in betting as a KSU double double: double digit turnovers and double digit flops.

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jaybate 2 years, 6 months ago

Almost forgot. Betters call a KSU triple double a player getting double digit misses one FGAs, plus double digit TOs, plus double digit flops.

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jaybate 2 years, 6 months ago

"Monday Preparing for Assault and Bodying with Frank Martin's Wildcats, or Credit Where Credit Is Due"

Frank Martin has proven to be a good coach and a good person. I have never seen a coach re-make his demeanor in the limelight before and seemingly succeed. He deserves the utmost respect for making this change and he is a credit to KSU, to the state of Kansas, and to Cubanos the world over. I only mention his heritage, because the Cuban-Americans I have met are rightfully proud of their heritage both as Americans and as immigrants from Cuba and I figure it would be perceived as a currency of respect he might appreciate. Frank Martin is demonstrating men's ability to focus and direct and appropriately use the competitive fury that runs deep in all of us with the male chromosomes. If Bob Knight had had half the commitment of Frank Martin, Bob Knight would still be coaching and winning and helping young men, and Coach Consonants, cheap shotting and all, would still be far behind in second place on the all-time winner list among coaches. Knight would still be a Indiana, where he belonged, and where college basketball needed him to be. Knight would still be conducting basketball clinics each game that all coaches would be instantly studying to see the next brilliant thing that Bob Knight demonstrated. But Bob Knight decided it was better to thumb his nose at Puerto Rico, at Indiana, and at Indiana's fans, and go to Texas Tech and rebuild, rather than remodel his game and practice behavior, and perhaps his campus behavior. I saw some evidence that Knight worked on his demons down at Tech, but then when push came to shove, he took a powder on yet another school in an effort to propel his son into a head coaching job that was to doom his son, as it had him. Pat Knight appeared a good guy and a principled coach with his emotions in check. Certainly Bob Knight must have been a good father in many respects to produce such a son. But the sins of the father do sometimes visit the sons. And so Pat Knight got his head coaching shot, not at a school that asked for him, or that took a chance on him, but on a school that wanted his father and were but forced to take Pat. So: when things got rough for Pat, the school was not deeply invested in him and dumped him. There is little doubt in my mind that Pat Knight's problems in coaching sprang from his willingness to ride his father's coat tails and his father's unwillingness to remodel himself. Emergent complexity in life, as in basketball games, is real. What we do now sends eddies swirling down stream that affect others in the future. This is why it is imperative for each of us to get better, especially to remodel that which is glaringly inadequate in us.

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packywacky88 2 years, 6 months ago

I always wonder when JB's meds kick-in. Oh....right here I guess.

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jaybate 2 years, 6 months ago

packywacky,

Is there a medication that can give me the illusion that you do not post? :-)

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jaybate 2 years, 6 months ago

Frank Martin, on the other hand, the man with the reputedly dubious past in high school and then the disciple of practically a self-proclaimed Prince of Basketball Darkness, Bob Huggins, and assisted by Dalonte--a fellow reputed to attract talent in inexplicable ways, kept bringing the talent in after Huggo-Muggo made a motion play to his alma mater--WVU--and Frank got the KSU job. And when given the then surprising and somewhat tenuous chance to be KSU's head coach, Coach Martin started by living up to almost everyone's worst expectations, as he became a holy terror court side and treated his early teams with the kind of psychological and physical disrespect Knight had been famous for, and which our own Coach Bill Self at times skirts the edges of the acceptable regarding. And several of Martin's top recruits left him in succeeding years.

But something happened to Coach Martin. There was an incident --the specifics of which I cannot now recall--that got him called on the carpet apparently by the man that hired him--that gave him his shot as a head coach--that put his faith and trust in Frank Martin. And Frank Martin appeared to turn all of that competitive fury that he had been unleashing on his players to try to make them get better...he directed it on himself to get better at being a leader of young men and not just there motivator. Real leadership is harder by far than simple motivation. It means dealing with harsh truths and human limitations respectfully, rather than simple wake clearing and back of the hand good byes. It means enduring the hatred of those you are trying to help, while they work through blaming you instead of themselves. It means compelling human beings to do what they are capable of and not asking them the impossible even when it is sorely needed. It means finding roles for every coach and player on the team and insisting they constantly get better, because they are on "your team," even when you wonder if they ever will. It means not taking blame for failures sometimes, even when it is your fault, in hopes of driving the team to get better. It is using everything that happens, not just the good stuff, to get better as a team. It is driving yourself to get better, someway, somehow, so those following you know that this is not a one way street. It is calling a spade a spade, no matter how much it hurts, without closing the door on getting better. Like an artists pursuit of beauty, a coaches pursuit of getting better walks a razor's edge and knows no end. The master is forever the pupil, though he must be the master, too. This is the great metaphor of coaching. A wizard is only one who can remain both the longest.

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jaybate 2 years, 6 months ago

But wizards don't start out wizards. They serve apprenticeships all along the way. And eventually, they become their own apprentices briefly.

Year by year since, the observable evidence indicates that Frank Martin is winning the biggest competition of his life--the competition to an angry man to retain his humanity in the face of the ferocity of competitive survival. If anyone has ever had any contact with, or been, a yeller, or a hitter, or an intimidator, in a cooperative situation, like a parent, a spouse, a business partner, a boss, a coach, a teammate, anyone that you have to open up to and trust to become the best you can be, they know: a) how much unnecessary misery and suffering these types can inflict; and b) how they almost never change. That Frank Martin has changed as much as he has is nothing short of a small miracle. Frank Martin appears to be taking the ultimate chance on a hero's quest. He is trying to become not just a winner, but the very best human being he can become, whatever his flaws. Shizz! This man has to succeed. Not tonight maybe. But everyone who has ever been pushed around, anyone who has ever been abused, anyone who has ever pushed people around, anyone who has ever abused people, they/we all need Frank Martin to succeed.

The world is full of Bob Knights. Every sport is full of coaches that abused their players to high levels of accomplishment, while making them love them masochistically in the process. The world is full of Frank Martin's before Martin committed to the change that seems to be in process. But it is the guys like Frank Martin that make change everyone believes is impossible to make that cause everyone they touch personally, and virtually, to look at themselves in the mirrors and say, if he can do it, then either I must (not I can), or I am lower than low.

I am now convinced that part of a great coach's hero quest, or quest of self actualization, if you prefer something less Joseph Campbell-esque, is to meet up with his own demons of competitive fury, the demons that have driven him to the point of excellence he has achieved, and then to take the greatest leap of faith imaginable, to let go of the destructive part of those demons, to extinguish the killer, to walk the fine line that is the razor's edge of all cooperative leadership in competitive environments, to face a kill-or-be-killed world as one giant game, in which the goal is to be the best one can be, and to dare to make all others--teammates and opponents--the best they can be--and to win the only championship that really matters--the championship of winning it all in a world you helped make better for everyone by the way you competed in it.

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jaybate 2 years, 6 months ago

This is not a utopian vision I am talking about here. There are still winners and losers. There are still playing and coaching careers that get crushed. There are still moments of unsportsmanlike conduct, of bending rules that should not have been bent. Of human error. But what happens when men like Frank Martin take the ultimate risk--the risk of their own competitive advantage gained through unrestrained fury--is that the whole of basketball, and life related to it, gets a little better. And it occurs, whether they win, or lose.

And were Frank Martin ever to get fired by KSU for taking the steps he has taken and for whatever reason not achieve the necessary W&L statement, I for one would love to have him join Coach Self's staff.

Rock Chalk, Frank Martin, Rock Chalk!

I want you and your team at your best tonight.

And I want Coach Self and his team at their best tonight.

And I want everyone that watches to see how much better things can be in college basketball with everyone competing at their best.

I hate losing as much as anyone and hate losing to KSU about as much as to anyone.

But where as I would have taken it as disgrace to lose to the Frank Martin only a few years back, it would now be a bitter privilege and a painful honor to do so. He's come that far, at least he appears to have. Yeah, the street fighter in him will come out, if KU gets down. He will have his players stomp on us and finish us off. But it appears at long last that Frank Martin has joined the good guys not by joining them--the real good guys are not a group with invitations--but by remaking himself into one.

And I can't say that about a lot of coaches in America. Or persons. But there seem to be more and more. And so my hope for America resuming leadership of the world, rather than just being its strategy monger, remains steadfast.

P.S.: I know that Coach Martin could have a back slide tonight, or at any moment, just as anyone could working at remodeling himself, but I believe Coach Martin would try to set it right, if he did. No one is perfect. But Coach Martin has proven to me that a man can deal with his anger and furies and lose nothing off his fast ball.

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Eliott Reeder 2 years, 6 months ago

I, too, have enjoyed watching the development of Frank Martin as a coach. I've gone from dismissing him as 'Frank Martinstein' or 'Crazy Frank' and so forth to actually admiring his candid humor, passionate coaching, and oftentimes hilariously self-deprecating post-game commentary. Just wanted to point out one thing: I believe if one were to look back, Coach Martin's "transformation" from rage-aholic psychopath to his current more mellow demeanor probably coincided temporally with the firing of Mark Mangino and Mike Leach. It was a wake-up call for hard-ass coaches everywhere to temper their tantrums and tone it down a bit, at least in the public eye. It has done wonders for Coach Martin's image and probably improved his ability to connect with his players ten-fold. Either way, he has certainly evolved from a laughing-stock package-deal hire into a pretty good coach...

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jhawkrulz 2 years, 6 months ago

It could have been, when Miami was looking for a coach and he all but said I will go there for Free and they didn't want him. In addition, KSU didn't offer him an extension or a raise in order to keep him from going.

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 6 months ago

Attended the OSU game Saturday..just a totally joyful pilgrimage back to Allen Fieldhouse. Some impressions:

1] Amazed at how many of the '52 team were still alive and mobile. I guess winning a NC helps longevity. 2] The 1952 "no name on the back " jerseys rocked!! 3] The 1952 cheerleader skirts to the floor didn't!! 4] Keiton Page, the tiny OSU guard is the spitting image of Wormtail from Harry Potter. 5] It was hilarious to sit with a bunch of Jayhawk fans who had no idea what that bright light reflecting on the court was.....try the sun!!!!! 6] Perry Ellis was there with his Mom, Dad and two younger brothers.....start recruiting now HCBS. 7] From 3 minutes left in the first half to about 8 minutes into the second half, it looked like Kansas was playing The Little Sisters of the Poor. 8] For the rest of the second half, it looked like The Little Sisters got their revenge!! 9] Current post graduation Kansas viewing in person record in 28 - 4 [with 2 of those in St.Louis]

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 6 months ago

PS ....2 of the 4 losses, that is.

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packywacky88 2 years, 6 months ago

Maybe it is my age, but the throwback cheerleader outfits "worked" for me.

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jaybate 2 years, 6 months ago

Oak,

I think we need PVJhawk to comment authoritatively on the 52 Cheerleader outfits fashion merits.

If the bodices were fitted with a proper Jayhawk logo and the skirts were worn with nylons with a back seam and stilettos they might just be paradoxical enough to work for me.

:-)

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 6 months ago

Make the skirts transparent and you get a +1,000,000,000,000

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PVJayhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

I can't be very authoritative about 1952 cheerleader outfits, but I thought they were charming and should be used more in the future!

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JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 6 months ago

I disagree on the cheerleaders uniforms. I forgot how nice things left to the "imagination" can be...

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brooksmd 2 years, 6 months ago

You mean he has won a national championship, 7 consecutive conference championships, runs a team that currently has the most consecutive trips to the dance and has won the most games in the dance in the last 10 years and did it without those several good players he's missed out on these last few years? Wow, hard to believe, huh?

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jhawkrulz 2 years, 6 months ago

Don't forget in the past 5 years he is averaging 35 wins per season...but those are simantics.

Winning more than any college coach in the game over the past 5 years.

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archercc 2 years, 6 months ago

Tell me about it. In the running for another conference championship, top 5 ranking and playing their way into a one seed? These down years are really killing me. If only Bill Self was a better coach we could consistently be on the tongues of ESPN commentators.

Wait, what? I stroked out there for a second.

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Alohahawk 2 years, 6 months ago

It's been a long, long time since I graduated from KU, too. Perhaps we bumped into each other while attending a game in the Phog.

And perhaps you already know, in Hawaii "Dodo" is what the locals call s***. So perhaps the Jayhawks should dump some dodo on KSU today? :-)

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Jason Keller 2 years, 6 months ago

Is anyone else really nervous for this game? We just played 2 days ago and KSU will undoubtedly play their best game of the year. Yes, we are clearly better than KSU this year but as said by Bill Self "we get average real quick". I'm hoping the guys will remember what happened last year when KSU knocked us off #1 and come out amped.

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brooksmd 2 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, alittle. New rankings and going against a team that has failed to live up to it's pre-season hype with nothing to lose in their house. Could be a recipe. But then look what we did at Baylor. If that KU team shows up in Manhattan, this will be a snoozer.

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dtdjayhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

What are you implying? That we are automatically going to lose, if so, get out of here with that kind of thinking.

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Micah Mandy Haase 2 years, 6 months ago

I had to watch the OSU game from a hotel in my own town because my daughter wanted a "pool party" for her birthday. Nothing like twelve fourteen year olds running around a hotel.

I did manage to get in some of the game though. I wont miss any of it tonight!

RCjHKU

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mnhawk13 2 years, 6 months ago

TRAP GAME!!! We need to take care of these types of wins so the Mizzou game is exactly what it should be, for the conference title.

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theend 2 years, 6 months ago

Naw.....I wouldn't call a huge rival game a trap game.......KSU is not so good this year but they will play at their best tonight. It's going to be tough on KU. I hope we win....but it will not be easy.

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theend 2 years, 6 months ago

Well.....for all of you that follow the "Live Discussion" during the game......here's a preview of comments:

If KU is winning: "You're awesome!", "I love these guys!", Nobody beats KU!", "You Rock!"

If KU is losing: "They suck!", "No talent this year!", "Pathetic!", "Horrible D!", "I'm done with them!"

Easy prediction.......happens every time.

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brooksmd 2 years, 6 months ago

You forgot the one that blames HCBS for not being a better recruiter and failing to get all those 5 star kids.

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SuperCorona 2 years, 6 months ago

"Spradling — he’ll start in the backcourt for KSU (17-7, 6-6 Big 12) in today’s 8 p.m. Sunflower Showdown versus KU (20-5, 10-2) in Bramlage Coliseum — last season became the first Wildcat true freshman to play in all games since Jacob Pullen and Michael Beasley in 2007-08."

Probably because all the rest of them transferred out.

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Mike Kendall 2 years, 6 months ago

Here kitty, kitty---want to play some basketball???????????

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jaybate 2 years, 6 months ago

Think what Self could do with some talent. :-)

Seriously, our first five matches up better than everyone in the country, except UK.

And UK only has one edge--Kidd-Gilchrist. And I don't know how we will get around him with Travis on a bum wheel.

But somehow we will. The difficult comes easy. The impossible takes a little longer.

This is a campaign of destiny out in the hinterlands by a group of men no one believed in.

While the klieg lights and glamorous battles continue in the big media markets in the east, while schmoozing broadcasters keep all eyes on the Kentuckys and Syracuses and hype the Cinderalla that is Missouri, the leathernecks in crimson and blue slog on through The Canal that is this season; their only chance as a group to make their mark on The Legacy--the lasting mark that no one thought they could make.

These leathernecks keep fighting battles, sometimes experiencing bitter disappointment, but always relentlessly pushing forward to the next battle, the next ambush, the next scheme hatched especially to stop not so much this team, but "Kansas." And these players feel the doubt, the disrespect, questioning of their skills, their talent, their experience, their hearts.

Each game they are rising above the last injury, struggling through the next injury, stubbornly, relentlessly pursuing "the eighth title" that no one back east thought plausible, that many at home said was improbable.

Onward they march.

Driven by the taunts of a coach saying they are not as good as last year's team.

Onward they march.

Disrespected and given up for dead by media and fans each time they falter.

Onward they march.

Without enough effective reserves.

Onward they march.

Substituting deception for enough numbers.

Onward they march.

Leaping out early here, sand bagging till the last ten minutes there.

Onward they march.

Self keeps squeezing KY and Justin forward little bits, when his starters get some separation against lesser teams.

Onward they march.

They keep running our stuff, keep probing for weakness against those with superior numbers.

Onward they march.

And now Tyshawn enters his shooting slump for the next two weeks and so others must come forward, others who most do not believe in, others who must find a way to "get it done, no matter how," or the dream will die.

Onward they march.

Conner is going to doggedly fight to keep faster players from breaking him down.

Naadir must find the handle for 5 mpg, or the dream will die.

Onward they march.

This rag tag bunch that believed in themselves when no one else did, no know how far belief and work and competitive fury can take you, but they know it is not yet far enough.

Onward they march.

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jaybate 2 years, 6 months ago

This bunch of leathernecks want to be remembered as something other than Self's thinnest team, Self's least talented team. They want to be remembered for being the five exceptional players and the three marginal back-ups that wanted it more than any other team Self has ever blown a whistle at. They want to be respected for who and what they are, not noted for who and what they are not. They want to walk off the floor the last time this season and be known as the team that wanted it worse on defense than any Self team ever. This is what they can be. This is what they have become.

Elijah Johnson has made no bones about it. He isn't satisfied by scoring. He isn't satisfied by playing good defense. He wants to stop all scoring, to deny all passes to his man. He wants to strangle the offense out of every team KU plays.

They want to be remembered as Self's only team that ever learned to play it anyway they want in one season, while the starters played 35mpg. They want to be remembered as one of KU's great teams, not as one of its lessors, one of its fillers.

I believe they are going to succeed.

They have been on The Canal longer than any Self team.

They are not done with with the fierce battles yet.

There will be more during this month of February.

Their Battle of the Tenaru and the Battle of Edson's Ridge is coming. They are coming this month.

Edson's ridge could be tonight against KSU.

Their Tenaru could be MU, or it could be Texas.

But both are coming.

This young team is now battle hardened, mean, and blooded.

But it is thin and undersupplied in places and their enemies know where and how now.

This team has faced long cats and cheap shotters, it has faced Princeton and the dribble drive offense, it has faced four guard offenses, hi-los, mans and zones and XTReme muscle. It has faced teams better than it, as good and worse. It has faced rivalries and nameless opponents. It has played transition and grind it out.

It has won big and won barely. It has lost big and lost barely. It has won on cold nights and lost on cold nights. It knows what it takes to win, when everything is going against it, but it has not yet proven it can do it when the stakes are all in.

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jaybate 2 years, 6 months ago

And now tonight it is going into the toughest road game it has had--a rival fighting for its life in February, a muscle team known to take no prisoners at home, and an XTReme crowd.

Edson's Ridge could easily come tonight.

But even if it doesn't, it is coming soon.

And then the Tenaru--the battle to finally tip the balance irrevocably--the game to get this team off The Canal once and for all.

It might even come in the Conference tournament, but its coming.

And when these guys finally get off The Canal, and when these guys have finally prevailed and held the line against a KU collapse in Self's thinnest year ever at Kansas, people are going to look at these guys and say they had the right stuff, they survived, they did anything it took.

But now, shortly before game time, 20:34 CST on 13 Feb 2012, in the Octogon, everything they have worked for, everything they have fought for, every humiliation they have endured, every obstacle they have overcome, every ounce of getting better they have done, and the admittedly already heroic fete of turning themselves into a feared fighting force with a Number 4 ranking, a fighting force capable of taking on enemies anyway they want, hangs yet again in the balance.

Tonight is going to be one long slog through hostile ground with an enemy looking for a break out battle.

The road off The Canal leads squarely through Manhattan tonight.

There are no reinforcements.

These players are it.

Rock Chalk!

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Mike Bratisax 2 years, 6 months ago

Last year, I kept asking why is Morningstar starting over a 5 star Soph. guard.. Apparently, as usual HCBS knew what he was doing,. EJ has no friggen clue what he is doing. Probably to late to bring in Tharpe but next year its time to develop a Fr. guard who understands what he is expected to do. You hate having a four year 5 star guard on the bench but a bust is a bust. If Ben could have played this year, I wonder who would have made the starting 5..

One final though..if Tyshawn could make pressure FTS.. he would have made the top 20 list

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