Walking off the court at Bramlage Coliseum following Thursday practice, Kansas State freshman Jacob Pullen playfully wagged his head. "Man," the exasperated point guard said, "practices are definitely longer at the Division I level." Already, Pullen has garnered his share of focus for the Wildcats but the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder sat down with GoPowercat.com's D. Scott Fritchen to focus on his game, his favorite advice and a surprise treat he hopes to give fans this season.
D. Scott Fritchen: Months after signing to play at Kansas State, you came to Bramlage Coliseum to observe the atmosphere during the K-State/Kansas game on Big Monday. With the Big 12 around the corner, how excited do you get in knowing you'll be the focus of some of those cheers during big-time games in the next several months?
Jacob Pullen: I'm really excited, man. I was already excited from day one coming here. Even when we played Fort Hays State the crowd here showed us a lot of love. I'm excited because I know they're going to be even more anxious during Big 12 play because it's so important.
DSF: Your high school coach, David Chatman at Proviso East, coached some great talent beside yourself in Dee Brown (Galatasaray, Turkey), Shannon Brown (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Brian Carlwell (sophomore at Illinois) in previous years. How much do you look up to those guys and how they play the game?
JP: When I was in high school I used to always watch Dee and Shannon -- Illinois versus Michigan State -- and they used to always come home over the summer and talk to me about, 'Man, it's just about your work ethic. Sometimes talent can get you so far, but it's about your work ethic at the next level.' That really did help me because when they would be in the gym over the summer, I'd be working out with them, playing 94 feet with them, so they actually got me better, especially with how fast Dee was.
DSF: How often do you talk to Coach Chatman? What's the top thing he has told you through this season?
JP: I talked to him three days ago. They took a loss to a bad team in conference. He used to tell me in high school, 'Right now, you can get away with things that you won't be able to get away with in college.' I really didn't understand it until I got here this summer. In high school, I used to skip out on the weight room and just shoot. Now I'm realizing how physical the game is. It's about lifting weights and doing all of the extra stuff you need to be doing instead of just basketball. There's a lot more to the game now instead of just basketball.
DSF: Coach Chatman called you "probably one of the smartest guys I've coached," but you've found the Division I level involves a step-up in basketball IQ. What is the biggest thing you've learned so far?
JP: More so just playing against good guards. Playing against guards, if I look in your eyes and see the pass or play you're about to make, I try to cheat it. Now, guards can read other guards and read, 'Oh, he's going to cheat me,' and he'll make another move. In high school, I could read you and step-up, steal it and get two points. Now it's just about playing everybody honest. There are so many good players out there, you can't just cheat to one person's side or something. That's the toughest thing I've embarked upon, just stopping the cheating and gambling so much.
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