Campus Corner

Kansas State Q&A: Basketball departures and spring football

K-State coach Bruce Weber points out a play to K-State guard Jevon Thomas in Bramlage Coliseum. (December 14, 2014)
K-State coach Bruce Weber points out a play to K-State guard Jevon Thomas in Bramlage Coliseum. (December 14, 2014) The Wichita Eagle

It’s time for another K-State Q&A.

Most of your questions this week revolve around the roster cleanse currently taking place on the men’s basketball team, but one of you asked about spring football. So we’ve got both major sports covered. Nobody asked about Thomas Gipson working out for the Green Bay Packers, but I feel compelled to link to video of it, anyway.

That’s enough of a lead in. Let’s get into your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them.

As long as Bruce Weber can find five healthy bodies to put on the floor, K-State will have a season. With a large recruiting class coming in, that shouldn’t be a problem. But practices will be sparsely attended before they arrive. Here’s a rundown of the Wildcats’ currently healthy scholarship players -- Justin Edwards, Wesley Iwundu and Stephen Hurt. That’s it. Jevon Thomas, Nigel Johnson and Jack Karapetyan have transferred. Marcus Foster and Tre Harris have been dismissed. Malek Harris, D.J. Johnson and Brandon Bolden are all recovering from significant injuries.

Not ideal.

On paper, K-State is looking at another disappointing basketball season. Edwards and Iwundu are the team’s top two returning scorers, and neither of them averaged seven points last season. The Wildcats will be picked to finish at or near the bottom of the Big 12 along with Texas Tech and TCU. Not sure what the over/under on wins will be. But here’s guessing it’s less than the 15 games they won last season.

It’s worth pointing out that other Big 12 teams have overcome mass departures and losing seasons and bounced back quickly. Texas appeared sunk after a dreadful 16-18 season in 2013, but Rick Barnes won 24 games in 2014 and was named league Coach of the Year. West Virginia went 13-19 the same season, but Bob Huggins had the Mountaineers in the Sweet 16 this season. It can happen. Low expectations and the addition of new players can change things.

That certainly won’t be the expectation for Bruce Weber and K-State next season. But it’s not impossible.

Well played.

Weber likes to fly all over the country looking for undiscovered talent. Maybe Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are worth a look.

My money is on Justin Edwards or Wesley Iwundu. One of them will likely start at shooting guard. The other will handle the wing. They can both drive, and they have made exciting plays (at times) at K-State already. If they don’t carry the scoring load next season, who will?

True, both players seemed tentative last season. But I think Edwards could benefit from being the guy others look to for points. That’s who he was at Maine, and he was at his best last season when he was aggressive. Iwundu had a bad sophomore year, but Weber had him playing all over. Iwundu often had to bring the ball up court, you may remember. A new role and low expectations could help him break into double figures.

Let’s just go ahead and breakdown K-State’s incoming recruits.

Dean Wade: The St. John forward is a top 150 recruit that won multiple Kansas high school Player of the Year awards this year. He should be a productive player at K-State, though the jump from 2A basketball to the Big 12 will be enormous. He may need to put on muscle and adapt to the college game before making a big impact. Has a three star Rivals rating.

Dante Williams: At 6-foot-10, he has good size and will probably be asked to help some inside as a freshman. Has a three star Rivals rating

Barry Brown: A point guard that put up good scoring numbers as a senior in high school. He played a lesser role on his AAU team, serving as its sixth man, but maybe Weber likes he is able to play unselfishly. With the departure of four guards, he will challenge for a starting spot immediately. Has a three star Rivals rating.

Corlbe Ervin: The point guard helped Connors State College win 30-plus games last season, and he put up some eye-popping numbers on his way to being named a junior college All-American. He does not have a Rivals rating, and junior-college transfers tend to be wild cards in the Big 12. But he may start at point guard next season.

Kamau Stokes: The Baltimore point guard committed to K-State late in its season and will try to join the mix for playing time in K-State’s back court. Has a three-star rating from Rivals.

Big man Eric Cobb is also committed, but there is some doubt as to whether he actually joins the 2015 class.

Not sure what to make of this group before it arrives on campus. Three-star players are often wild cards.

K-State has two scholarships to recruit with, and the Wildcats will use them. So you can expert at least two more recruits to be added to the mix. If anyone else transfers, you could see more. At this stage, you may see Weber targeting graduate transfers and junior-college players.

Good question. Fans will want to see a winning record, but the administration may be more patient with Weber. John Currie stood behind him this season, so it’s clear he wants to give Weber an opportunity to coach himself out of this mess. But a disastrous season could land Weber on the hot seat. The main thing will be the program’s trajectory. If Currie sees a bright future, even in another losing season, Weber will get more time. If Currie sees more losing, he won’t.

Reed Bergstrom and Dalton Risner are the main offensive lineman working to replace B.J. Finney. Heard good things about both of them. Bergstrom, a senior, has been around longer. But Risner, a redshirt freshman, is quite talented. Talked to Cody Whitehair earlier this week, and he said he was sticking with left tackle. Though he is a tad undersized for that position, that is where he will stay. Bill Snyder said Boston Stiverson is recovering from injury well, and his absence leaves spring playing time for others to take advantage of.

To reach Kellis Robinett, send email to krobinett@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @KellisRobinett.

  Comments