K-state players and St. Louis natives Xavier Sneed (left) and Shaun Williams (right) compete at a preseason intrasquad scrimmage at Bramlage Coliseum in October.

St. Louis is known for its iconic arch. For Kansas State’s men’s basketball program, the city is more like a pipeline.

Over the years, the Wildcats routinely have mined the city for talent. Dating back to Jack Thomas — who played in Manhattan from 1969 to 1972 — St. Louis natives continually have dotted the team’s roster. Notable St. Louis standouts include Randy Reed (the 1980 Big Eight Newcomer of the Year) along with all-conference selections Vincent Jackson (1991-93), Nino Williams (2011-15) and D.J. Johnson (2012-17).

That tradition now extends to the Wildcats’ 2020 recruiting class, a four-member group that signed their letters of intent Nov. 13. Half of the class hails from St. Louis in 7-foot power forward Davion Bradford and 6-foot-5 combo guard Luke Kasubke. When they take the floor for the Wildcats at some point in the near future, they’ll become the 21st and 22nd St. Louis natives, respectively, to play for K-State.

Head coach Bruce Weber admits his team has “a good pipeline” running from Manhattan across the state line to the other side of Missouri. In large part, Weber said, the success the Wildcats have had landing prospects in the city recently — three current Wildcats (Xavier Sneed, Levi Stockard III and Shaun Williams) all hail from the city — is because of Chris Lowery, K-State’s associate head coach.

“He’s worked the guys since they’re young,” Weber said. “It’s the one place though — and I said before — if we can get kids here, we have a chance. They can make unofficial visits here. It’s only five, five and a half hours.

“And we’ve been able to get some kids over. Luke was over a couple of times. Davion’s people were over. When that happens, it gives you a chance. Not many other places geographically that we can get them over.”

Geographic proximity isn’t everything, though.

Weber said it’s a matter of trust.

“The people (in St. Louis) feel good about us,” Weber said, “so we feel good about it.”

Recommended for you