October 23, 2013
By Kelly McHugh
Basketball season is right around the corner, and yesterday at the Big 12 Men's Basketball Media Day at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., you could fell the upcoming season in the air.
Coaches and select players from each team in the Big 12 Conference met with media nation-wide to talk about the upcoming 2013-14 basketball season.
Along with head coach Bruce Weber, K-State, picked fifth in the Big 12 in preseason polls, brought seniors Shane Southwell and Will Spradling and junior Thomas Gipson to attend the day-long event.
"They do a great job, the conference does, and for me it's been a pleasant surprise coming into this league," Weber said about his experience at the media day. "They do a good job of really promoting the league, and great exposure only helps us in the long run with recruiting and everything."
After arriving in style, Southwell, Spradling and Gipson spent some time in the Sprint Center's green room, where they could relax and interact with other players while Weber spent time interviewing with FOX Sports 1, ESPN, SiriusXM and the Big 12 Network.
"I think my favorite part is being with my teammates Will and Thomas," Southwell said. "It's been a fun experience, but also seeing some of the guys that I known growing up playing basketball like Juwan Staten from West Virginia, Gary Franklin from Baylor, so it's been a good experience and I'm really thankful for my opportunity to be here."
Having a little fun with the day, Southwell, Spradling and Gipson took over the K-State Sports Twitter account. From posing for pictures to making their own videos, the trio also had a little fun interviewing ESPN on-air personalities, Holly Rowe and Fran Fraschilla.
Spradling asked Rowe how she prepared for game days.
"I prepare by getting to know the players, I've gotten to know about Will working on being a point guard, I've learned about Thomas losing some weight on the Lithuanian diet, so that's how I prepare," Rowe laughed.
Southwell overheard Fraschilla talking about how much he loved eating at Manhattan's Varsity Donuts, so in his interview Southwell decided to ask Fraschilla where he likes to eat when visiting the Little Apple.
"I would say Varsity Donuts, but that's not really a restaurant," Fraschilla laughed. "I would have to say McAlister's, good sandwiches, good soup, the oatmeal cookies are good, and it's right on the way to Bramlage."
Along with the fun of getting to know Fraschilla and Rowe, Southwell, Spradling and Gipson also spent time sharing their stories and thoughts on the upcoming season with the various media outlets.
"It's pretty cool so far, we've been having fun talking to other people and players," Gipson said before he headed into a breakout interview session with the media. "Having this bond with Will and Shane, it's been pretty cool. People ask us questions every day, so (Media Day) just helps with my interviewing skills."
For everyone, spending the day talking about the upcoming season makes the eagerness to get back on the court and play even more apparent.
For Weber, the opportunity to gain greater publicity for K-State and the entire Big 12 through the Media Day was nothing but positive.
"I don't know if there's a favorite part of the day because it just goes on with one interview to the next, but you know, I'm just happy that people have questions to ask along with the exposure for our program and for the league," he said.
There's a little over a week between now and K-State men's basketball's first game of 2013 as the Wildcats will take the court of Bramlage Coliseum at 8 p.m. on Nov. 1 with a matchup against Pittsburg State.
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 Kelly McHugh, Mark Janssen or K-State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.