Whenever a player or coach decides to leave their team, hatred fills the air. From Roy Williams moving to North Carolina to be with his family, to Johnny Damon leaving the Red Sox for the Yankees.
Bob Huggins left Kansas State after just a single season, leaving Frank Martin to fill his void. When this first happened, I thought Kansas State basketball was doomed. How were we supposed to keep all these players Huggins had recruited? How was his assistant coach going to live up to him? I’ll admit it, I hated Bob Huggins for a while. He had just left KSU after a single season, making it appear as though we had little chance of a successful season.
But after five years with the Wildcats, my opinion of Martin has changed completely. I have come to know and appreciate the fact that Martin is able to use his heritage to draw players such as Denis Clemente, Angel Rodriguez and Jordan Henriquez. I have grown to love seeing the famous Martin glare. I have come to love seeing the pitch black billboards along the highway with a picture of Martin’s eyes gazing you down. I have come to love seeing the Wildcat players impersonations of Frank Martin in the huddle.
However, as much I have loved Martin, I have to hate him for leaving. Sure, I understand that he had a falling out with the KSU athletic director John Currie. He wasn’t involved in the process to suspend Jamar Samuels for accepting illegal benefits from his former AAU coach.
Before Martin left, I thought that next season I thought K-State would have one of thier best seasons in recent history. They were only losing a single scholarship player, Jamar Samuels, and he wasn’t even eligible to play in their final game. They were also gaining multiple 7 foot tall centers to help add to Jordan Henriquez’s height.
Now, after Martin’s departure it looks as though next season could be a flop. Not only is Martin leaving, he is taking players with him. Just a few days after Martin announced that he was leaving, the Wildcats number one recruit revoked his verbal commitment, instead deciding that he would re-open his signing. Rumors are circulating about Angel Rodriguez following Martin to South Carolina and Will Spradling transferring.
Along with the possibility of the Wildcats losing multiple highly rated recruits along with front-court staples, they hired a coach that many players including former star Jacob Pullen don’t think of as right for the job. This coach was former Illinois head coach Bruce Webber. Webber has lead Illinois to a top three finish in the Big Ten just once in his last four years.
Now, all I can do is hope that Currie did his job and Webber is a good coach. Hope that Martin’s recruits don’t all transfer and decide to stay. All I can do is hope for the best.