Kamau Stokes has a goal for his freshman season.
Stokes, a Kansas State point guard, wants to counteract every turnover he loses with at least four assists. It is a lofty ambition for a player still adjusting to the college game. He has seven assists and four turnovers through two games.
Still, Stokes and his coaches think he can reach his goal.
“I’m working on that,” Stokes said. “Coach (Bruce) Weber has been in my head about that.”
All point guards want to pile up assists and limit turnovers. So far, Stokes seems capable of doing it. His numbers should improve as he matures, and they are already better than what K-State got from its point guards last season when Nigel Johnson and Jevon Thomas combined for 157 assists and 104 turnovers.
Not bad, considering he has handled point-guard duties more than many expected while junior-college transfer Carlbe Ervin has come off the bench and tried to adjust to the same position at the Division I level.
“When you look at our point guard situation, we’re happy,” K-State associate head coach Chris Lowery said. “For one, they’re making the right decisions we need them to make, whether it’s facilitate, defend or be a ball mover.
“Those things are invaluable, and we saw what that meant last year when we struggled with the basic part of the game. (Stokes) has done a great job of learning. Now, he wants to score, trust me, but he’s learning to be a distributor.”
K-State plays host to South Dakota on Friday night in the team’s final tuneup before the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, where it will face Missouri and either Northwestern or North Carolina.
Stokes is also striving for better shooting consistency. Though 14 points through two games is decent, he needed 14 shots to score them. He was 2 of 10 against Columbia.
But he isn’t overly worried about that. He knows he can shoot. For now, he wants to play hard and play smart.
“Fun is defined by how hard you work in practice and how much you play defense in games,” Stokes said, “because our defense is what we’ve been successful with and how we’ve been able to score. Our defense is our key.”
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett