Jerome Tang may not be your typical basketball coach. In post-game press conferences, he doesn't always talk about the Xs and Os or the statistics of the game, but he talks about heart and passion. He doesn't just go through the handshake line and then head back to the locker room, he heads up into the stands and celebrates with the students at home.
Tang spent the time between Kansas State's game on Saturday against Oklahoma State and the game on Monday night against No. 4 Kansas getting to know his team more. He left basketball at the door and decided for him and his coaching staff to get to know their guys.
Something Tang says he always tells his team is that he may not know what guarantees winning but he knows what guarantees losing and that is when a team goes out and just plays the game instead of playing with heart. Tang before the Sunflower Showdown game admitted to his team that he hadn't done a good job connecting with his team and that was part of why they were losing.
It is not often you hear a coach admitting they don't know what guarantees winning, but I think this is what makes Tang so special as a coach. He is so open and transparent about himself and his team. There is a culture that Tang is building at Kansas State and it is special.
Tang says he knows how to help get guys where they want to go in the game of basketball and that is winning. However, he also knows that playing without heart and passion and not connecting with his team definitely won't help them win, if anything it will guarantee a loss.
There are expectations Tang has of his team and the fans at Kansas State and that expectation is to win. This is why he doesn't want fans to storm the court. Tang talked about how you don't see fans storm the court at Kansas, or Duke, or North Carolina because winning is expected there. He wants a program like that in Manhattan, Kansas, and I think he is the only one to get us there.
So Kansas State fans, I will echo what Jerome Tang says, expect greatness, expect heart and passion, and expect to win.