99 in 99: #3 Kansas State Wildcats

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Kansas State basketball

Behind the leadership of the always intense Frank Martin, the Kansas State Wildcats stepped onto the national scene in a big way last season.  Even more is expected from K-State this year as the ‘Cats have the potential to contend for the national title.

The Sports Bank’s “99 in 99” ranks the 72 power conference college basketball teams and top 27 mid-majors for the 2010-2011 season.  Click here if you missed teams #4-#99.

By: David Kay

Kansas State Wildcats (T-2nd, 11-5 in Big 12, 29-8 overall)

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Freddy Asprilla (So)/Jordan Henriquez-Roberts (So)
PF: Curtis Kelly (Sr)/Wally Judge (So)/Victor Ojeleye (Jr)
SF: Jamar Samuels (Jr)/Shane Southwell (Fr)/Nino Williams (Fr)
SG: Rodney McGruder (So)/Nick Russell (So)/Will Spradling (Fr)
PG: Jacob Pullen (Sr)/Martavious Irving (So)/Juevol Myles (So)

Gone: PG-Denis Clemente, C-Luis Colon, SG-Chris Merrieweather, SF-Dominique Sutton (transfer-North Carolina Central)

Jacob Pullen beard

2010-2011 Outlook:
Perhaps no team in the country plays harder than Kansas State.  With Frank Martin in charge, the Wildcat players really do not have a choice.  It is what their head coach demands.  Coming off their most wins in school history, the Wildcats are poised to be ever more dangerous this season.

K-State boasted one of the best backcourts in the country a year ago with Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen.  Clemente is gone but Pullen returns and will switch back to the point guard position after mostly playing off the ball the past two seasons.  Pullen did run the offense quite a bit as a freshman and should be able to make that transition rather smoothly.

There is plenty of competition to see who will replace Clemente in the line-up.  Sophomore Rodney McGruder should begin the year starting at the off guard but Martavious Irving will also see his fair share of minutes off the bench.  Nick Russell will likely figure into that mix as well while newcomers Juevol Myles and Will Spradling add even more depth.

Kansas State basketballLength and versatility was a major asset of the frontcourt last season and that will be the case once again despite the graduation of starting center Luis Colon and surprising transfer Dominique Sutton.  Curtis Kelly and Jamar Samuels will return to start at the forward spots.  Kelly was the team’s leading rebounder while Samuels is at his best when getting to the basket but also has a nice mid-range game.

Sophomore Wally Judge is a major talent but coming off a somewhat disappointing freshman season and should be more of a factor this year at the four.  Freshmen Shane Southwell and Nino Williams will compete for playing time behind Samuels.

There is good size to clog up the middle with JUCO transfer Freddy Asprilla coming in at 6-10, 285 pounds and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts at 7-0, 245.  Martin also has the luxury of going with a smaller line-up by playing Kelly and Judge at the same time.

For the first time in a LONG time, the Wildcats, not the Jayhawks are receiving the most pre-season pub in the state of Kansas.  They are national title contenders and ready to top last season’s record breaking season.

Player to Watch: Wally Judge, PF
Judge arrived in Manhattan as a consensus top-20 recruit but failed to live up to those expectations in his freshman season.  He averaged just 3.3 points and three boards per game but did become more reliable as the season progressed.  Part of the reason for his rookie struggles was due to discomfort he felt in his back all season long.  After off-season surgery, Judge feels healthy and should make a bigger impact as a sophomore.

Key Non-Conference Games:

11/16 vs. Virginia Tech
11/22 vs. Gonzaga (CBE Classic)
11/23 vs. Duke/Marquette (CBE Classic)
12/3 at Washington State
12/18 vs. Florida (in Sunrise, FL)
12/21 vs. UNLV (in Kansas City)

Other 99 in 99’s:
#4 Ohio State
#5 Pitt
#6 Syracuse
#7 Kansas
#8 North Carolina
#9 Florida
#10 Illinois
#11 Kentucky
#12 Villanova
#13 Baylor
#14 Washington
#15 Georgetown
#16 Missouri
#17 Memphis
#18 Wisconsin
#19 Purdue
#20 Butler
#21 Virginia Tech
#22 Tennessee
#23 Gonzaga
#24 Texas
#25 San Diego State
#26 Xavier
#27 West Virginia
#28 BYU
#29 Georgia
#30 St. John’s
#31 N.C. State
#32 Florida State
#33 Marquette
#34 Temple
#35 Vanderbilt
#36 Arizona
#37 Murray State
#38 Dayton
#39 Notre Dame
#40 Mississippi State
#41 Utah State
#42 Maryland
#43 Richmond
#44 UNLV
#45 Seton Hall
#46 Wichita State
#47 Washington State
#48 St. Louis
#49 Old Dominion
#50 Minnesota
#51 New Mexico
#52 UConn
#53 Northwestern
#54 UCLA
#55 Southern Mississippi
#56 St. Mary’s
#57 Texas A&M
#58 Louisville
#59 Arizona State
#60 Northern Iowa
#61 Creighton
#62 Clemson
#63 Cincinnati
#64 Texas Tech
#65 Miami, FL
#66 Charlotte
#67 UTEP
#68 Ole Miss
#69 George Mason
#70 Colorado
#71 Weber State
#72 Alabama
#73 Bradley
#74 Central Florida
#75 Wake Forest
#76 Georgia Tech
#77 USC
#78 Oklahoma State
#79 Cal
#80 Oklahoma
#81 Virginia
#82 South Carolina
#83 Indiana
#84 Stanford
#85 Oregon
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#88 Arkansas
#89 Boston College
#90 LSU
#91 Providence
#92 Michigan
#93 Oregon State
#94. Nebraska
#95. Auburn
#96. DePaul
#97. Iowa State
#98. Rutgers
#99. Iowa

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 The Washington Times Communities.  You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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Comments

  1. Overrated!

  2. Yet another great cheerleader pic.

    congrats Dave on getting all 99s time by “season opening” Friday!

  3. Haha! It’s an okay pic.

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