2013-2014 Top 68 Team Previews: #41 Kansas State Wildcats
Bruce Weber looks to return his young Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament. (ESPN.com)
By Justin Curry
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Kansas State Wildcats
Last Season: 27-8 (14-4)
Key Losses: Rodney McGruder and Alex Rodriguez
Head Coach: Bruce Weber
Projected Starting Lineup
PG: Will Spradling 6-2 SR.
SG: Shane Southwell 6-7 SR.
SF: Nino Williams 6-5 JR.
PF: Thomas Gipson 6-7 JR.
C: D.J. Johnson 6-9 SO.
Key Reserves: Wesley Iwundu 6-7 SG, Marcus Foster 6-3 SG, Jevon Thomas 6-1 PG, Nigel Johnson 6-1 PG, Neville Fincher 6-9 Center, Jack Karapetyan 6-7 PF
The Kansas St. Wildcats had a tremendous season last year. Their basketball team finished second in the Big 12 to Kansas, who finished number eight in the NCAA overall. Kansas St only lost a mere four games in their conference and eight total. The Wildcats season was cut short in the NCAA by sleeper La Salle, who beat the Wildcats 63-61 in the closing seconds. It will be a tough task for Kansas St. to duplicate their success from last season with the loss of some key players.
Rodney McGruder was a 6-4 senior last season for the Wildcats. He excelled at the guard position and often led his team to victory. His 15.6 points per game was the highest on the team for the year. He also hauled in the most rebounds at 5.4 for game. His explosiveness to the basket will be missed this season. Leading assist man Angel Rodriguez, who averaged 5.2 assist per game, also graduated this past year and will not be returning. Angel was also a big contributor to the offense of the Wildcats, averaging 11.4 points per game. These were the only two players to average double digit points the entire 2012-2013 season. Filling the offensive void is going to be a challenge for Kansas St. this year.
The Wildcats managed to bring in five recruits for 2013; none of which were in ESPN’s top 100 or five star recruits. Wesley Iwundu, a 6-7 shooting guard will bring a dynamic player around the perimeter. He also has good size which can complement the big man in the inside when crashing the boards. Marcus Foster is also a 6-3 SG that has a solid jump shot. Jevon Thomas is a premiere ball handler who will bring good balance to the back court for the Wildcats. He also has lock down defense which will be key if the Wildcats plan to contain the back court this season.
Kansas St. finished number twenty to end the regular season. Their dominance in the Big 12 earned them the fourth seed in the West for the NCAA tournament. Without their two biggest stars from last season who will step up and be the key role players in their absence? Will they be able to repeat their success from last year, or even take it a step further? The season is around the corner so we will soon find out!