K-State's roster, top recruit expected to stay in place
Kansas State selected assistant coach Frank Martin to replace Bob Huggins on Friday.
• While West Virginia introduced Bob Huggins as its men's basketball coach Friday, the folks left behind at Kansas State were feeling betrayed, Elizabeth Merrill writes. Story
• Kansas State took a big chance on Bob Huggins, and Huggins, who abruptly left for West Virginia, did the university a great disservice, writes Page 2's Jemele Hill. Story
• Billy Gillispie and Bob Huggins brought instant recognition to their programs. Now Kansas State and Texas A&M are looking ro replacements to continue the development, Andy Katz writes. Story
• Scouts Inc.: Future of K-State recruits in flux
"I'm elated," Martin said in a statement released by the university. "I've worked 22 years with the dream of one day earning this type of opportunity, and I'm indebted to this university for believing in me. Kansas State is a special place and we are proud of what we started here. It's been proven in a short period of time that Kansas State can be very successful in men's basketball, and we fully intend to continue moving in that direction."
A source close to Martin, 40, told ESPN.com he met with Kansas State president Jon Wefald on Friday, letting him know he could keep the team intact, including heralded recruit Michael Beasley. K-State was clearly perturbed by Huggins' move to West Virginia on Thursday after one season.
This could be seen as an appeasement move and clearly indicates that Huggins may not try and swipe away Beasley and Bill Walker, who is rehabbing a torn ACL after playing a portion of last season.
"We feel Frank was an integral part of the growth and success of Kansas State basketball this past season and deserves the opportunity to lead this program and continue to build on the foundation that has been established," athletics director Tim Weiser said in a statement. "One of the important factors in our decision to promote Frank was a desire to maintain the continuity of the current program and provide a stable environment for our student-athletes. Frank was a valuable member of a team that achieved some remarkable milestones this past year, and we believe he will continue to move this program forward."
Kansas State finished 23-12, 10-6 in Huggins' one season in the Big 12.
Walker, a former high school and summer league teammate of O.J. Mayo, signed with K-State and graduated early after he was ruled ineligible to compete for North College Hill in Cincinnati. He was on campus by mid-semester and playing by mid-December.
He played in seven games, averaging 9.7 points before tearing his ACL. He's rehabbing and while he only went to K-State because of Huggins, it would be hard for him to leave now, finish rehabbing with someone else's trainers/doctors and sit out a season before he could play. Walker has NBA aspirations and may just want to finish at K-State and declare for the 2008 draft.
"I have an obligation to fulfill with Kansas State, and I'm prepared to go back," Walker said Friday in a telephone interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer.
But the questions remain of what happens to returnees David Hoskins (not a Huggins recruit), and Huggins' signees Blake Young, Luis Colon and Jason Bennett. Now that Martin appears has the job, they will likely stay.
The key for Beasley's return will be Dalonte Hill, an assistant who will stay on as associate head coach. He was at Charlotte when Beasley originally committed there, but then moved to K-State when Huggins hired him.
"When Dalonte was introduced here a year ago, it was as one of the top up-and-coming assistants in the country," Martin said. "He's proved his worth as a basketball coach with the job he did in preparing our team for games this year. It makes my job a lot easier when you have a class person like Dalonte Hill working with you."
The move is clearly made in the hope that Martin can keep one of the top recruiting classes intact. This would be akin to when Rhode Island hired assistant Jerry DeGregorio to replace Jim Harrick in the hope that Lamar Odom would stay. Odom didn't and DeGregorio was a disaster.
But the hope is that Martin is much more prepared to be a head coach than DeGregorio ever was when he was tabbed for URI. Martin served as an assistant to Huggins, Andy Kennedy at Cincinnati and to Ron Everhart at Northeastern.
Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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