Following Wednesday’s loss at Texas Tech, Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber downplayed a heated sideline discussion with junior guard Cartier Diarra.
Weber said there were no residual effects stemming from the incident the remainder of the week — a point he made sure to emphasize after Saturday’s 70-59 defeat to Texas at Bramlage Coliseum.
“I thought he was fine,” Weber said. “It’s just part of it. As a coach, we coach with a passion. You play with a passion. Obviously when you lose, it’s not easy. Things happen.”
The altercation, which went viral online immediately, occurred as the Wildcats headed into a second-half timeout Wednesday. As Diarra walked toward the sideline, he yelled at Weber, who picked up his coaching stool and slammed it to the floor. Diarra did remain in the game, however.
But it didn’t last long; after he attempted an ill-fated windmill dunk that he didn’t convert — one that would have tied the game at 42-all — Weber took Diarra out. Diarra didn’t return to the floor in the final nine minutes of the Red Raiders’ 69-62 victory.
Shortly after the Wildcats returned to Manhattan early Thursday morning, Diarra owned up to his actions.
“I just wanted to clear the confusion and apologize for making it seem as though my coach and I had an altercation,” Diarra wrote on his personal Instagram account. “Coach wanted me to take advantage of the switch instead of shooting, and all I said was that I’m going to make the next shot.
“Coach knows I’m a competitor and I give my all and all he was doing was challenging me and that’s how I responded. I was raised right and I’ve never cursed at ‘Coach Web’ or any former coach for challenging me. I would love if this negative storyline could go away. (I have) EMAW tatted on the skin and it ain’t for no reason. I’ve always been about K-State.”
Wednesday’s loss marked K-State’s sixth in a row; the setback to Texas made it seven, its longest skid since the 2001-01 season.
Despite the 11-point defeat to the Longhorns, Weber said he thought Diarra had a solid game, finishing with nine points and a game-high six assists (against just two turnovers) to go along with four steals.
“I’d love for him to make a couple more shots,” said Weber, referring to Diarra’s 3-for-9 shooting performance, “but six assists (to) two turnovers, a 6:2 (assist-to-turnover ratio) as a point guard, that’s kind of what we’ve asked (him to do) the whole year.”
Not that asking for more from Diarra meant Weber let others off the hook.
“Everyone can be better,” Weber said. “I can be better. (Diarra) can be better. Xavier (Sneed) — everybody.”