• Loading KStateSports Tweets...
    1 second ago

Samuels, Russell Enjoy European Trip

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Jamar Samuels at center and Nick Russell at the power-forward?
 
That's what it was for the East Coast All-Stars earlier this month as they traveled through Switzerland and France playing a five-game series.
 
The USA entry went just 1-4, losing to Switzerland, 92-80, to the Swiss National team, 96-91, and dropping a contest to the Tunisian Nationals, 104-85 and 111-85. The lone win came over the Paris Select team, 100-73.
 
"We couldn't get a win to save our lives," said Samuels, "but it was all for the experience."
 
To those scores and the 1-4 record, the Wildcats said, it would have been a 5-0 record had it been Team Wildcats making the trip.
 
"I was missing my K-State teammates in those games. I was thinking, 'Man, we would have beaten these guys by 30'," said Samuels, a 6-foot-7 junior. "We would have been 5-0 ... easily. Throw in that Frank Martin face ... 5-0, easily."
 
Russell, a 6-4 sophomore from Duncanville, Texas, totally agreed with his teammate.
 
"Easily 5-0. With the chemistry we have at Kansas State and the incredible bond that we have ... we easily would have been 5-0."
 
Samuels' top game was a 24-point effort against the Swiss Nationals, plus he averaged 15-plus points per game. Russell netted 23 in the opener against Switzerland, plus added 15 against Paris and averaged 12 points for the five-game series.
 
"It was physical ... very physical," said Samuels, who said he got intentially punched in the mouth in one of the games. "You get away with a lot of stuff. I pray to God that I won't have to go into some type of league like that."
 
Samuels said the game helped his ball handling, plus he averaged four to five blocked shots per game.
 
While playing center nearly all of the time, the Washington, D.C., native said it was an opportunity for part of his game to grow.
 
"Coach told me that when I get a rebound to just push it," said Samuels. "Whoever got the rebound just went. We were playing like Missouri."
 
On Russell's game, Samuel said, "He got better. At times, he was guarding a 6-9 guy working hard to get a rebound."
 
While not playing a lot of his natural guard position, Russell said, "I grew tremendously. I gained a lot of confidence and just my overall game got better."
 
On the style of play, Russell agreed with his teammate by saying, "It was very physical; no calls at all, but that got us stronger and better."
 
Russell added of how the series will help prepare him for the upcoming season, "We were playing a physical game against some older guys and some pros. Instead of coming from high school to college, coming back from there to this season will be a big help."
 
CATS MEET MONA: Pulling his cell phone out, Samuels offered a visual tour of his European vacation.
 
"We saw the Eiffel Tower at night ... one of the prettiest things I've seen in my life ... (Pause) ... besides my girlfriend and my mom." Flashing a grin, he added, "Got out of that one!"
 
And, the players visited the Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum.
 
"I'm thinking it would be a big picture, but it was a little thing," said Samuels.
 
Russell said he was amazed with the beauty of the Eiffel Tower, adding that he went to the top "... all 43 stories."
 
And of the Mona Lisa, he said, "It was a very beautiful painting ... a beautiful picture, but they had it behind this big glass case and it was so small. I'd say a 12 x 6 inch picture ... very small."
 
 
We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen at mjanssen7@cox.net, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at klannou@kstatesports.com.