Also See: K-State Settles Lawsuit with Former Football Coach
MARTIN ADDS HALF-DOZEN TO 2011-12 ROSTER
By Mark Janssen
Kansas State basketball coach Frank Martin has bolstered his 2011-12 roster with the addition of four new signings to the class of 2011.
The newest Wildcats are junior college transfers Jeremy Jones (Chicago, Ill./Seward County [Kan.] Community College) and James Watson (Atoka, Okla./Cowley [Kan.] College), Division I transfer Omari Lawrence (Bronx, N.Y./St. John's), and high school standout Angel Rodriguez (Miami, Fla./Krop) are the recent signees.
"We are excited to welcome these players to K-State," said Martin. "Each addresses a need for the coming year and continues to make us a deeper and more athletic team. Both James and Jeremy bring tremendous experience at the junior college level, while Omari, like James, has already experienced the highs and lows of playing at the Division I level," said Martin. "Angel is truly one of the elite high school point guards in the country and will be able to diversify our offense. He is not only an elite scorer, but he really knows how to involve others on the offensive end."
This foursome joins the previously announced signings last fall of high school standouts Adrian Diaz and Thomas Gipson. Both Diaz and Gipson are ranked among the Top 150 players in the country by a number of recruiting services, including Rivals.com.
In addition, Martin announced that sophomore guards Juevol Myles and Nick Russell have been released from their athletic scholarships and will transfer to other institutions. Both leave K-State with two years of eligibility remaining in their careers.
"Juevol and Nick have decided to continue their playing careers at other schools," said Martin. "We appreciate their contributions to the program and wish them the best in the future."
2011-12 K-STATE MEN'S BASKETBALL ROSTER (3 seniors, 5 juniors, 3 sophomores, 4 freshmen)
CENTER / POWER FORWARD: Jordan Henriquez-Roberts, 7-0, Jr.; Victor Ojeley, 6-6, Sr; Adrian Diaz, 7-0, Fr; Thomas Gipson, 6-7, Fr; James Watson, 6-8, Jr
WING: Shane Southwell, 6-6, Soph.; Devon Peterson, 6-3, Sr.; Martavious Irving, 6-1, Jr.; Nino Williams, 6-5, Fr.; Rodney McGruder, 6-5, Jr.; Omari Lawrence, 6-4, Soph.; Jamar Samuels, 6-7, Sr.
POINT GUARDS: Will Spradling, 6-2, Soph.; Jeremy Jones, Jr.; Angel Rodriguez, 5-11, Fr.
THE NEW WILDCATS
ADRIAN DIAZ, 7-0, 200, Fr., Miami, Fla. (Hialeah-Miami Lakes)
MARTIN ON: "In Adrian, we have a 6-foot-11 runner who has a high skill level. Just like Thomas, he is a high level competitor who fits who we are at K-State."
DIAZ SAYS: "The fans are very passionate and it's a great environment. I was here for the football game against Texas and the fans were crazy in all that purple. What else can I say? Coach takes his job seriously and you can see the players develop and get better. My game is more defense than offense, but I feel like I'm a big man who can shoot it. I'm planning on being someone who can help the team now."
RESUME: Nicknamed 'Stretch'... six feet by seventh grade and 6-8 by his sophomore year... offers from Miami, Purdue, Central Florida, Virginia Tech, North Florida and Florida International... Ranked No. 145 by Rivals... Rated the No. 6 prospect in Florida... averaged 23 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks as a senior... helped his prep team to a 23-5 win as a senior after the team went 5-15 the year before.
JEREMY JONES, 6-2, 165, Jr., Chicago, Ill., (Sewart County Community College)
MARTIN ON: "Jeremy developed into one of the top shooting guards in the junior college ranks while at Seward. However, he has the ability to play both guard spots on both ends of the floor. He gives us another perimeter scoring threat to go along with (returners) Rodney, Will and Martavious. He was recruited by a number of quality programs and we are happy to have his services here at K-State."
JONES SAYS: "I watched K-State all year and got a good feel for what they need. They're losing their main point guard, so it's an opportunity to come in and be a factor. He (Jacob Pullen) shoots the ball a lot more than I do, so I don't know if my game is too much like his, but I like to take it to the basket more and be more of a distributor. I like things to be equal on offense. I like Frank Martin's intensity. My goal is to come in and work hard and play with intensity. I can help this team."
RESUME: A product of Simeon High school in Chicago where he averaged 21 points per game... Started career at Western Texas College... Transferred to Seward County in Liberal, Kan., where he helped the Saints to a 27-7 record and Jayhawk West title... Named third team All-American and first team All-Region VI... Averaged 18.6 points on 49 percent shooting, which included 37 percent from long range ... Scored in twin figures in 32 of 34 games... Considered offers from Arizona State, Houston and South Florida.
THOMAS GIPSON, 6-7, 245, Fr., Cedar Hill, Texas (Cedar Hill)
MARTIN ON: "Thomas is more of a big wide-body presence at the rim. He's a big, strong young man, who once he gets in our weight program will continue to evolve. As we were preparing for this year's recruiting class, we wanted to build depth on our frontline. We centered our focus on two frontline guys and we got exactly the two players we wanted in Adrian and Thomas."
GIPSON SAYS: "At first I wanted to stay in Texas, but I'm tired of Texas and wanted to come to another world. I like Frank Martin's style of play, his staff and the players seemed cool. They all play tough, physical and hard-nosed. To me, the Big 12 is the best Conference, so that excites me. I consider myself an under-sized post player, but with a heart and a desire to play. I was recruited as a power-forward, but right now am probably better with my back to the basket. I've never seen a game here, but I've seen them on TV and I know it's loud. I wanted to stay close to home for my mom, but she'll still get to see me play all the times we come down to Texas."
RESUME: Offers from Baylor, West Virginia, Tulane, SMU and Oklahoma State... Ranked No. 142 in the country by Rivals and among the top 35 at his position... Rated the No. 17 player in Texas... Helped his club to a 33-4 mark as a senior by averaging 15 points per game... Scored at least 10 points in 32 of 37 games.
OMARI LAWRENCE, 6-4, 220, Soph., Bronx, N.Y. (South Kent Prep/St. John's)
MARTIN ON: "Omari is going to give us another long, athletic guard on the perimeter to go with Rodney and Shane and now Jeremy. He was really highly recruited out of high school before selecting St. John's. There will be an adjustment period because he didn't play last year, but I think he has a tremendous upside and will be a great fit with our team."
LAWRENCE SAYS: "The coaching staff is what brought me here. I like Frank Martin's passion and aggression for the game, and how he gets players better. As for me, I'm more of a slasher. I like to get to the basket more than make a 3. I would call me a combo guard. Sitting out last year was extremely tough, but now I'm hungry to play. As long as I come in and work hard, I should be fine."
RESUME: Prepped at St. Raymond's High School in the Bronx, before ending his career at South Kent School in south Kent, Conn., in 2008-09 when he led his club to a 26-7 record and spot in the New England preparatory School title game... Averaged 14.1 points, 5.5 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game... A part of a South Kent team that sent seven players into Division I basketball... Had offers from Clemson, Auburn, Arizona, Memphis and Pittsburgh... First attended St. John's University in 2009-10 where he averaged 2.5 points in 25 games... Spent last year at Cloud County Community College, but did not play.
ANGEL RODRIGUEZ, 5-11, 165, Fr., Miami, Fla. (Krop)
MARTIN ON: "Angel has developed into one of the elite point guards in the country and is a perfect fit for our program. He is not only an incredible scorer and distributer of the basketball, he has the toughness and passion that we have come to expect in our players. It is always difficult to make an immediate impact from high school to college, but he has all the tools to make some noise on our basketball team next season."
RESUME: Rated as the No. 4 prospect in Florida by FloridaHoops.com... Prepped at Dr. Michael Krop High school... His school was ranked No. 11 in the country, but was disqualified from the state tournament for using an ineligible player all season... Averaged 23 points and six assists as a senior... Twice named first team All-Class 6A... Averaged 20.9 points and seven assists as a junior... Attended the same high school as former Wildcat Luis Colon, and was coached by Marcos "Shakey" Rodriguez... Played AAU ball for the Miami Tropics and Gold Coast... Offers from Louisville, Florida and N.C. State.
JAMES WATSON, 6-8, 225, Jr., Atoka, Okla. (Washington State / Cowley Community College)
MARTIN ON: "We think that James brings a tremendous amount experience to our basketball team. He not only has the knowledge of playing at Cowley, where he proved to be an effective scorer and rebounder, but also knows the highs and lows of playing Division I basketball while at Washington State. This experience will allow him to come and contribute right away in the frontcourt, where we are losing several key players."
WATSON SAYS: "They want me to play the 3-4 positions and I think I can contribute either place. I pretty much can do a lot of things... score, rebound, play defense and block shots. I really like the coaching staff and the teammates that I met. I wanted a coach who would make me better and Frank's the guy. I know they're expecting big things from me, and I'm expecting big things from me. I love the crowds... you can't even talk."
RESUME: Led his prep team to two Class B state titles... Named a "Super 5" by the Daily Oklahoman... Averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds as a junior... Attended Washington State in 2008-10, redshirting one season and playing in a total of 29 games as a reserve... Averaged 1.8 points per game... At Cowley County, was ranked the No. 43 prospect in the junior college ranks... Helped the Tigers to a 25-8 record with a 10.4 scoring average on 49 percent overall shooting and 33 percent from 3-point range... Offers from Georgia State and Oklahoma State.
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