#79 Kansas State Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Kansas State Wildcats

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #79
Conference Rank: #8 Big 12

Kansas State Team Page#79 Kansas State Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Kansas State Basketball Tickets

On March 1st Kansas State tallied their 20th win of the season. They had two regular season games, the Big 12 Tournament and the NCAA Tournament to add more to that total. And it seemed like they would. However, the Wildcats lost their final regular season contests to Oklahoma State and Baylor, fell to Iowa State in their conference tournament opener and then lost to Kentucky in the NCAAs. Marcus Foster could lead this team back to the tournament. The 6-2 sophomore averaged 15.5 points as a freshman and knocked down 39.5 percent of his attempts from long range. From day one, Foster often looked like the only consistent scorer on this team. Foster is very good and loaded with potential for his sophomore season, but he will need help from some new faces in 2014-2015.

2013-14 Record: 20-13, 8-8
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Bruce Weber
Coach Record: 47-21 at Kansas State, 360-176 overall

Who’s Out:
Shane Southwell and Will Spradling are significant losses. They were the usual starters beside Foster on the perimeter. Southwell was just shy of ten points per game, while Spradling added 7.7. Southwell, a 6-6 wing, was also the second best rebounder on the team and totaled the second highest number of assists per game. The top assist earner was Spradling. Those two were also the only other consistent outside shooters on the team besides Foster. While their overall scoring is replaceable, their leadership and versatility may not be as easily replicated. Omari Lawrence is the other departure and leaves even less experience in the backcourt. He did not have a great senior season and averaged less than 13 minutes per game, but he could handle the ball and play good defense.

Who’s In:
Malek Harris is the big time recruit in this class and KSU hopes that he can follow in Foster’s footsteps and have a quality freshman campaign. The 6-7 forward has the talent to start right away, but Coach Bruce Weber has the luxury of utilizing him off of the bench as well. The frontcourt also adds transfers Brandon Bolden and Stephen Hurt. Bolden spent one year at Georgetown, where he played in just four games, while Hurt comes from the junior college ranks. Both are 6-11, but it is Hurt who tilts the scales at 260 pounds and can eat up space in the paint. Justin Edwards, Tre Harris, Evan Beucler and Jack Karapetyan are newcomers who will eat up some minutes on the wing. Edwards, a transfer from Maine, is the one to watch from that group. A two year starter with the Black Bears, Edwards is a big time scorer and led the America East Conference in that category with 16.7 points per game two years ago. Harris will likely be thrown into the backup shooting guard spot as a freshman and Beucler could earn a few quality minutes as a shooter off of the bench.

Who to Watch:
The focus will shift slightly to the frontcourt this season and Thomas Gipson is ready for that bigger role. The 6-7 senior was second on the team with 11.7 points per game and led the squad in rebounding. He is big and tough and should team up nicely with Malek Harris up front. But this team can play bigger too with Hurt and Bolden joining the squad. Nino Williams and D.J. Johnson will also add depth to the frontcourt. Williams started ten games as a sophomore and turned into a decent interior scorer. The starting power forward job is probably his until Harris steals it away. Williams is undersized at 6-5, but plays much bigger. Johnson is the top shot blocking threat on a team that lacks a shot blocker. Small forward Wesley Iwundu is coming off of a solid freshman season in which he averaged 6.7 points and 4.2 rebounds. With the development of a jumper, Iwundu could turn into a very good scorer. At the least, he can get to the free-throw line.

Final Projection:
Kansas State has talent, but one thing that could stop them from reaching the NCAA Tournament is their play at point guard. Foster can run the show, but he is needed at the shooting guard spot if nobody else can shoot the ball effectively and consistently. That leaves Nigel Johnson and Jevon Thomas to run the show. Both performed quite well in limited playing time last season and proved that they could take care of the ball. That is very important, but it remains to be seen if either can turn into a leader. It seems like the Wildcats are perennial bubble dwellers and usually end up in the NCAA Tournament. This team could do the same, but Southwell and Spradling are significant losses and this group will fall on the wrong side of the bubble if the newcomers are not ready to contribute as much as expected.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Nigel Johnson, Sophomore, Guard, 4.1 points per game
Marcus Foster, Sophomore, Guard, 15.5 points per game
Wesley Iwundu, Sophomore, Forward, 6.7 points per game
Nino Williams, Senior, Forward, 6.2 points per game
Thomas Gipson, Senior, Forward, 6.7 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.1 (223th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.4 (60, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.4 (219, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.8 (46, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.0 (186, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.1 (217, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.6 (305, 10)
Rebound Margin: 0.9 (160, 7)
Assists Per Game: 15.2 (31, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.2 (174, 9)

Madness 2014 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#103 Malek Harris


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