March 20, 2011
Wichita Eagle beat writer Kellis Robinett asked Kansas State star Jacob Pullen, the Wildcats leader and best player, about his emotions after the loss. Pullen started to answer and began to choke up. Martin took exception to Robinett "making" Pullen cry and let him know about it in front of the national media.
Here's the transcript of the question:
Robinett: Jacob, you, I mean, obviously, do some good things, set the school scoring record and matched your career high in points but you still can't get the win. How do you sum up the emotions that come after that?
Pullen: I don't know. It's tough. You know, I want to win -- (tearing up)
Martin: That is what you wanted to see? That what you were trying to get out of him? Make him cry here in front of people? Good question.
Pullen: I just wanted to win the game. I don't care about a scoring record or anything else, man. I wanted to get to the Final Four and I didn't get a chance to do that.
Pullen's reaction is totally natural. He's a senior. This is his last press conference, his last chance to get to a national championship. No one is making Pullen cry, crying is just part of what is an agonizing way to see a season end.
Did Gonzaga coach Mark Few berate the media after Adam Morrison was peppered with questions about bawling on the court after the Bulldogs' loss to UCLA in 2006? Nope. In fact, that image is probably one of the most striking of the entire tournament because it shows the the thrill of victory juxtaposed with the agony of defeat. It's tough to watch sometimes, but it's part of the game.
Pullen's reaction was totally normal. This is a young man who told media early in the Big 12 Conference season that he had no intention of playing in the NIT and then willed his team into the NCAA tournament in the final month.
So for Martin to interject and make it seem like the question was in some way malicious is ridiculous. The question had to be asked. Pullen is the star player and everyone wants to know how he feels about the game. Martin has a propensity to snap at media when they ask tough questions and while he may have been trying to protect his player, he made the moment more about him than his star senior.
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