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Saluting Wildcats Past and Present

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Here are some notes and honors on several Kansas State student-athletes, past and present, that may have fallen through the cracks for some K-State fans.

Congrats
For Jordy Nelson, for being one of the stars in the Green Bay Packers' Super Bowl victory over Pittsburgh. The 2007 consensus All-American for the Wildcats pulled in nine catches for 140 yards and a touchdown last Sunday.

Just wondering, have there been any other K-Staters make the cover of a nationally distributed edition of Sports Illustrated other than Rolando Blackman, and now Nelson?

Freeman, What a Year
Former K-State quarterback Josh Freeman completed his second season as quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a 10-6 record. Freeman, the 17th selection in the first round of the draft following his junior season with the Wildcats, passed for 3,461 yards on 61 percent accuracy, which included an amazing 25 touchdowns to just six interceptions.

Twice Freeman was the NFL Player of the Week after performances of five TD passes against Seattle, and a 21-of-26 passing effort with two touchdowns and 255 yards against New Orleans.

In 25 career games as a starter, seven times Freeman has led his team to a game-winning scoring drive in the fourth quarter, or in overtime.

On ESPN's "First Take" show, Freeman referred back to his K-State days under coach Ron Prince: "My coach in college said you're not always going to play great on Saturday, but when it comes to the fourth quarter, it's time to step up and be a hero, be at your best regardless."

In those moments, Freeman said his mindset is that "... there's nothing really to lose. It's just a game, so go have fun."

It was also on the show that Freeman talked about one of his more embarrassing moments during his rookie season in 2009 when the Bucs played New England in London.

"I had got in some good reps and thought I was going to get the chance to start next week," reflected Freeman. "I was walking out of Wembley Stadium and everyone was yelling and taking pictures. I was thinking, 'Hey, this quarterback stuff is kind of cool.' Finally I heard someone shout, 'Hey Tom, over here!'

"I turned around and it was Tom Brady who was walking two feet behind me," Freeman laughed. "It was a funny, humbling experience."

Kudos to Bozzay
K-State's Boglarka Bozzay has been named the Big 12 Athlete of the Week in track and field for her efforts last week at the Husker Invitational in Lincoln.

Bozzay won the 1,000 meters with a time of 2:45.91, which broke the meet record by nearly four seconds and the Bob Devaney Center record by .05 seconds. The clocking is also the fastest in Big 12 history on a regulation 200-meter track. In K-State history, the time ranks only behind Anne Stadler at the 1985 NCAA Championships

Netters off to Great Start
For the first time since 2008, K-State's tennis team is in the national rankings at No. 52, which is the highest for a Wildcat team since 2006 at no. 45.

Steve Bietau's team has won each of its four matches, which includes a 6-1 victory over an Iowa team that was ranked No. 30 in the nation at the time of the match. That win was the highest over a ranked opponent in the last nine years.

K-State has been bolstered by the play of the top half of its singles' lineup, as the trio of Petra Niedermayerova, Antea Huljev and Karla Bonacic are 12-0 this season with 10 of those victories coming in straight sets.

The Wildcats are joined in the rankings by seven other Big 12 squads, led by Baylor at No. 3. Also in the rankings from the league are Texas (22), Oklahoma (24), Nebraska (32), Texas A&M (33), Oklahoma State (59) and Texas Tech (69).

Kansas State competes in Denton, Texas, this weekend against Louisiana-Lafayette and North Texas.

NBA Updates
Three former Wildcats are still bouncing the ball in the NBA.

Michael Beasley is having his best year as a pro with a 19.9 scoring average along with 5.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists with the Minnesota Timberwolves. That scoring figure is well above his three-year NBA average of 15.6 points per game.

"Offensively, I've been a big believer in him," said Boston coach Doc Rivers of Beasley's abilities. "I just think he can score. I said it two years ago: I think one day he may lead the league in scoring. He just knows how to score the ball. He has a Carmelo (Anthony)-like ability to score the ball."

Beasley's 19.9 average ranks 22nd in the NBA.

Bill Walker is playing 12 minutes a game with the New York Knicks and averaging 4.5 points and 1.6 rebounds, and, Cartier Marin is playing seven minutes a game and averaging 3.4 points and 1.0 rebound with the Washington Wizards.

Martin is coming off a career-high of 15 points scored in Wednesday's victory.