February 25, 2008

Martin focusing his attention on Texas

Kansas State looks to avoid its first three-game losing streak against No. 5 Texas in a 8 p.m. matchup Monday at Bramlage Coliseum, but first-year head coach Frank Martin understands the Wildcats will get a tough challenge from point guard D.J. Augustin, who has hurt opponents during the Longhorns' string of seven straight wins. What about the upcoming battle at No. 7 Kansas? Martin wouldn't look ahead during the Big 12 coaches teleconference on Monday.

Question: I wanted to talk about D.J. Augustin while he's fresh on your mind. What kind of player is he and what kind of impact can he have on the game even when he's 4-for-16?
Martin: That's why he's the best point guard in the country. He's a ferocious competitor and guys that play with him just get easy shots after easy shots. That's what he does. That's what really good point guards do. They make the job of the other four guys on the court a little easier. He just doesn't turn the ball over and gets shots. On nights when he's shooting the ball at a very high clip, they're very difficult to beat. I know in my two years watching him play I think he's unbelievable.

Question: Even if you can keep him from getting to the basket, if you foul him it's almost two anyway.
Martin: Absolutely. That's why Texas can go to UCLA and win, why Texas can beat Kansas at home, why Texas can go on the road and win those close games is because of who he is. With the game on the line he's going to get them a shot, he's going to get them a good shot and if for some reason you happen to foul him, it's going in the basket and it's an open-and-shut case.

Question: With some of the problems some of the guards have had in defending people, (have you considered) more zone to protect those guys or are they not suited to do that?
Martin: I don't think we've had problems that nobody else has had. Curtis Jerrells is giving every team in the country a problem. He made some hard, hard shots against us. At Nebraska, yeah, we weren't as good as we wanted to be defensively. Our players knew that, we knew that. We gave up too many uncontested transition baskets. It has nothing to do with our ability or inability to guard the ball on a set defense. Against Baylor, we corrected that and our transition defense was a heck of a lot better. We were able to play very well in the first half defensively and came out in the second half and gave up some 3s and give Baylor credit, they were able to make them and started feeling good and made some hard, hard shots.

Question: How important is tonight for what you have going on the road at Kansas?
Martin: I could (not) care less about the next game. The only thing I care about is tonight's game just like the only thing we cared about was the game at Baylor and then the game at Nebraska. We've lost two in a row. We've got to figure out a way to win because the last thing you want to do is fall into some kind of losing streak at this time of year. We've played well at home all year and I expect for our guys to compete at a high level but Texas is playing as well as anybody in the country, let alone in our conference. It should be a heck of a game. Nothing like playing well and playing at home to try and get good again.

Question: What happened with Dominique Sutton and why did he only play two minutes (at Baylor)?
Martin: Because (Sutton) only practiced for two days and he's coming off a knee injury and I just didn't think he was ready to compete at a high level against one of the best teams in the country offensively.

Question: So he didn't have a relapse (as he comes off an injured knee)?
Martin: No. And Darren Kent practiced yesterday (after not playing at Baylor due to migraines), so I expect him to be in uniform tonight.


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