When Kansas State takes the floor for its regular-season opener Tuesday, Shaun Williams will remain on the sideline. Williams, a sophomore guard, is suspended.
During a press conference Monday, head coach Bruce Weber said he plans to figure out what is next for Williams soon.
“We’ll see what happens with him,” said Weber, who has not detailed what led to Williams’ suspension. “We’ll make a decision here sometime here in the next week or so.”
That differs slightly from what Weber said following last week’s exhibition win over Washburn University. At that time, Weber said the timetable for Williams’ possible return wouldn’t be determined until weeks down the road. And it’s not certain Williams even will return to the team.
Weber said the 6-foot-3 St. Louis native has to earn his way back into the coaching staff’s good graces.
“We’ll see when we can get him back in there,” Weber said. “It’s a challenge to him to (stay) focused, mature, show us he really wants to be here and work his tail off to get ready, so when he gets his opportunity, he can help us.”
Williams was expected to be a bigger part of the playing rotation this season. Last year, he played sparingly on the Big 12 regular-season champion team, which relied heavily on the senior trio of forward Dean Wade and guards Barry Brown and Kamau Stokes.
Coming off the bench, Williams averaged 7.1 minutes per game, increasing to 9.1 minutes per contest once Big 12 play began. He finished with averages of 1.4 points, 1.1 rebounds, 0.6 assists per game last season.
With Williams unavailable for now, one might think the Wildcats will have to shuffle things around in the backcourt in terms of divvying up minutes.
But Weber said that’s not the case.
“Other than Xavier (Sneed) that night going for 30 or whatever, it’s been pretty balanced,” he said. “Probably in hindsight, we just would have gotten David (Sloan) a few more minutes in that second half. But ‘Carti’ (Diarra) had foul trouble in the first half and then he got going a little bit.”
That’s why Williams’ loss, Weber said, hasn’t altered all that much: “It’s all new” for the entire roster, from upperclassmen Sneed and Diarra to a newcomer like Sloan, who was a junior college All-American.
With or without Williams, Weber said the Wildcats simply need time to jell.
“We’ve just got to slowly but surely blend things together,” he said. “But the biggest thing is that we’ve got to play hard all the time. If they’ll do that, it’ll give us a chance.”