Last year, the Kansas State basketball team benefited from a preseason trip to Brazil in coach Bruce Weber’s first season.
By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star
This year, the Wildcats, like all other college teams, get an early jump on the season because of a change in NCAA rules. With the loss of several veterans and a roster that includes a five-member freshman class, Weber wants all the extra time he can get.
“It adds up to about six or seven more practices over the course of six weeks,” Weber said. “It comes at a good time.”
Weber and Kansas State women’s coach Deb Patterson will preview their teams and talk all things K-State today at the annual Kansas City Catbackers’ basketball banquet at the Ritz Charles in Overland Park.
Several players will be there, including Will Sprading, Nino Williams and Shawn Meyer from the men’s team and Katay Leick, Bre Lewis and Kelly Thomson from the women’s team.
Weber, who led K-State to a 25-6 record and a share of the Big 12 regular-season title in his first season, will use the time to break in Spradling at point guard.
“Early on, he’s going to have to do it,” Weber said. “He’s played some point before, even before we got there. We feel good to have him there.”
Spradling also played some point last season when Angel Rodriguez suffered a foot injury in mid-December. Spradling logged several minutes at the point in the win over Florida at the Sprint Center, when he had 17 points and five assists in 38 minutes.
Weber said he’s relying on veterans such as Spradling, who averaged 7.4 points and 2.4 assists last season, as well as Shane Southwell, Thomas Gipson, Omari Lawrence, D.J. Johnson and Williams to guide a promising class of newcomers following the departures of Rodriguez, Rodney McGruder, Martavious Irving and Jordan Henriquez.
“They’re going to have to be consistently productive,” Weber said.