March 6, 2008

GoPowercat Q&A: Jacob Pullen

At the season's onset, freshman Jacob Pullen thought his coach was out to get him, and it's not hard to see why. First-year Kansas State coach Frank Martin can often be seen cracking the verbal whip on his young point guard during both games and practices, almost singling out the 18-year old for his shortcomings. Pullen has since changed his tune, however, as he now sees the motivation behind Martin's almost constant pushing.

Coach Martin seems to get on your case a lot more than some other players. Explain the kind relationship the two of you have?
It's a tough relationship because he expects more from me. At the beginning of the season, I felt like he was picking on me. Now, I just feel like he's making me better. I just try to listen to what he's saying. Even when he is screaming, I'm listening to what he's saying. I just take it in and play off it.

Why do you think he expects so much more out of you?
I'm the point guard. I have to be the person on the court that settles people down. I'm the guy that has to get people the ball. He expects me to be able to run the team without him having to scream. As time goes on, I'm learning how to do that. He's helping me.

What sets him off easiest? Is there anything you do that really gets him fired up?
He hates it when I play casually. He gets mad when I'm not being aggressive and pushing the ball. He hates it when I'm just going through the motions out there, not setting my teammates up. Oh, lazy passes. He hates that. He just wants me to be aggressive on both offense and defense.

Let's say you guys have had a bad first half in a game. How intense is Coach Martin in the halftime locker room?
It's actually pretty quit in there. It's reflection time. He tells us why we had a bad first half. He tells us what happened and how we can correct it. It's different in there. When he comes in at halftime, you know there is going to be negative stuff said, but you also know that there is going to be positive stuff said. He just tells us how to get out of the slump that we're in.

Have you thought about what your role on this team will be next year? I mean, there's a good chance you're going to have to be one of the stars of this team. Do you ever think about that?
I try not to think about that too much. I try to focus on this season. I want to focus on winning games this season. Next year will come next year. We'll have Denis Clemente and other players, so I'm not focused on that at all right now.

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