SE: Meet the Newcomers | Dean Wade
SE: Meet the Newcomers | Dean Wade
This year’s Wildcat men’s basketball team is filled with new faces of players from around the nation. Coming to K-State from coast to coast, these 10 newcomers each bring unique playing styles and personalities to this year’s Wildcat squad. Tune in every other Tuesday as K-State Sports Extra, partnered with K-StateHD.TV, shares their stories.
K-State men’s basketball freshman Dean Wade may be from a small town, but he brings a big game to the court.
When the 6-foot-10 forward from St. John, Kansas, arrived at K-State earlier this summer, he was quick to make an impact.
“I play hard,” said Wade when asked to describe his playing style. “I’m pretty versatile: I can shoot, I can dribble and I like defense. I take pride in my defense.”
After a stellar four-year career at St. John High School, Wade was considered the top high school basketball player in the state of Kansas. He was selected as one of just 30 high school seniors from around the nation to the 2015 PARADE All-America Boys Basketball team and was named the Gatorade Kansas Player of the Year and Mr. Kansas Basketball by the KBCA.
During his high school career, Wade led the St. John Tigers to an 86-6 overall record, including three state championships and consecutive perfect 26-0 seasons in both 2013-14 and 2014-15. He averaged 21.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.4 blocks, 2.9 steals and 2.8 assists per game during his 2A high school career.
Though he played at a small school, the transition to major college basketball hasn’t been as difficult as Wade thought it would be.
“It’s not really that big of a deal because I played AAU against some of the top talent in the nation and I did fine,” Wade explained. “The biggest difference is just the physicality and the speed of the game, but once you get that transition, it’s all pretty normal.”
Wade was a star on the Mid-Kansas AAU team where he helped the squad to the title game of the Great American Shootout in Dallas after scoring 30 points.
K-State head coach Bruce Weber agreed with Wade saying the young forward’s experience with his AAU program has been a helpful tool in his transition to the next level of basketball.
So far, Weber likes what he’s seen from the small-town Kansas kid.
“We’ve got guys from way bigger cities and way different cultures than he’s used to but he’s really blended in well,” said Weber. “He gets along with everybody. He’s gained close to 25 pounds since he’s got here and his strength has gotten better. He’s been a nice surprise for us and he’s done a great job.”
And it isn’t just Weber who is surprised with how well Wade has adjusted.
“We all thought the same thing, ‘Oh, he’s from small-town Kansas,’ but he’s actually been doing some incredible stuff in practice and has surprised a lot of us,” said junior guard Wesley Iwundu. “We think he’s ready to show what he’s got. He’s definitely going to be a big piece of the puzzle and make an impact his freshman year.”
Wade is Bruce Weber’s first in-state signee and the first player from the state of Kansas to sign with the Wildcat men’s basketball team since Will Spradling and Nino Williams in 2010.
He may be one of 10 new faces, but Wade has been working hard to stand out on the court and in the weight room before the 2015-16 season tips off.
“You have to bring your best every day in practice,” said Wade. “In high school you could slack off a couple of days, but here you can’t do that. You have to bring your ‘A’ game every day or you’re going to lose your spot.”
K-State will host a second open scrimmage at 3:30 p.m., on Saturday, Oct. 24, at Bramlage Coliseum. The team will scrimmage for 45 minutes, which will be followed by a 30-minute autograph session. Fans can also pick up team posters and schedule cards at the event.
The Wildcats tip off the 2015-16 season with a pair of exhibition games – Emporia State on Friday, Oct. 30, and Fort Hays State on Friday, Nov. 6 – in Bramlage Coliseum. The Cats will host Maryland-Eastern Shore on Friday, Nov. 13, for the first game of the regular season.
“I cannot wait. I’ve been itching to get out there since I got here,” said Wade with a smile about playing in Bramlage Coliseum. “I can’t wait for the games to come. They’re finally almost here, and I’m so ready for it.”
Single-game tickets for the 19-game home schedule, excluding the Kansas game, went on sale to the public on Oct. 5, including the new Bramlage Bundle. Several season ticket packages as well as the Holiday and 6-game Mini-Plans are also currently on sale.
Fans can purchase tickets 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.
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-Stewart or K-State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.