April 8, 2007

Walker, teammates poised to stand tall

Something remarkable happened to the Kansas State basketball program last week. No, it wasn't the sudden departure of Bob Huggins. That was shocking, sad and plain silly on Huggins' part. In the wake of Huggins' return home to West Virginia, K-State basketball, and most notably its coaching staff and a future roster filled with star recruits, can write a story not soon forgotten by college basketball historians.

K-State said "See ya later" to Huggins by quickly striking to wrap up the staff that did the heavy lifting in the recruiting and coaching that appeared to turn around K-State's basketball fortunes last season. By naming Frank Martin head coach and Dalonte Hill associate head coach, K-State athletics director Tim Weiser not only kept the coaches who did the program's game prep last year, but the men who actually recruited the four signed recruits for next season.

As Martin puts together his staff, it's becoming clear that the only component from Huggins' former coaching staff who may follow him to West Virginia is former Cincinnati player Erik Martin, who was the final coach hired when Huggins came to K-State.

Everyone else, possibly including strength coach Scott Greenawalt, whom Huggins' himself said was an essential part of his program in Manhattan, may be staying.

Huggins surely expected most to follow him, even if Frank Martin was named head coach. It didn't work out that way, and because of that, the members of the nation's top recruiting class are sticking with K-State. The predicted decimation of the Kansas State basketball program did not take place, and as much as Huggins wanted to lure the staff and probably the players he was bringing to Manhattan to join him in Morgantown, W.Va., they will be wearing purple next season.

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