Kansas State men’s basketball coach Bruce Weber gave a summer update on his team Tuesday before the Wildcats hit the court for practice leading up to their summer tour through Europe next month.
He had plenty to talk about, and you can watch his entire news conference below.
Four newcomers (Xavier Sneed, James Love, Cartier Diarra and Brian Patrick) are on campus and contributing. Wesley Iwundu altered his shooting stroke and is starting to make three-pointers. And all 16 players on the roster are healthy, for a change. That has him feeling optimistic about the future.
“I am happy with the group we have,” Weber said. “The best thing is they are fun. They are coach-able, they are a fun group, they listen. We have better depth than we did the last two years, better competitions in practice, it gets pretty feisty, which is good.
“Now you have to stay healthy, obviously, and keep getting better and figure out your roles, but it is a good group. I think we have a chance to be pretty good ... I say that with some confidence, but at the same time know some things have to fall in place for things to really happen.”
Here area few other newsworthy items from Weber:
Weber said senior point guard Carlbe Ervin and redshirt freshman forward Dante Williams have been the two biggest surprises of summer practices.
Ervin had a disappointing inaugural season with K-State out of junior college, but he blames much of that on nagging knee injuries. He has since undergone surgery and feels much better.
“I am just getting my confidence back, learning how to play and get other people involved,” Ervin said. “Going home this summer, everybody was asking me why I didn’t play the same way I did in junior college. It was tough. The transition between junior college and the Big 12 was tough. I am just trying to get my game right and everyone involved.”
Weber thinks he is ready to complement Kamau Stokes.
On Williams, a 7-foot shot-blocker, Weber said he has already emerged as the team’s top rim-protector.
“He is doing some really good things,” Weber said.
If Weber had to sum up K-State’s freshman class in one word, it would be “athletic.”
Sneed, the top-ranked player of the bunch, jumped high into the air to convert an alley-oop dunk from Stokes during an open practice Tuesday. Cartier Diarra (a former ballet dancer) has a 43-inch vertical leap, and is the strongest freshman in recent K-State history at the bench press. Love brings size. Patrick can shoot.
“You feel good about them,” Weber said. “It gives us competition. Xavier is a great matchup for Carlbe and Wesley. If you don’t go hard everyday he is going to get after you. Cartier gives us another player for Barry and Kamau to go against. A big thing we have now that we haven’t had in a while is daily competition in practice, which is really important. It is how you get better.”
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett