K-State men’s basketball team offers early preview

By Joel Jellison

A week before the Kansas State men’s basketball team is set to entertain fans at “Madness in Manhattan,” the Wildcats provided an early peek of the revamped roster on Saturday.

Prior to the K-State football game, the Wildcats invited fans into Bramlage Coliseum for a scrimmage.

After watching his team play four quarters, mixing up the rosters each time, K-State coach Bruce Weber said the team was improved from a private scrimmage earlier in the week.

“We scrimmaged Monday and it was way better than Monday,” he said. “This is the 11th day of doing stuff and we’ve really tried to limit our time. I didn’t want to kill them. As a staff we’re learning about them, and they’re learning about the whole situation.”

Senior Will Spradling and freshman Nigel Johnson handled the point guard duties on both teams, while Thomas Gipson and DJ Johnson went toe-to-toe for most of the hour-long scrimmage at forward.

Both transfers Brandon Bolden and Justin Edwards also played — with Edwards scoring eight straight points at one point and intercepting an inbounds pass and to finish with a dunk.

Senior forward Shane Southwell thought several players showed some promise, and the entire team played well at times.

“I think we had our moments,” he said. “A lot of our young guys did really well, especially Marcus Foster. He hit shots, he’s aggressive, and Wesley Iwundu played well and Justin Edwards also played well.”

Foster and Iwundu guarded each other throughout most of the scrimmage, and both showed the ability to beat a defender to the basket. Foster, who will likely take Rodney McGruder’s spot in the lineup, showed he could carry a scoring load.

Weber said all of the freshman players have had moments and are learning quickly.

“They’re fine, they’re still learning and they make some mistakes,” he said. “Marcus is a scorer and we have a good athletic group. Wesley is long and can get to the hoop, Marcus is very strong, Nigel is quick, and when Jevon (Thomas) gets with us he will give us another element of quickness.”

Weber said they are working to get better defensively before the season starts in order to give the team time to improve offensively before it travels to Puerto Rico for a thanksgiving tournament.

“Those first three home games we have to guard them and use the advantage of our home court, so it will give us a chance to win some games,” he said. “And you hope to make some progress before you head to Puerto Rico.”

Both Thomas and freshman Jack Karapetyan did not participate in the scrimmage. Thomas won’t be eligible until the Dec. 21 game against Gonzaga and Karapetyan is still recovering from an injury.

Foster said everyone is trying to get acclimated before the season opener on Nov. 1 with an exhibition game against Pittsburg State.

“Right now we’re just trying to bring it all together because we haven’t played with each other,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of new guys and a bunch of talent. Right now we’re trying to bring it together to be ready for the first game.”

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