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Three Wildcats to compete overseas

By The Mercury

Three Kansas State men’s basketball players — Thomas Gipson, D.J. Johnson and Jevon Thomas —  will compete internationally this summer for two organizations, as they look to improve their skills for the 2013-14 season.

Sophomore D.J. Johnson has been selected to participate with Reach USA on a cultural exchange trip to the Far East from May 11-26, while junior Thomas Gipson and incoming freshman Jevon Thomas will compete with the Athletes in Action Tour to Lithuania from August 6-19.

As a part of Reach USA, Johnson and his teammates will play eight games during its trip to the Far East against various club teams in the area.

The 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward from St. Louis, Mo., Johnson averaged 2.3 points on 56 percent shooting with 2.5 rebounds in 9.3 minutes per game in 30 games as a freshman this past season. He had a big game against Texas in the Big 12 Championship on March 14 with eight points and seven rebounds in 15 minutes.

Gipson, Thomas and the rest of the Athletes in Action Tour will play various club teams in the region in the cities of Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipeda, Lithuania August 6-19. 

The roster includes Drew Barham (Gonzaga), David Chadwick (Valparaiso), Kadeem Coleby (Wichita State), Beau Gamble (Colorado), Brady Heslip (Baylor), Chris Jennkins (Colorado), Jordan Swing (UAB) and Jamil Wilson (Marquette).

The team will be coached by current Valparaiso assistant coach Roger Powell. Powell played for current K-State head coach Bruce Weber at Illinois from 2001-05, helping the Fighting Illini to the national championship game as a senior.

A 6-7, 270-pound forward from Cedar Hill, Texas, Gipson saw action in all 35 games for the Wildcats this past season, averaging 7.9 points on 51.7 percent shooting with five rebounds in 18.7 minutes per game. He ranked second on the team in rebounding and was fourth in scoring.

Thomas, a 6-0, 180-pound point guard from Queens, N.Y., will be a freshman in 2013-14 after playing at St. John’s (Wis.) Northwest Military Academy in Delafield, Wis. He averaged 15 points and seven assists last season and was named the most outstanding player of the 2013 National Prep School Invitational in Providence, R.I.

K-State was 27-8 overall this past season with a 14-4 mark in Big 12 play en route to a share of the Big 12 regular season title and a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament.

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