I was cleaning out my e-mail today when I stumbled across messages the contributors to this blog exchanged on this very date two years ago.
On Jan. 22, 2009, K-State was 0-4 in conference play and preparing to visit Boulder, Colo. Our season looked bleak.
We did a roundtable that week and some of the questions centered on the team, Frank's coaching job that season and other related topics.
I've posted some interesting selections from those e-mails after the jump, without comment — I think they speak for themselves.
I don't know what it all means, but it's eerie how similar many of the complaints were.
Almost like time travel...
(P.S. It's worth noting that two weeks after we wrote this stuff, K-State had won four games in a row, including road upsets at Texas and Texas A&M, its two best regular-season wins of the season. Just saying.)
What I think we need to see the rest of the season would probably take up too much space, so I'll keep it to the most vital items. First, we need to see our guards play smart and look to open up the offense. Pullen can be a good scorer, and Clemente can penetrate, but they just force it too damn much to be effective. Neither of them looks to set anyone else up for a score, it looks to be too much a "me first" mentality. Second, I just want to see some rhythm on offense. We have no creativity on offense, and it looks like there are no plays to get anyone an open shot. Maybe I'm completely missing it, but most of our problems lie on that end. Third, our guys need to regain some of that confidence they had when they played Kentucky and Iowa. There is a defeatist mentality that seems to permeate through everyone on the court, and that needs to change.
At some point, we need to see the players, all of them, buy into what we're trying to do. Jake Pullen clearly still thinks he is above the system, despite all evidence to the contrary. Denis Clemente played pretty well against Baylor, but he also seems to think he can freelance and chuck from deep whenever the mood strikes him. We need to get everybody on the same page, pick up a few wins, and get a little momentum for next year.
It has to be partly Frank, but no way in hell is he telling Jake and Denis to turn the ball over and take bad shots, or telling Darren Kent to lob passes to nobody in particular, or any of the hundreds of other things that ail us right now. For some reason or other, he's not getting through to these guys right now. Maybe it's because he screams all the time and the players have just tuned him out. Maybe it's because our players are too hard-headed to realize that it's their inability to play together as a team that's caused this 0-4 start. Who knows? The last 25 minutes of the Baylor game was encouraging to me, because it looked like Frank told them that anybody who chucked a three after two passes would have his nuts in a vice before midnight. Once we started penetrating and getting shots in the lane -- surprise! -- we scored some points. Let's hope the players learn a lot from watching the game film.
How about some wins? How about our guards dishing out assists? How about not letting anyone shoot the ball from three point land unless they are wide the f' open? How about giving the ball to Dom more often? How about covering the guy who goes 9-12 from beyond the arc?
ksubailey (a former contributor, not to be confused with K. Scott Bailey):
I totally agree with you about Jake, TB. Jake is going to be the determining factor the rest of the season. When he does what he's supposed to do, and capable of - we're not that bad. He's got to be a leader, and lately he's more interested in being a supporting cast member. I really thought it looked like Denny was making an effort to put the team on his back in the second half night. Yes, I wasn't impressed with his shot selection early on, he did eventually settle down and seemed to be one of the only people out there trying to establish anything resembling a rhythm.
I think it's really nice of Frank to take the rap for that performance, but I don't love Frank for his kind and generous spirit. Our players know what's expected of them, and that's not 140 turnovers in the first half. It's everyone's fault. Jake, Denny, DK, and you know - pretty much everyone we rely on to win, played like crap.
I really miss Frank being honest on the radio after the game and just calling people out for playing like crap. I don't think he's been mean enough lately. Call me crazy, but I think he's gone a little soft.
No. I think we all have had our expectations completely shot, so as I said before, just approach the season like Bill Snyder would; just focus on getting better every day. Focus more on the teaching of fundamentals, and less on preparation for the upcoming opponent.
Both. You can't say that Frank is without blame; he's the head coach. I just think that everything is broken right now. The guards are seriously under-performing, the inside players are just getting dominated, and no combination that Frank throws on the floor is working. Turnovers are rampant, the offense has gone stagnant, and I think everyone, from the coaches to the players, are just kind of baffled as to what's going on.
Ultimately, Frank isn't a miracle worker. I think he's a good coach (and a great recruiter), who is beginning to realize that he just doesn't have the tools right now to be successful. You can't paint the Mona Lisa with bunch of crayons, and Frank can't win with guards that can't shoot and interior players that can't finish a layup.
I'm writing this season off as the transition season that never was. In Huggins' year here, he had some senior leadership in Martin, Harris, and Wright. He also had a pretty good player in Hoskins, and a point guard who had started for two years prior to his arrival. They most certainly weren't an overly talented bunch, but they were experienced, and they played with a lot of heart. Last year, a lot of the youth was masked by the sheer awesomeness of Beasley and Walker. Having them around made everyone better. Now that they're gone, Clent's gone, Blake Young is gone, etc., you have five new starters, and your best players are all freshmen and sophomores. While this current group was a pretty highly ranked recruiting class, they weren't the NBA ready players at the level of Beasley and Walker. They were more raw and/or less talented, so the learning curve it takes to play ball at this level is higher, and they simply won't accelerate through that curve like the dynamic duo did.
Okay, that was longer than I thought it would be. Long story short, Frank's not a horrible coach, but at this juncture, this current group is probably causing him more problems (on the court) than he's probably capable of dealing with. He's proven that he can coach toe to toe when he actually goes to battle with a loaded weapon. Ask Tim Floyd.