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K-State basketball dazzles with Madness, banners

By Joel Jellison

Before the Kansas State men’s basketball team celebrated its Big 12 title on Friday at Madness in Manhattan, the school showed off the new cosmetic change for Bramlage Coliseum.

The old system of tracking yearly achievements for both the men’s and women’s programs on the walls had been scrapped in place of banners hanging from the rafters.

The move followed a cleaner, more traditional look that many schools around the country, especially within the Big 12, seem to follow. The men’s banners are all purple with white letters and numerals, while the women’s banners take the inverse white with purple text approach.

It was the theme of this year’s Madness, which featured humorous videos from both teams, scrimmages, a skills competition and a dunk contest. And in the middle of it all, the Wildcats raised a banner marking the first Big 12 championship for the men’s team.

K-State women’s coach Deb Patterson liked the way the event served as an introduction for both teams.

“It was just great to see everybody back in Bramlage,” she said. “Great crowd — lot of energy, lot of creativity. My favorite thing was that you got to see the personality of the players. That was really fun.”

The event kicked off with an introduction of the women’s team, followed by a scrimmage. The Purple team beat the Black team 14-11, as Haley Texada scored seven for the Purple and freshman Kindred Wesemann scored nine points with three 3-pointers.

Former Wildcat Martavious Irving presented a video of him training the men’s team to replace his dance moves, and then Thomas Gipson and Katya Leick won a skills competition.

Nicole Ohlde, Jordan Henriquez, Irving and Shane Southwell joined Internet sensation Titus Ashby, a 2-year-old from Derby in judging the dunk contest. But not before Ashby, who has appeared on the Today Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live and taken on Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, sunk a few shots for the crowd.

Southwell was introuduced to the crowd with a remake of the intro to the Will Smith sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” playing off his likeness to the actor and musician.

Maine transfer Justin Edwards dazzled the crowd during the dunk contest, and finished it off by dunking over fellow finalist Nigel Johnson.

The men finished up the night with Gipson leading the Purple team to a 51-48 win over the Grey. Gipson had 11 points and sunk a 3-pointer. Marcus Foster scored 15 points for the Grey.

K-State coach Bruce Weber said it was a fun evening for the coaches and players of both teams.

“Our people did a great job,” he said. “Lot of creative videos, the banner obviously. It was an exciting night and a great crowd. Great way to get everybody excited.

“The ‘Fresh Prince’ video was tremendous. I thought the dance thing was really creative, and it takes a lot of time and effort to do it, so we appreciate them doing it.”

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