"If we recruited them..they Should Play"

Sitting at 10-4 and ready for Big 12 Conference play, the auditions are over and Coach Martin and Co. must decide who plays and who sits. "Depth" is an issue and for a run, these Cats are now at the point in the schedule where they are going "All In." Coach martin discusses Depth, who plays, who is on the verge of playing time and Options.

The opening act is over. Fourteen games have been scribbled into the scorebook and Kansas State has a 10-4 record heading into Big 12 Conference play on Saturday at Oklahoma.

Fourteen games, but a true fix on Kansas State's Big 12 rotation is still an enigma. Just how deep does Kansas State's talent go ... by Big 12 standards?

To date, Michael Beasley and Blake Young are the only two Wildcats to have started all 14 games, and a total of nine K-Staters have started at least two games.

In looking forward to the Big 12 season, Kansas State coach Frank Martin openly says that he does not believe in a "seven- or eight-guy rotation."

Martin said, "I believe in depth. Depth creates competition in practice, and competition in practice creates a sharper team in games. "Guys earn their time in practice," Martin said. "If you practice well, you're going to play."

Martin declined to say what type of rotation he wanted for the Big 12 season, but so far six Wildcats have averaged at least 20 minutes per game, three more average between 13 and 16 minutes, while two average 10 minutes of court time.

This does not include David Hoskins, whose status is still uncertain due to a knee injury; this does not include freshman Jamar Samuels, who could be added to the player mix, if not redshirted.

"I believe if we recruited them, we have to figure out a way to get them to play," Martin said. "If they're not good enough to play, we shouldn't have recruited them."

Martin went on to say that he liked to have "a lot of options," and then referred back to the 2006-07 season as an example. "I'd scream at (Bob) Huggs to take him out," Martin reflected. "He'd look down the bench and ask, 'Who do you want me to put in?'

"I'm big on depth," Martin stressed. "Across the board, teams with depth usually win. Competition brings out the best in everyone."

Last year in Big 12 play, 10 different K-Staters started at least one game with only Akeem Wright and David Hoskins starting all 16. It was a season where the Wildcats leading scorer, Cartier Martin (17.9), started just two games and was only fifth in minutes played with 26.7. In 2006-07 eight K-Staters averaged 12 minutes in Big 12 play.

Fast-forwarding to the current season, it's one thing to play a two-deep rotation of players against Savannah State and Wagner, but is that depth really to Big 12 standards?

Kansas State has a nice four-deep lineup in the backcourt. That's Clent Stewart and Jacob Pullen at the point, and Young and Fred Brown at the off-guard.

Andre Gilbert and Dominique Sutton can alternate at the small-forward spot where each will also serve as a perimeter defensive stopper. Inside, Beasley and Bill Walker are sure to be needed for 30 minutes a game, as the depth is marginal with Luis Colon, Ron Anderson and Darren Kent sharing the remaining minutes.

Without question, it's the deepest and most athletic team Kansas State has enjoyed in years. But ... it is so very young with six freshmen, one sophomore, two juniors and two seniors making up the team.


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