By KELLIS ROBINETT
The Kansas City Star
It’s time for another K-State Q&A, so let’s jump right into your questions.
Thanks, as always, for asking them.
@KellisRobinett Is it silly of me to be thinking of who KU can possibly lose to in Big 12 play? Do we have a chance of winning the Big 12?
— Pete Fey (@fetepey) January 16, 2014
Kansas lost four games before the start of conference play, and the Big 12 is too tough to envision anyone going undefeated. So I guess it is silly to imagine the Jayhawks running the table. Remember, they got clubbed at Baylor (a NIT team) and TCU (a horrible team) last year. Texas Tech (still bad) stomping Baylor (now a top 15 team) earlier this week shows the Big 12′s depth. Still, the conference race is currently KU’s to lose. The Jayhawks have already beaten K-State at home and they have defeated Oklahoma and Iowa State on the road. Will anyone else duplicate those victories? If they beat Oklahoma State and Baylor next, they will have a huge advantage at 5-0. K-State does have a shot at challenging them. Victories over Oklahoma State and Oklahoma have the Wildcats off to a nice start, and the upcoming schedule isn’t daunting. But they can’t afford to drop any games they are favored to win. Beating West Virginia and Texas will be vital. They will also need to prove they can play in tough road environments. If they can do that, then future games against Iowa State and Kansas take on added meaning.
@KellisRobinett I think Javon Thomas maturing and becoming an above average passer/decision maker is key. Do you agree?
— Joey Lutz (@lutzanator) January 16, 2014
I agree that Jevon Thomas has developed into a valuable sixth man. His speed allows K-State to score in transition and get up the court in ways it simply couldn’t while he was waiting to become eligible. He can come in for Marcus Foster or Will Spradling, and the pass-first point guard helps in many ways. Against Oklahoma, he even made a difference on the glass, grabbing four rebounds. The best part about his game is that he doesn’t lose turnovers. He averages one per game. His defense has dropped a tad from his blazing start, but that is to be expected now that opponents know who he is. As a freshman, he has a lot to offer K-State’s basketball program.
@KellisRobinett What was avg attendance for last couple of Wooly seasons? Interested in comparing w/ current Big 12 teams w/ poor attendance
— Dan Runge (@dtotherun) January 16, 2014
During the Jim Wooldridge era, Bramlage Coliseum averaged about 7,000 fans. The 2001-02 season bottomed out with 5,915 fans. His final season, in 2005-06 topped off at 7,664. Then Bob Huggins arrived and attendance regularly shot up over 12,000. The bottom half of the Big 12 currently averages between 4,000-9,000 fans. Remember, all of those numbers are based on announced (not actual) attendance. By the way, while we’re talking about Wooldridge, congrats to him on becoming the full-time AD at UC-Riverside.
@KellisRobinett Sams at running back, why wouldn't you put your best runner back there, with the position up for grabs next season?
— Troubled Scribe (@TroubledScribe) January 16, 2014
Sams played some running back in high school, and I think he could succeed there at K-State. After all, he is a running quarterback. But he says he only wants to play receiver or quarterback. When he said he would consider changing positions next season, I asked for his thoughts on possibly switching to running back or safety, as well. He didn’t seem remotely interested. Besides, I trust K-State coaches when they say DeMarcus Robinson and Jarvis Leverett are capable replacements for John Hubert.
@KellisRobinett is Sams ball protection good enough to play at skill positions
— Dylon Shade (@ShadeD56) January 16, 2014
I think so. He wasn’t plagued by fumbles last season as a quarterback. I’m sure there will be an adjustment curve for him if he switches positions, which is no guarantee, but Chris Harper, Ty Zimmerman and Justin Tuggle all thrived in different spots after coming to K-State as quarterbacks. Bill Snyder knows how to get the most out of his players, regardless of position.
Here are the two things I keep hearing when I ask about K-State’s new wave of athletic facility upgrades: They are in the very early planning stages, but with a $50 million price tag they are thinking big. I don’t know specifics about what the new north end of Snyder Family Stadium will look like when this project is complete, but it will feature drastic changes. Additional seating and a more enclosed stadium both seem like possibilities. Still, no timetable is in place for that project. K-State is much closer on adding videoboards to Bramlage Coliseum and Snyder Family Stadium. Depending on fundraising, you could see those popping up later this year.