#45 Kansas State Wildcats: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Ranked third in the 2010-2011 preseason polls, the Kansas State Wildcats failed to live up to the lofty expectations last year.  They lost four of their first five Big 12 games but were able to pull it together at the end of the season before bowing out in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.  This year, Kansas State goes back to being an under the radar team.

KANSAS STATE WILDCATS
Last Season: T-3rd, 10-6 in Big 12, 23-11 overall
Predicted Big 12 Finish: 6th

Projected Depth Chart
C: Jordan Henriquez-Roberts (Jr)/Adrian Diaz (Fr)
F: Jamar Samuels (Sr)/Victor Ojeleye (Sr)/James Watson (Jr)/Thomas Gipson (Fr)
G/F: Shane Southwell (So)/Nino Williams (Fr)
SG: Rodney McGruder (Jr)/Martavious Irving (Jr)/Omari Lawrence (So)
PG: Will Spradling (So)/Jeremy Jones (Jr)/ Angel Rodriguez (Fr)

Gone: G-Jacob Pullen, PF-Curtis Kelly, PF-Wally Judge (transfer-Rutgers), C-Freddy Asprilla (transfer-Canisius), SG-Nick Russell (transfer-SMU), PG-Juevol Myles (transfer-South Dakota)

2011-2012 Outlook:
The main challenge for head coach Frank Martin will be replacing the heart and soul of last year’s team, Jacob Pullen.  No one Wildcat will be able to replace Pullen’s production so it will be a team effort.

Rodney McGruder is the top returning scorer from last season and was also the team’s best three-point threat.  He will start at one wing spot and likely take over the responsibility of being the go-to scorer.  Martavious Irving, Will Spradling, and Shane Southwell were all contributors a year ago and should take on bigger roles this season.

Spradling is a scrappy player who will take over the point guard duties but also can shoot the ball from deep.  Southwell and Irving will compete for the final starting spot on the wing.  Southwell started 17 games last season as a freshman and though he did not put up eye-popping numbers, offers more size and length.  St. John’s transfer Omari Lawrence also figures to work himself into the regular rotation while redshirt freshman Nino Williams and newcomers Jeremy Jones and Angel Rodriguez will scrap for whatever minutes are leftover.

The frontcourt is undergoing somewhat of a face lift due to the graduation of Curtis Kelly, and since Wally Judge and Freddy Asprilla transferring.  Jamar Samuels will likely be the second banana to McGruder which is not exactly an encouraging sign.  He does have a nice combination of strength and athleticism but struggles shooting the rock.  Jordan Henriquez-Roberts looks the part in the middle and has shown flashes of being an intimidating presence in the paint, but lacks the consistency and nightly fire to be a difference making big man.  Staying out of foul trouble has also been an issue and K-State will need him to become a steadier contributor.

Depth on the inside is a concern for Martin.  Victor Ojeleye is the only returning player and has seen limited minutes during his three years in Manhattan.  JUCO transfer and former Washington State Cougar James Watson brings more size to the floor than Ojeleye and should be the first post player off the bench.  Freshman Thomas Gipson is a big body down low while Adrian Diaz relies on his length and athleticism.  Both newcomers will try to find minutes off the bench.

The Big 12 will not be as top heavy as it has been the past couple of years since Kansas and Texas both lose a lot from last year.  Still, K-State needs to finish in the top five of a ten team conference to ensure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.  For that to happen, Samuels and McGruder will have to take over the leadership and scoring roles while the remaining cast plays their part.  Martin will have to do a spectacular coaching job this season which is not out of the realm of possible, but certainly won’t come easy.

frank martin mad

Player to Watch: Will Spradling
I really liked what I saw from Spradling during his freshman season; not as much as Bob Knight did but I am not sure Spradling’s own parents are as fond of their son as Knight is.  He didn’t play like a freshman point guard last season which bodes well considering he will become the primary ball-handler.

Key Non-Conference Games:
12/1 vs. George Washington
12/4 at Virginia Tech
12/8 vs. West Virginia
12/17 vs. Alabama
12/22 vs. Southern Illinois (Diamond Head Classic)
12/23 vs. Clemson/UTEP (Diamond Head Classic)
12/22 vs. Xavier/Long Beach State/Auburn/Hawaii (Diamond Head Classic)

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#46 West Virginia Mountaineers
#47 Virginia Cavaliers
#48 George Mason Patriots
#49 Old Dominion Monarchs

#50 VCU Rams
#51 Kent State Golden Flashes
#52 Arkansas Razorbacks
#53 St. John’s Red Storm
#54 Northwestern Wildcats
#55 Georgetown Hoyas
#56 Miami Hurricanes
#57 Nevada Wolfpack
#58 Detroit Titans
#59 UCF Knights
#60 Long Beach State 49ers
#61 Virginia Tech Hokies
#62 Clemson Tigers
#63 New Mexico State Aggies
#64 Tennessee Volunteers
#65 Iona Gaels
#66 Murray State Racers
#67 N.C. State Wolfpack
#68 Fairfield Stags
#69 George Washingon Colonials
#70 Indiana State Sycamores
#71 Oklahoma State Cowboys
#72 Indiana Hoosiers
#73 UAB Blazers
#74 Iowa State Cyclones
#75 Creighton Bluejays
#76 USC Trojans
#77 Weber State Wildcats
#78 Maryland Terrapins
#79 Tulsa Golden Hurricane
#80 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#81 Western Michigan Broncos
#82 Dayton Flyers
#83 Stanford Cardinal
#84 Yale Bulldogs

#85 Georgia Bulldogs
#86 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#87 Richmond Spiders
#88 Ball State Cardinals
#89 Utah State Aggies
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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Comments

  1. Jamar Samuels is a Senior.

    Bold should be bode.

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