If there’s a program that knows point guards, it almost certainly has to be Kansas State.
The K-State women’s basketball team has had some pretty good ones, starting with current assistant coach Shalee Lehning, who is arguably the best distributor in Big 12 history with 800 career assists. And then there’s recently graduated senior Brittany Chambers, who might be the most versatile player in school history with more than 2,000 career points, 850 rebounds and 300 assists.
K-State could have a few more great ones on its hands in junior Haley Texada and freshmen Leti Romero and Kindred Wesemann.
It’s all about options for the Wildcats this season, who not only have some significant size inside, but depth at the guard positions — all ready to contribute right away.
All three point guards got off to a quick start in the Wildcats’ 85-64 exhibition victory over Washburn on Monday night. Romero led the way with a game-high 25 points and 12 rebounds in her debut. Texada scored 15 points, while Wesemann had a game-high seven assists to go with five points and no turnovers.
The Wildcats will wrap up their exhibition slate Friday night when they host Alaska-Anchorage at 5:45 p.m., followed by the men’s exhibition against Pittsburg State at 8.
“They’re just young kids — they’re very talented kids and are going to develop,” Washburn coach Ron McHenry said Monday. “They’re going to move and they have some great depth. I like them. They might be missing that one player like a Chambers, but Romero showed that she can score a little bit. I think she has a good feel for the game.”
That seems to be the commonality among all three Wildcat point guards, a good feel for the game. Texada has developed into a potent scorer, capable of running the floor with anyone, and has a good shot from the perimeter. Romero and Wesemann are the more pure passers, but they too, can obviously score the ball.
“Kindred and Leti are very similar with their basketball IQ, the passing angles and decisions they have an understanding for,” K-State coach Deb Patterson said. “They’re both good players off of on-balls, which is good stuff. They’re comfortable with their handle and both can shoot the 3, have jump shots and can get to the rim.
“While Leti is 5-9, Kindred is more like 5-5… their stature is different, but they bring similar strengths to the floor. They’re very good strengths.”
Wesemann — from Pleasant Hill, Mo. — and Romero — from Las Palmas, Spain — wasted little time showcasing their passing abilities during fall practice. Perhaps the Wildcats should hang warning signs on the court for basketballs traveling at dangerously fast speeds, something that hasn’t been needed since Lehning was bloodying noses with laser passes.
“Right now, there’s really nobody in the gym that understands and anticipates and is ready for either Leti or Kindred’s passes,” Patterson said. “It’s not even close. Once we figure that out, it’s really going to help create easy baskets. Once we do catch it, we can learn how to finish.
“It’s really about getting other people to play around those two in an effective manner.”
Texada, who averaged 11.8 points a game as a sophomore, said everyone has to be ready, or rather guarded, when Wesemann has the ball.
“She’s a better passer than me,” she said. “You have to have your hands ready if she’s out there because the ball’s coming whether you are or not.”
Romero is capable of getting the ball to anyone, Texada said.
“She’s a smart player, quick with the passes, very fundamentally sound, almost too perfect,” she said. “She’s a fun player to play with because she sees the open people, down low and on the perimeter.”
But there are still adjustments and a lot to learn for the young Wildcats. Wesemann said everything about the college game been a challenge.
“It’s pretty extreme,” said Wesemann, who averaged 16 points, 3.4 rebounds and four assists a game as a senior. “It’s a lot more difficult. Everything is harder, more complex.”
Just playing with taller players has been different for Wesemann, who played with a 5-foot-6 post in high school. That’s nearly a foot shorter than her new teammate Breanna Lewis, who stands 6-5, or even 6-3 Erica Young or 6-3 Jessica Sheble.
“Our post was 5-6, so this is completely different for me,” said Wesemann, who was the 57th-ranked guard nationally last year by ESPN Hoopgurlz. “The tallest person I ever played with was a 6-2 post in AAU. But getting here and playing with Bre Lewis is totally different — 6-2 and 6-5 are two totally different things.”
The size has forced Wesemann to change her game some. What worked in high school won’t always cut it at this level.
“You have to put your passes up higher for Bre because she doesn’t like to bend down and catch bounce passes — that’s a long way down there,” she said. “I’ve also learned that I need to pull up sooner in the lane because Bre will block the crap out of me if I don’t.”