Hoopsters Meet the Press

MINOR SCAR: K-State freshman Wally Judge was wearing a Band-Aid under his left eye with the explanation, "Jamar bit me!" And, it was the truth. "It was a drive to the middle and I had him beat, but somehow he snagged me with the bottom row of his teeth. It shows how competitive these practices are." Stitches, Wally?  "No, it wasn't that deep. It was just a warrior scar." MAJOR SCAR: Judge, a Wildcat sophomore, was cut far more severely in July when he had spinal surgery in Kansas City. Judge said, "It was due to a birth defect. I got bumped in the McDonalds's (All-American) Game and after that is when they found it, but they didn't think it was that serious." Playing  through and off-and-on painful freshman season when he averaged 3.3 points and 3.0 rebounds after coming in as a McDonald's All-American, the pain became more severe this spring during individual practices.  As Judge explained it, "I went up for a dunk and my legs just gave out when I landed. It happened twice in a row where I came down and my legs felt like noodles, so I went to the trainer to get it checked out and they found out my spinal column was narrow and it was affecting some of my nerves." Team trainer Brandon Yoder explained that Judge had spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal column, which can put pressure on the spinal nerves. "They went through the front of his neck and took a bone graph to give the spinal cord more room to move around," said Yoder. "It was obvious that down the road this would continue to bother him. Our number one priority is a player's safety and health." Doctors went as far to tell Judge that had he been a football player, his career would have been over. What Judge says hurt him the most was "... missing some valuable time. The off-season is the best time to try to get better. That's when you push yourself to your limit, so I hated missing that time. But I'm back now and stronger than ever before."  He says there has been no irritation of the nerves, which last winter created a loss of muscle mass. Now, his attitude is one of "... it happened, it's over and now it's time to get better and build on it. It's not going to affect my competitive nature." MOST IMPROVED 'CAT: Coach Deb Patterson says that Jalana Childs is "... close to a 180 from where she was a year ago. A year ago she was a player with good intentions mentally and physically, but she wasn't consistently prepared to back that up. She did not have the confidence and the assertiveness that she brings to the floor now." TWO MORE SURGERIES: Shalin Spani will be on the KSU roster this season, but will not play. The Wildcat senior had major surgery during the summer, and then ACL surgery last month. Spani has now gone through seven surgeries on her knees dating back to her high school days at Metro Academy in Kansas City. NEW CAT: K-State coach Frank Martin announced that Devon Peterson has been added to the Wildcat team as a walk-on. A 6-foot-3 guard from Brooklyn, N.Y., Peterson is a junior with two years to play after transferring from Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Peterson, who had committed to K-State two years ago but was not academically eligible, helped Lincoln High School to three New York City League championships in 2005, 2006 and 2007, plus was a state champion in his senior season when he was the tournament MVP. HOOP TIME: Exhibition games tip off next week. For the men, K-State hosts Newman at 7 p.m. Tuesday, followed by Washburn on Sunday, Nov. 7 at 2:30. The regular season opens on Nov. 12 against James Madison in Bramlage Coliseum. For the women, the Wildcats host Fort Hays State on Thursday at 7 p.m., and Washburn on Monday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. Playing for real begins with the Commerce Classic on Nov. 12-13 with Grambling, Marist and St. John's completing the tourney field.