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K-State Basketball Celebrates its 2013-14 Season
April 16, 2014
By Kelly McHugh
Yesterday evening, the K-State men's basketball team celebrated its 2013-14 season one last time at its end-of-the-year banquet.
It was an evening filled with reminiscing over the past year, and was highlighted with individual awards that recognized not only the Wildcats' successes on the court, but off the court as well.
"As we look back on this season, the thing I'm proud about with this group of student-athletes is that they had a lot of opportunities to give up, right?" said K-State athletics director John Currie as he opened the banquet. "They had a lot of really good excuses. This group had a lot of opportunities to quit and not to stick together, but instead, what they did was work hard throughout the season. They continued to support each other and continued to build."
Who could forget the Wildcats' home opener loss to Northern Colorado? While the year may not have began exactly how the team had hoped, the young 2013-14 roster sure gave critics a run for their money.
From Nov. 24, 2013 to January 7, 2014, the Wildcats went on a thrilling 10-game winning streak, and then went on to earn back-to-back wins over the No. 15 Texas and rival and No.7 Kansas at home in February. The 2013-14 season saw the Cats winning 15-straight home games - a Bramlage Coliseum best - and the season concluded with the Wildcats making their 28th appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the school-record fifth consecutive season.
"For me, what I'll remember about this group is exactly what John (Currie) talked about," said Voice of the Wildcats, Wyatt Thompson. "That is, that they had excuses but they didn't take them, they kept fighting. That all starts with the man at the top, Coach Bruce Weber."
With that, everyone in attendance applauded K-State's head coach who has seen 47 wins in his two seasons as the men's basketball coach.
"There's no better place than K-State," Weber began, "I always talk about Coach (Bill) Snyder's quote, how he came because of the people and stayed because of the people and returned because of the people, and I think that's so true. We have great fans and we really, really appreciate you.
"This is a celebration of a very successful season, and if you had any expectations before the season, after the first couple of weeks they were probably gone, but after that, to the credit of our players and our seniors, they came together and through their dedication, commitment and togetherness they helped us survive that start and have a great season. There were a lot of cool games, big wins and we really got a lot out of our players."
Highlighting the awards portion of the evening was, no doubt, freshman Marcus Foster. The talented freshman guard from Wichita Falls, Texas, was among the nation's most talented freshmen last season. For his successes on the court, he earned co-winner of the Rolando Blackman Team Most Valuable Player award with teammate junior forward Thomas Gipson.
Foster and Gipson were both team leaders last season, but in separate ways.
Foster, who was also the recipient of the team's Tex Winter Top Offensive Player Award and the Dean Harris Newcomer of the Year Award, made his mark in K-State history as he was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team and joined Michael Beasley as the Wildcats only true freshman in school history to earn All-Big 12 honors. Foster, who finished the season leading K-State in seven categories, including scoring (15.5 points per game) and double digit games (27), also earned a spot on the Big 12's All-Newcomer team.
During the course of his junior campaign, Gipson showed poise both on and off the court in his ability to lead last year's young squad through adversity. Not only was he a key team leader, but he also led the team in field goal percentage (56.2) and rebounding where he averaged 6.5 rebounds per game. Along with the Most Valuable Player Honors, Gipson earned the Bob Boozer Courage Award.
Along with Foster and Gipson's honors, the Wildcats celebrated the following awards as well:
The Fort Riley "Never Broken" Award went to sophomore D.J. Johnson and was presented by Ft. Riley's 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery regiment.
The Ernie Barrett Play Hard Award was presented by Mr. K-State himself, Ernie Barrett, to senior guard Will Spradling.
The Keith Anderson Academic Award was presented to sophomore guard Brian Rohleder for the third consecutive year by K-State's Liane Fowler.
The Porky Morgan Most Inspirational Award was presented to senior guard Ryan Schultz by men's basketball sports medicine coordinator Brandon Yoder.
The Ed Nealy Most Improved Award was presented to junior forward Nino Williams by assistant coach Chester Frazier.
The Jack Hartman Top Defensive Player Award was presented to freshman forward Wesley Iwundu by associate head coach Chris Lowery.
The Mitch Richmond Mr. Basketball Award was presented to senior forward Shane Southwell by head coach Bruce Weber.
For more information on each award and each recipient, click here.
K-State's Thomas Gipson and Marcus Foster accept the Rolando Blackman MVP Award from head coach Bruce Weber during the 2013-14 Men's Basketball Banquet at the West Stadium Center in Manhattan, Kansas on April 15, 2014. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)