OK, so this isn’t a typical “Post-mortem.” In fact, it has nothing to do with the Wisconsin game; I love what Bo Ryan extracts from his players, though. This “essay” is more about the immediate future of the program, and it was written off the top of my head, after listening to some concerned fans and reading what some critics have to say…
In any relationship, there has to be trust.
Do you trust Frank Martin?
This, to me, is the key to the future of Kansas State basketball. Do you like what Martin has done to your program? If so, do you think he can continue to do good? And if you dislike what’s he done, what must he do to gain your confidence — or is it a moot point? In other words, have you already decided he’s a lost cause?
These are only some of the questions, just as there would be with any first-year coach.
Full disclosure — I believe in Frank Martin.
I’m not a K-State fan — and before there is any outrage, I’ve never been a fan of any team I cover (although my parents are, which is weird, but I digress), although it makes for a better story if said team wins a whole lot — but I’m a Frank Martin fan. That does not cloud how I go about my business, just as it wouldn’t if I weren’t a Frank Martin fan.
K-State won 21 games, reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1988 and ended a 24-year home drought to Kansas — the latter being two specific goals Martin announced during “Madness in Manhattan.”
OK, so the trophies he talked about winning didn’t happen.
What people have to reconcile is their expectations. Some believe having the nation’s best player and another star freshman riding shotgun should have yielded more victories and a longer post-season run. The comparison is tired, but bear with me — the same complaints were lobbed at Texas coach Rick Barnes last year after the Kevin Durant and D.J. Augustin-led Longhorns won 25 games and lost in the sec-ond round of the NCAA Tournament to USC.
And Barnes is supposed to be one of the better coaches in the Big 12, a veteran coach with more than 20 years of experience.
Some perspective is needed. While Michael Beasley and Bill Walker haven’t officially decided they’re entering the NBA Draft, Martin isn’t naive, which means he realizes how the Wildcats played this season — working through Beasley and Walker, who are, after all, two future pros — can’t be how the Wildcats will play next year, and even the year after, and so on.
Asking this staff to continue to recruit the type of talent that touched down in Manhattan this year is ludicrous; there’s only one Michael Beasley, folks. It’s not going to happen, although that won’t stop Martin and Co. from trying.
Do you trust that the man has a plan? Or do you really think K-State is going to struggle to score 30 points a game — which is about all that remains from this year’s team if “Batman and Robin,” as Jacob Pullen calls Beasley and Walker, forgo their final three seasons.
Last time I checked, I didn’t think the 2006-07 squad was an offensive juggernaut, but Bob Huggins coaxed 22 wins out of that team. I remember scoring being a distinct struggle virtually every night, but I also remember balanced scoring going a long way — and not to mention a stubborn defense.
Good coaches manufacture ways to win games, and I believe Martin is a good coach.
But this isn’t about me.
Again, do you trust Frank Martin?