Kansas State Wildcats
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #42
Conference Rank: #6 Big 12
Kansas State Team Page
After an up and down career at Illinois, Coach Bruce Weber steps into a good situation at Kansas State. Like when he started at Illinois, Coach Weber has a very good team on his hands. With the Illini, Coach Weber took his team to the championship game in his second season. This team may not be Final Four good, but they are good. Senior Rodney McGruder will help the transition. McGruder is a great all-around player who led the Wildcats with 15.8 points per game. He is a capable shooter and will again be Kansas State’s go-to-scorer. McGruder is also a fine rebounder and defender and will be counted on to be the senior leader of this group.
2011-12 Record: 22-11, 10-8
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Bruce Weber
Coach Record: First season at Kansas State, 313-155 overall
The only significant absence is Jamar Samuels. He will be replaceable since this team does return nine players who averaged at least ten minutes per game last season. But Samuels was a dynamic frontcourt scorer who could bang around in the paint and step outside and knock down the mid-range jumper with consistency. He was also the best rebounder on the team and that may be the toughest thing for the Wildcats to replace. Jeremy Jones, Victor Ojeleye and James Watson are also not returning for the 2012-2013 campaign.
The newcomers will not need to do much. There could be room for power forward D.J. Johnson to make an impact off of the bench. He has the size and strength to make a contribution on the glass and on the defensive end of the floor, but it will likely take a little time before he will be an offensive force. Point guard Michael Orris followed Coach Weber to Kansas State and will battle for backup minutes running the show. Ryan Schultz, a junior college walk-on, rounds out the group of newcomers.
Who to Watch:
The backcourt is just full of options. Angel Rodriguez had an up and down freshman campaign, but those ups were pretty high. He ended up averaging 8.3 points and led the squad with 3.2 assists and 1.3 steals. If Rodriguez has more downs than ups this year Will Spradling could take over the point guard duties. Spradling was extremely inconsistent as a shooter last season, but he can score in bunches. If he finds his stroke, Spradling will be a great secondary scoring option behind McGruder. But the experience on the perimeter does not end there. Martavious Irving was a part-time starter as a junior and is becoming a pretty good shooter. Shane Southwell has started a handful of games during his time in Manhattan as well. At 6-6, Southwell can play anywhere on the perimeter. He is a good ballhandler and will use his size to help out on the glass as well. Even though Omari Lawrence played very little last season, the former St. John’s guard has had a good summer and will compete with the rest of the returning players for major minutes on the perimeter.
The frontcourt will need Jordan Henriquez and Thomas Gipson to step up and help replace Samuels. Henriquez is the big interior scoring threat. The 6-11 senior is an efficient scorer, but he just does not look to score very often. Even if he is not averaging ten points per game, Henriquez will do plenty of work on the glass and block a ton of shots. However, as seen at the end of last season, Henriquez does not lack the ability to take over a game on both ends of the court. Thomas Gipson had a fine freshman campaign, averaging 7.0 points and 4.7 rebounds despite playing under 18 minutes per game. Gipson is a big bodied 6-7 forward who can eat up plenty of space in the paint. If Henriquez emerges as a consistent interior scorer, it will be Gipson that does the dirty work. Adrian Diaz did not play much as a freshman, but he was productive when given the opportunity. A year in the weight room should do wonders for Diaz and he should be the main backup in the post.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Angel Rodriguez, Sophomore, Guard, 8.3 points per game
Will Spradling, Junior, Guard, 9.3 points per game
Rodney McGruder, Senior, Guard, 15.8 points per game
Thomas Gipson, Sophomore, Forward, 7.0 points per game
Jordan Henriquez, Senior, Forward, 7.6 points per game
Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#110 Rodney McGruder
Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#50 Robert Upshaw