Martin embraces passionate fans
It appears former Kansas State coach Frank Martin, who left for South Carolina after last season, is quite happy with what he’s seen from his new school so far.
“Here is the deal, good players want to play for schools where their fans care,” Martin told reporters at SEC basketball media day in Hoover, Ala. “When you go to a football game and there is 85,000 people in your stands, and you go to baseball and there is 9,000 people, and you go to volleyball games and it is standing-room only, it is pretty clear and evident that the people at South Carolina care. They don’t just care for a sport. They care for their school.”
Martin, however, added that the passion is similar to the kind he saw at Kansas State.
“I think I said it the day I got hired; I like challenges,” said Martin, who takes over a team that finished 10-21 overall last season, 2-14 in the SEC.
Love for Pressey
Few people know Missouri point guard Phil Pressey, the preseason SEC player of the year, better than Arkansas coach Mike Anderson, who recruited Pressey to Missouri.
“I think that he is one of the best point guards in the country,” Anderson said. “Phil is the epitome of a point guard. He’s like a coach on the floor. More than that, he’s just a great, great kid. I think that he just knows how to keep his team going — he just has a lot of strength. I think that he is ahead of his time when it comes to playing basketball.”
Tide’s top player
Alabama only has one true freshman on its roster this season, but if you believe the recruiting sites, he’s a good one. Former MU target Devonta Pollard, a 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward from Porterville, Miss., was listed by Rivals.com as the 22nd-best player in the 2012 class.
Tide coach Anthony Grant explained his recruiting philosophy on Thursday.
“One of the biggest things for us is that we recruit to our style of play,” Grant said. “We’re a pressing team that wants to play uptempo, so we try to recruit players that fit what we do.”
MU women adjust
Missouri men’s coach Frank Haith isn’t the only basketball coach at his school who will be forced to adjust to a new conference. Women’s basketball coach Robin Pingeton, whose team went 13-18 last season, is also looking forward to the challenge.
“We’re in an awfully tough situation regardless of what conference we’re in,” said Pingeton, whose Tigers were picked to finish 13th in the SEC. “We took over the program two years ago at the University of Missouri, a little dysfunctional, really at rock bottom. So to build a team, not only at a division one level, but in the best conference in the country takes some time.”
| Terez A. Paylor, firstname.lastname@example.org