Open Mike: White Noise Mike Tufano January 24, 2013 Open Mike In a normal year almost any school would be thrilled to be at top 15 program, a 15-3 record, and a 4-1 conference start. Particularly when all three losses were to teams that have spent time in the top 10, and are seen on a national level as legitimate Final Four contenders. And oh yeah… and we also beat a team that fits that description1. But this isn’t a normal year, is it? It’s a year in which a beloved, but volatile coach left and some fans haven’t gotten over the divorce. The parents split and the children are left confused. And many of them are too young and immature to understand that some times these things happen. They fear change and refuse to accept reality. Martin left K-State. He took a worse job for reasons that only he truly knows2. Frank isn’t coming back, so they take it out on the new guy. But despite the screams of some of the kids, the new guy has been good to them. Really, really good. Only speculation can answer the “what could have been” questions about if Frank Martin had remained the coach at K-State. What would Tuesday night’s game have looked like? Some say we would have won the game with increased physicality. Others that it would have been another game where the in-game coaching disparity would have made the margin wider3. The truth is, in Bruce Weber’s system players like Shane Southwell and Nino Williams are shining in ways they never had the opportunity to under Frank’s system4. Others, like Jordan Henriquez are struggling on the offensive end in ways that they didn’t always do in Frank’s system5. And the result is that K-State has won every game they were supposed to win, and one that they weren’t. And yet a very small but very loud minority still shout “burn it down!.” They cheer against K-State in hopes of getting rid of a coach that has thus far been successful. You can’t be a fan when you refuse to support your team. When you fill your life with hate, there’s no room left for love, and opinions quickly fade into the rantings on par with the crazy man on the street corner warning us of all of the end of the world. White noise. The background sounds the rest of us ignore as we live within the confines of the real world. The sort of noise that prompts people to question if they heard something, only to recognize that it is of no consequence. Most K-State fans have seen the early success and bought in. The players are responding and support him. The students greeted Weber with a loud, “BRUUUUUUUUUUCE” on Tuesday night. They get it. He’s our guy. He’s the one who wants to be here. He’s the one who has led K-State back to the rankings with a strong start, and will lead the Cats back to the NCAA tournament. That’s not to say it’s not worth a wait and see approach at this point. You may be one of the fans being cautiously optimistic. That’s entirely fair, and even wise. Every coach is judged by each year, and ultimately, K-State history will judge Bruce Weber on what happens this year and every season that follows. Like what inevitably happens with every coach, there will come a time when it’s best for K-State and Weber to part ways. But every real fan is rooting for that that to be a long way down a long successful road.Notes: And here comes the “yeah, but it’s Frank’s guys!” arguments… [↩] The full truth is most certainly in a message board post somewhere. [↩] It was nice to see Bill Self actually look frustated trying to figure the game out for a change, wasn’t it? I’m not saying Weber is on Self’s level. Not many coaches are, but it was nice to not get totally out coached in one of these games. [↩] Shane was built for the motion offense. A multi tool player who passes extremely well, sees the floor, and can make big shots. [↩] JO has so much talent… if he can get his mind wrapped around this offense, it’ll really be complete. But time seems to be running out to do so. [↩] K-State fans, we salute you!