Head coach Jerome Tang preaches heart and hard work to his team. He also believes that when things look down, you can't play the victim. Tang also loves the movie Die Hard and he uses it to motivate his team.
After Kansas State had dropped their fourth game in a row to Oklahoma State, a team that has lived at the bottom of the conference all season, Tang made an interesting point referring to the famous Bruce Willis movie.
"Die Hard wouldn't be great if Bruce Willis got killed in the first scene"- Jerome Tang
Tang went on to talk about how Willis didn't take the easy way out and be a victim and his team wasn't going to be one either. The Wildcats are making their own movie and Tang says his team has the choice to be victims or to be stars and they are going to be stars.
After losing to Oklahoma State 75-72, it seemed the Wildcats were lost and had no identity. They had to put the Oklahoma State game away however and start preparing for the biggest game of the season to this point. K-State was about to welcome No. 4 Kansas to Bramlage Coliseum on Monday, but this season it was amid a four-game skid.
Not a lot of people thought the Wildcats stood a chance with how they had been playing in recent weeks. Honestly, even though I picked the Jayhawks to take down the Cats at home, Tang had other plans. Kansas State stepped on that court hungry and tired of losing. They fought the whole game and even took it to overtime where Tang was a career 10-0 in those games, and the Wildcats made it 11-0. Kansas State beat Kansas 75-70 in overtime Monday night, making Tang 2-0 against the Jayhawks at home,
In a post-game interview with SportsCenter Scott Van Pelt, Tang brought out the Die Hard reference again, telling everyone that this was how he was going to motivate his team, to be the stars that he knows they are.
In his post-game press conference, Jerome Tang talked about how the preparations for this game were more than just the typical basketball preparations. Instead of spending more time on the physical aspect of the game, he said the team simply spent time together and connected better.
Tang talked about how he knew the struggles for this team were physical struggles, but it was more about heart and how he felt he hadn't connected with this team like he did with last year's team. So to help right the ship, he spent most of the day and a half before the matchup with Kansas talking with the guys and connecting with them on a more personal level.
In today's age of college sports, you have guys who will spend only a year or two with a team and then move on to another school or the professional leagues. So Tang realized it was hard for these guys to go out and play with pride in the uniform when they had only been there for a short time. So he wanted to show his guys the mutual love and respect he has for his team so that they go out on the court and don't just play basketball, but they go out and play with heart and passion.
So going forward Jerome Tang says he will continue to work with his team not just physically but emotionally and connect with their hearts. The Wildcats have a tough road ahead of them, but I would say they are in good hands with Tang at the helm.