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Fun Facts on the Wildcats

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Learning about these Wildcat men and women during the 2010-11 season has been a treat. Just being around them, one picks up a few tidbits, plus there's information from the media guides produced by Tom Gilbert and Randy Peterson that can make one go 'huh" or "hummmm."

Here's an example.
Freshman ALEX POTUZAK was asked about his biggest thrill to date?
The answer: "skydiving."

Annnnd here's the rest of the story.

"My best friend and I decided when we turned 18, we would celebrate by doing something a little risky, so we decided it would be skydiving," said the 6-foot-11, 200-pound native  of Agenda/Cuba/Clyde in north central Kansas. "It cost something like $180, but it was definitely worth it."

According to Potuzak, he and his buddy drove to an airport near Osage City, located south of Topeka, and got geared-up for the jump, which included each skydiver being accompanied by a professional diver.

"We barely all fit in the back of the plane," said Potuzak. "I was the first to go. We got up to 10,000 feet, I sat at the edge of the door opening, and someone gave me a push. We (again, he was accompanied by a trained skydiver) tumbled like a summersault a couple times, then stabilized, and then I pulled the ripcord.

"It really was neat going through clouds, making circles and then landing by sliding on our butts," said Potuzak. "We definitely want to do it again. It was exciting the whole way."

A straight-A student through high school and in his first semester in civil engineering at K-State, Potuzak said, "I wouldn't say I'm a wild, wild crazy guy, but I like to do interesting things ... especially for someone my size. I like to bike, which some people think is crazy, and I love to run, people think I'm crazy for that, too.  I guess it's a perspective thing, really."

Oh, it was also Potuzak, nearly a 7-footer, who offered this on who he would love to trade places with for a day: "A short person to see what it's like."

Now, more from those guy Wildcats collected throughout the season.

NO. 0 JERSEY: So, how did Jacob Pullen end up with the No. 0 jersey at K-State?

"I've worn 0 all my life except for my sophomore year of high school when they didn't get the jersey ordered," said the Wildcat guard. "It started playing AAU ball because 0 was the smallest jersey and I was the smallest kid. If I got a 2 or a 3 it would hang on me like a dress. It just became my favorite number."

SHOE FANATIC: Pullen openly admits, "I'm a shoes fanatic. I probably have over 100 pair."

The Wildcat guard goes on to say, "Whenever the newest Nike comes out, I try to make sure I have them before they go public. I spend a lot of my lunch money on shoes, or I have to fool my mom and tell her I have a bill to pay so she'll send me some money."

On game day, Pullen says he wears lighter shoes with dark jerseys, and dark shoes with lighter jerseys.  "You don't want to have your shoes blend ... I don't know why, but I want them to stand out."

Or, Pullen will wear the same pair of shoes during a streak.

"I've been wearing Kobe's during this streak (six-gamer at the end of the year), and last year in the tournament I wore the same pair of shoes ... an older Kobe shoe ... during our NCAA run," he said.

While saying he's not overly superstitious, Pullen has been known to change shoes at halftime "... if I haven't made enough shots, or if we're losing."

And, his teammates know not to play silly games with Pullen's shoes, like hiding them.

"We did that once last year and he almost cried," quipped teammate Jamar Samuels. "Jacob loves his shoes."

CURTIS KELLY'S biggest surprise to most folks is that, "I write poetry."

Or, this from NICK RUSSELL, who says his best advice has been "... be comfortable with being uncomfortable."

VICTOR OJELEYE'S words to live by are, "That our faith should not be in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God." - 1 Corinthians 2-5

From SHANE SOUTHWELL come these phrases: "Hard work always beats talent when talent doesn't work," and, "Everything I'm not made me everything I am."

NINO WILLIAMS says his three dinner guests as his table-for-four would be, "Martin Luther King Jr., Michael Jordan and Barack Obama."

Speaking of dining, if either JORDAN HENRIQUEZ-ROBERTS or DEVON PETERSON ever invites you over for dinner, you might try to find a reason to politely decline. Peterson lists "peas, rice and stewed chicken" as his favorite meal, while Henriquez-Roberts goes with "oxtail and rice."

Now, on the ladies side.

Did you know that KELSEY HILL has "around 20 piggy banks. I love pigs."

JULIANNE CHISHOLM'S words of faith to live by are: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men." - Colossians 3-23

As for favorite kid acts, MARIAH WHITE says her funniest kid-act was "... sticking beads up my nose."

And how about this from SHALIN SPANI on one of her funniest moments as a kid: "I crashed a 4-wheeler into the back of Carson Coffman's family van."


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. For those who would like to share Sports Extra with a friend or family member, or change your current email address, click here.