Mike McGuirl answers questions

Kansas State's Mike McGuirl (00) answers questions during the team’s media day at the Ice Family Basketball Center in October. McGuirl, a junior guard, missed Tuesday's game against No. 23 Texas Tech because he's dealing with a concussion. When he will return is unknown.

Mike McGuirl had started each of the first 15 games of the season for Kansas State. But he didn’t even take the floor in Tuesday’s 77-63 loss to No. 23 Texas Tech. And head coach Bruce Weber isn’t sure when McGuirl will play again.

McGuirl, a junior guard, is battling a concussion.

“I wish I had an answer,” Weber said of McGuirl’s availability for Saturday’s home game versus No. 12 West Virginia. “They go through the protocol and then the tests and then there’s all the days you’ve got to wait until you’re allowed to (come back).”

A K-State spokesman told The Mercury that McGuirl began complaining of concussion-like symptoms Saturday; it is not known when the concussion occurred, as McGuirl started and played 20 minutes in Saturday’s 64-50 loss at Texas.

After serving in a reserve role the past two seasons, McGuirl had settled into the starting lineup in 2019-20. He’s averaging 6.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. His 44.1 shooting percentage ranked second among K-State’s starting five, trailing only senior forward Makol Mawien’s 44.7. McGuirl also has been the Wildcats’ steadiest 3-point shooter, knocking down a team-best 45.5 percent (20-for-44) of his attempts from long range this season. And while his passing doesn’t draw as much attention as some of his teammates, his 32 assists this season ranked second on the team through 15 games, trailing only fellow junior guard Cartier Diarra’s 86.

His absence Tuesday led Texas Tech coach Chris Beard to address it, unprompted, during the opening statement of his postgame press conference.

“I always like it when the best players get to play, so I know they’re going through some adversity,” Beard said. “One of their best players couldn’t play tonight, and as a competitor, you never like that. So we wish him a full recovery and wish Kansas State the best for them down the stretch. A lot of respect for their program.

As solid as McGuirl has been for the Wildcts this season, watching him struggle with a concussion has bothered Weber.

“I just feel bad for him. It’s killing him,” Weber said. “He’s sitting in a room in the dark. He texted me two times, ‘Coach, this is boring.’ You’ve got to get him back.”

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