A Welcome Pressure: K-State As The Hunted
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When he finally finished with his media day responsibilities -- after he was done being swarmed by TV cameras, recorders, and constant questions for over an hour -- Kansas State coach Frank Martin decided to play reporter.
He grabbed a TV news station microphone, turned to Baylor coach Scott Drew and asked Drew the same question he'd been hearing all day: "Tell me, Scott, how will YOUR team deal with the expectations?"
Drew laughed, Martin smiled -- a rare sight for the coach with the most notorious glare in college basketball -- and the assembled reporters chuckled.
It was, after all, a fair parody.
Martin and his charges answered some version of that question countless times throughout Thursday's Big 12 media day, and it's no mystery why. (And no, it's not just because reporters ask the same questions over and over. Though we do.) It's because, thanks to last season's breakout Elite Eight finish and the Big 12 coaches' near-unanimous vote of K-State as the preseason favorite, Martin's program finds itself in an unfamiliar position.For the first time in decades, the Wildcats are the hunters, not the hunted. "All the preseason stuff is great, especially when it comes from the coaches you compete against," Martin said. "That means the people that you have to go beat respect your players and the way they play, where they vote you No. 1. They don't do that because you're a nice guy." Martin, who is as well-known for his sideline death stares as his team's recent success, does actually seem like a nice guy. Here in KC, he spent more time hobnobbing with fellow coaches, reporters and conference officials than any other coach in the building, the image of a social butterfly in deep contrast with his intimidating style.
This Isn't The Spotlight Baylor Was Seeking
As Selby Waits, Kansas Preps Its Plan B
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- At first glance, the 2010-11 Jayhawks -- winners of six consecutive Big 12 titles -- look downright vincible.That perception has a lot to do with the still-uncertain eligibility status of freshman point guard Josh Selby, a game-changing talent ranked in the top three of his class by ESPNU and as the best player in the country by other recruiting services. With a mere three weeks left before the start of the season, Kansas coach Bill Self said he's still no closer to hearing about Selby's eligibility than he was three weeks, or three months, ago. "I wouldn't be surprised if it took another two or three weeks," Self told reporters Thursday. "It could take that long. We just don't know." It's possible, given the NCAA's willingness to take its time with borderline eligibility cases, that Selby's case could stretch well into the start of the 2010-11 season. It's also possible the NCAA could force Selby to serve a suspension, a la Mississippi State forward Renardo Sidney, after his eligibility case is decided. That raises an unusual and interesting prospect for the Jayhawks: the idea of preparing for a new season with two different teams.
Pat Knight: 'Get An Extension Or Get Fired'
Missouri guard Kim English
They Said It
Baylor: "He [can] change the game of big men.
He can dribble, pass, shoot, post up. He has a beautiful touch. People should expect a lot."
-- Forward Quincy Acy on highly touted freshman Perry Jones
Colorado: "The big challenge I have laid at [Alec Burks'] feet since I got there is as long as you are taking good shots, I'm going to let you do what you can offensively.
But defensively, there's a lot of room for improvement in your game and certainly in our team defense as well."
-- Coach Tad Boyle
Iowa State: "We were picked last by every coach in the Big 12. We took notice of that. We put it up on the board. And these guys are going to play with a chip on their shoulder."
-- Coach Fred Hoiberg
Kansas: "I think we'll be an exciting team. We can get up and down, spread the floor and do some things. We have the guys to adjust to new roles."
-- Forward Marcus Morris
Kansas State: "Our fans have been phenomenal. And that's why you've seen the bond that you see between our fans and players. It's been great. And it gets back to what I've said: On the outside, people might have thought we weren't going to be any good or whatever
but internally, our people have believed in us from day one. And that makes it a whole lot of fun."
-- Coach Frank Martin
Missouri: "The difference [this year] is we have so many new weapons. Coach went out on the recruiting trail and got guys that can really help our basketball team."
-- Guard Kim English
Nebraska: "The league in itself is going to be just like it always is, but hopefully we are going to be able to be a big -- maybe a bigger -- part of what happens down the road in January and February."
-- Coach Doc Sadler
Oklahoma: "Every year is full of new lessons. Last year was difficult, but it's the same as always. We're not going to change our philosophy. We're still going to recruit very good players.
And the energy around this year's team is excellent."
-- Coach Jeff Capel
Oklahoma State: "James Anderson camouflaged a lot of our weaknesses as a basketball team. He could go get his own shot, and he could mask some of the problems we had at the point guard spot. & We need some production from that position. We need lower turnovers and more assists."
-- Coach Travis Ford
Texas: "What's past is past. Last year is last year. Our coaches have brought us together and told us that we need to stay together to succeed, and we've been doing that."
-- Guard Jordan Hamilton
Texas A&M: "I think you kind of reset [expectations] every year. Personally, our expectation is to be really good again.
We have built a program that has been really consistent, we've won a lot of games every year, and we expect to do it again this year. We realize there are good teams in our league, but we expect to have another great year."
-- Coach Mark Turgeon
Texas Tech: "It will come down to defense. If we defend, I think we are going to be OK."
-- Coach Pat Knight
Texas forward Tristan Thompson
Big 12 Preview Content
For a Blue Ribbon breakdown of every Big 12 team, click here.
More Big 12 coverage:
• Eamonn Brennan's "Five Things I Can't Wait To See" in the Big 12
Fran Fraschilla's Big 12 breakdown • Brennan's wind sprint preview of the league
• Chris Sprow's five key questions for the conference (Insider)
• Chad Ford's breakdown of the Big 12's top NBA prospects (Insider)
• Former Ohio State player Mark Titus previews the Big 12 from a unique point of view the end of the bench (Insider)
• Profiles of the league's two new head coaches: Tad Boyle (Colorado) and Fred Hoiberg (Iowa State).
• For more Big 12 coverage in the Nation blog, click here.
Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg
Best Of Big 12 Media Day
Best open solicitation for gifts (and/or wins): "I think in most situations when a coach retires, they give him nice gifts. So I would expect to get a nice gift everywhere we go. And if not, then maybe they are just going to give us a win."
-- Nebraska coach Doc Sadler on how the Huskers expect to be received on the road in their final year in the Big 12
Most accurate self-assessment: "I don't know. Probably fun for you to watch."
-- Kansas State coach Frank Martin, on his coaching style
Best outright lie followed by an immediate correction: "Tyrel [Reed] is actually the best dancer on the team. Ha. No, he's not."
-- Kansas guard Mario Little, while sitting next to Kansas guard Tyrel Reed
Best opportunity to say "you're welcome": "Actually, the media has helped me a little bit. The [preseason] magazines that come out have talked about if we do defend, we have a chance to really move up in this league. That helped because [my players] get tired of me saying it.
So for once I can say -- and you never heard this, and probably never thought you would hear this coming from a Knight -- but the media has actually helped me in my coaching this year."
-- Texas Tech coach Pat Knight on getting his players to buy in to playing defense
Best conference realignment humor: "It is great to be here as one of the rookie coaches in the Big 12. I have always wanted to be a one-and-done guy, and this year I think we are going to be."
-- Colorado coach Tad Boyle, who will be here all week
Best enough-said: "Be up."
-- Kansas coach Bill Self on what he expects from "up-and-down" Tyshawn Taylor
Baylor forward Quincy Acy
Brennan's Big 12 Wind Sprint