Men’s Basketball Holds Scrimmage Prior to Europe Trip


MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State men’s basketball team played a spirited scrimmage on Saturday afternoon at Bramlage Coliseum, as it made final preparations for its 10-day trip to Italy and Switzerland.

Utilizing FIBA (International Basketball Federation) rules for the scrimmage, including a 24-second shot clock and quarter system, the team alternated between Black and Gray squads playing three, 8-minute quarters. The Black squad won the first quarter, 22-11, before the Gray won the second and third quarters, 17-14 and 20-16.

“It was great to get our guys out here playing in front of a crowd,” said head coach Bruce Weber. “Obviously, they have gone through a number of workouts and practices this summer in an empty gym, so there were some nerves to start. However, I thought everyone settled down and you can obviously see the improvement that Wes (Iwundu), D.J. (Johnson), Dean (Wade), Carlbe (Ervin) and others have made this summer.”

Senior Wesley Iwundu combined to score 17 points and grab 9 rebounds during the scrimmage, leading all Wildcats in both categories. He also showed off his work this summer on his long range shooting, which included three 3-point field goals. Sophomore Barry Brown (14 points) was among four others who registered double figures in the scrimmage, along with senior D.J. Johnson (11), redshirt freshman Isaiah Maurice (11) and sophomore Kamau Stokes (10). 

Three others – senior Carlbe Ervin II, sophomore Dean Wade and freshman Brian Patrick – each chipped in 8 points.

Johnson corralled 7 rebounds to go with his 11 points, while Ervin and redshirt freshman Dante Williams grabbed 6 boards each. The Wildcats also displayed their expected improvement in the front court with 7 total blocks, including 3 from 6-foot-11 freshman big man James Love III, who added 2 points and 4 rebounds.

“Overall, it was a great opportunity to interact with our fans,” said Weber. “We appreciate them coming to watch us on a Saturday in August. Our guys are about to go through an experience of a lifetime. There will be good times and challenging times, but this trip will be an important opportunity for us to continue our development as a team.”

K-State will embark Monday morning on its 10-day trip where it will fly from Kansas City to Atlanta before arriving in Rome on Tuesday morning. During its excursion, the team will tour the Italian cities of Rome, Siena, Florence, Mestre, Venice, Verona and Lake Como as well as Vatican City before concluding the journey in Montreux, Lausanne and Lake Geneva, Switzerland on August 19. In addition to the cultural opportunities the tour will provide, the Wildcats will compete against various club, select and national teams, including LCC International University [August 10], BC Silute [August 11], Italian Select [August 13] the Kosovo National Team [August 16] and BBC Lausanne [August 18].

For updates on its trip abroad, fans can follow along here as well as on all of K-State social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat).

The NCAA permits teams to make an international trip once every four years and this will be the first by the men’s basketball team since Weber’s inaugural season of 2012 when it played four games in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Overall, this will be the program’s fifth trip outside the country, which includes excursions to Japan in 1981, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden in 1993 and Vancouver, British Columbia in 2004.

The Wildcats return a veteran roster in 2016-17 with nine returning lettermen, highlighted by All-Big 12 Third Team selection Wesley Iwundu and All-Newcomer honorees Barry Brown and Dean Wade. Overall, the squad returns five of their top six scorers from last season, along with nearly 70 percent of its rebounding, assist, steal and minute totals. Iwundu (11.9 ppg., 4.5 rpg.) is the team’s top returner in scoring, assists and steals, while rising senior D.J. Johnson (9.3 ppg., 5.2 rpg.) is the leader among three returning players (along with Iwundu and Wade) who averaged better than 4 rebounds per contest a season ago.

The squad will also be boosted by the return of a healthy Kamau Stokes, who started 20 of the first 21 games before a knee injury sidelined him for the rest of the year, as well as the continued development of redshirt freshmen Isaiah Maurice and Dante Williams, who measure at 6-foot-10 and 7-foot, respectively. 

Season tickets for the 2016-17 season for the 18-game home schedule are now available and can be purchased in a variety of ways, including toll free at (800) 221.CATS (2287), online at www.kstatesports.com/tickets and in-person at the Athletics Ticket Office located in Bramlage Coliseum.