Monday, November 30, 2015

Tough offseason for Wildcats

When Kansas State was upset in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, it was only the beginning of what has been a whirlwind offseason.

While some coaches might be digging out the golf clubs or taking a vacation, K-State coach Bruce Weber has had to deal with a constant slew of issues that have, at times, seemed never ending.

It started with the transfers of Adrian Diaz and Michael Orris, and then it escalated with the transfer of star point guard Angel Rodriguez. Director of operations Brad Korn and director of student-athlete development Wayne McClain each left to take other jobs.

Follow that up with recruit Neville Fincher failing to qualify, and the summer has been anything but easy for Weber and the Wildcats.

The loss of Rodriguez, however, is one Weber admits caught he and his staff by surprise.

“A year ago we understood his situation,” Weber said during Tuesday’s Big 12 coaches teleconference. “We had to re-recruit all of the players, and I thought we did a good job with our entire staff creating relationships.

“Angel’s game really improved. Statistically he improved, he made (second team) all-conference and after the season he said all the right things and was trying to be a leader talking to our guys. He had to go through two surgeries and all of a sudden one day he popped in and said, ‘Coach, I want to leave and get closer to my family.’”

Weber said anytime something like that happens, there is little you can do as a coach.

“All you can do is wish him the best,” he said. “I understand getting closer to home and helping his family and they can come see him a little easier, but at the same time he was established here and he had good relationships with the players and coaches so it’s very disappointing. He was going to be a major face of our program.”

Rodriguez’s move closer to his native Puerto Rico was choosing to attend Miami, where he will replace an NBA draft prospect in Shane Larkin. Diaz announced he had transferred to Florida International on Tuesday, and Orris will go to Northern Illinois.

Fincher’s failure to qualify was a tough one for the Wildcats, who lost their only forward in the class. K-State is left with two true forwards on the roster — DJ Johnson and Thomas Gipson — for next season.

Teams aren’t exactly immune of losing players to K-State through transfer this summer either.

K-State landed Maine transfer Justin Edwards and Georgetown transfer Brandon Bolden, bolstering the roster for the 2014-15 campaign.

Weber said the number of transfers in the college game has risen as kids have shown up on campus expecting to be a starter at an alarming rate.

“It’s a growing culture, in my mind, of the way kids are now with their mind-set of instant success and gratification,” Weber said. “If they come in and it’s not perfect, they transfer. We’ve set a record two or three years in a row of the number of transfers around the country.

“It makes it difficult. It’s hard to understand, but at the same time you have to respect the decision and all we can do is move forward and find some guys who are going to help us be successful that want to be at K-State.”


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