#54 Kansas State Wildcats: College Basketball 111 in 111


bruce weber kansas state

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

It is still one of the strangest off-season occurrences in my opinion; Frank Martin leaving Kansas State for South Carolina.  Fired Illinois head coach Bruce Weber lands in Manhattan and to be blunt, needs to prove the last few years of underachieving with the Illini wasn’t due to his poor coaching before I can pick the Wildcats to be anything but an average Big 12 team.

Last Season: 5th, 10-8 in Big 12, 22-11 overall
Predicted Big 12 Finish: 6th

Projected Depth Chart
C: Jordan Henriquez (Sr)/Adrian Diaz (So)
PF: Thomas Gipson (So)/D.J. Johnson (Fr)
SG: Rodney McGruder (Sr)/Shane Southwell (Jr)/Nino Williams (So)
G: Will Spradling (Jr)/Martavious Irving (Sr)/Omari Lawrence (Jr)
PG: Angel Rodriguez (So)/Michael Orris (Fr)

Gone: F-Jamar Samuels, PF-Victor Ojeleye, PG-Jeremy Jones

2012-2013 Outlook:
Like his recent teams at Illinois, Weber’s first season at K-State will be sparked by a three-guard line-up headlined by the Cats’ top returning scorer, Rodney McGruder.  As far as go-to scorers go, McGruder isn’t the most explosive threat but does have a solid collection of guards around him.

Will Spradling is a scrappy players and capable long range shooter while Angel Rodriguez looks to build off a solid freshman season at the point though cutting down on his turnovers will be key for his development.  Martavious Irving and Shane Southwell will be valuable reserves while former St. John’s transfer Omari Lawrence looks to work his way into the lineup after being used sparingly a year ago.  Freshman Michael Orris is another backcourt option.  He originally committed to Weber at Illinois and decided to follow the head coach west to K-State after Weber was fired and hired.

Jordan Henriquez might be the x-factor the Wildcats this season.  The big man has been an enigma too frequently during his collegiate career as he has more times than not found himself on the bench in foul trouble and unable to consistently make his presence felt.  Henriquez and the physical Thomas Gipson have the potential to be one of the more intimidating front lines in not only the Big 12, but the entire country.  The 275 pound Gipson made his presence felt inside as a freshman and should be even more of a force this year as he is not afraid to mix it up down low.  Keeping both of those guys healthy and on the floor will be essential since Adrian Diaz and D.J. Johnson are both inexperienced back-ups.

Straight up, I just don’t think Weber is that good of a coach.  There is some solid talent and depth on this K-State team and if the Wildcats can hover around 4th-6th place in the Big 12, they should be in a good position to compete for an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.  Let’s see how Weber coaches this team up though, huh?

Player to Watch: Thomas Gipson
I wouldn’t want to run into Gipson in a dark alley but I really love his ruggedness down low.  He averaged 7 points and 4.7 boards in just 17.5 minutes per game so those numbers should trend upward as he is expected to see more playing time this year.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/13 vs. North Texas/Alabama-Huntsville (Preseason NIT)
11/21 & 11/23 vs. Michigan/Pitt/Virginia (Preseason NIT)
12/8 at George Washington
12/15 vs. Gonzaga (in Seattle)
12/22 vs. Florida

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#56 Colorado Buffaloes
#57 Iowa State Cyclones
#58 Northern Iowa Panthers
#59 Colorado State Rams
#60 Iowa Hawkeyes
#61 South Florida Bulls
#62 Valparaiso Crusaders
#63 Illinois Fighting Illini
#64 Arkansas Razorbacks
#65 Wichita State Shockers
#66 George Mason Patriots
#67 Virginia Cavaliers
#68 Villanova Wildcats
#69 Maryland Terrapins
#70 Marshall Thundering Herd
#71 Iona Gaels
#72 Northwestern Wildcats
#73 Oklahoms State Cowboys
#74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#75 USC Trojans
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, 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 and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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