K-State Returns Home To Face Colorado Wednesday
K-State Returns Home To Face Colorado Wednesday
Jan. 11, 2011
21/20 Kansas State (12-4, 0-1 Big 12)
vs. Colorado (12-4, 1-0 Big 12)
Date: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 | Tipoff: 8 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan. | Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (12,528) |
Live Stats: www.k-statesports.com | Internet: ESPN Full Court/ESPN3.com
Television: ESPNU (Dan McLaughlin, play-by-play; Kara Lawson, analyst; Lya Vallat, producer)
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst) |
Satellite Radio: SIRIUS 126
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International ‘93) is 84-36 (.700) in his fourth season as a head coach and at the school. Colorado - Tad Boyle (Kansas ‘85) is 68-70 (.492) in his fifth season as a head coach and 12-4 (.750) in first season at the school.
Series: K-State leads 96-44 (54-9 at home) | Martin vs. Colorado: 6-0 | Martin vs. Boyle: 0-0 | K-State vs. Big 12: 91-134
Last Time Out: K-State lost at Oklahoma State, 76-62, on Saturday, while Colorado knocked off Missouri, 89-76, at home, also on Saturday.
Rankings: K-State dropped to No. 21 in the AP and No. 20 in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 polls, while Colorado is not ranked in either poll.
Tickets: Limited number of GA tickets are available by calling the Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 221.CATS or online at www.k-statesports.com.
K-State returns home to face Colorado on Wednesday
No. 21/20 Kansas State (12-4, 0-1 Big 12) opens the Big 12 portion of its home schedule on Wednesday night, as the Wildcats host the surging Colorado Buffaloes (12-4, 1-0 Big 12) at Bramlage Coliseum at 8 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU with Dan McLaughlin (play-by-play) and Kara Lawson (analyst) on the call, while it will also be available on ESPN Full Court and on ESPN3.com.
K-State leads the all-time series with Colorado, 96-44, which dates back to 1933. The Wildcats have won nine consecutive games over the Buffaloes, including five in a row at home, which is the longest winning streak in the series since the team won 14 straight from 1977 to 1983. This will be the last meeting between the schools in Manhattan as conference foes, as Colorado heads to the Pac-12 in 2011-12. It will snap a stretch of 62 consecutive years that the schools have played, which dates to the 1947-48 season. The Wildcats are 54-9 at home, including a 15-7 mark in Bramlage Coliseum. The two teams have been nearly even since the start of Big 12 play with K-State holding a slight 16-14 edge.
The Wildcats have won three of their last four home conference openers, including an 88-65 win over Texas A&M last season. The team will be looking to win its home conference opener after dropping its league lifter on the road for the second consecutive season after losing at Missouri and then coming home to defeat the Aggies last season. This will mark the earliest meeting between the two schools since 1979.
K-State is looking to bounce back from Saturday’s disappointing 76-62 conference-opening loss at Oklahoma State, in which, the squad lost an eight-point lead in the last 9:26 of the contest. Leading 49-41 with just over nine minutes to play, the Cowboys scored eight consecutive points in just over a minute of play to tie the game then took their first lead since the 8:01 mark of the first half on a lay-up with 7:39 remaining. A pair of free throws by Marshall Moses would give OSU the lead for good with just over six minutes to play, as the Cowboys ended the game on a 35-13 run to earn their 11th consecutive win at Gallagher-Iba Arena over the Wildcats. The team went nearly eight minutes without a field goal (eight consecutive misses from the field to go with five turnovers) during a critical stretch from the 10:12 to the 2:17 mark of the second half, in which, OSU turned an eight-point deficit into a 10-point lead. After holding the Cowboys to just 28 points in the first half on 35.7 percent shooting, the Wildcats allowed them to scored 48 after halftime on 44 percent shooting, including 24 from the free throw line.
The 62 points against Oklahoma State were the fewest in a conference opener since scoring just 53 against Oklahoma on Jan. 10, 2009, while it was the third-fewest points scored this season. The 14-point loss was also the largest in a league opener since a 74-49 setback at Texas Tech in 2002. The Wildcats set season-lows for field goals attempted (45), offensive rebounds (12) and assists (six), while the 12 points in the paint were the fewest-ever by a Frank Martin-coached team surpassing the 14 scored against the Sooners in 2009 and Nebraska on Jan. 17, 2009. After averaging 90.7 points per game during its three-game winning streak, the scoring drought was reminicent of the back-to-back loss to Florida and UNLV, in which, the squad averaged just 51.5 points on 33.6 percent shooting, including 19.4 percent from 3-point range.
The squad, which has been plagued by turnovers this season, allowed Oklahoma State to convert 21 turnovers into 27 points, which is the most by an opponent under head coach Frank Martin. It marked the fifth time that the Wildcats have turned the ball over 20 or more times in a game, while it was the ninth time that the team registered a negative assist-to-turnover ratio. Although K-State has still managed to win five of those games, turnovers have been costly in the four defeats, where the team is yielding 21.3 points off of an average of 18.5 turnovers per contest. In contrast, the Wildcats are allowing just 12.6 points off of an average of 14.8 turnovers in their 12 victories.
Despite all the negatives surrounding the game, K-State is making progress in one area, free throw shooting. The team, which still ranks 333rd out of 336 teams at 57.7 percent, did connect on a season-best 77.4 percent (24-of-31) from the line against the Cowboys. It seems the extra practice time of late has helped, as the Wildcats are connecting on 73.9 percent (65-of-88) from the charity stripe in the last three games after connecting on just 54.3 percent (139-of-256) in the first 10 games of the season.
The Wildcats were once again led by the backcourt duo of senior Jacob Pullen and Rodney McGruder, who combined to score 39 of the team’s 62 points. Pullen, playing just his second game since missing three consecutive contests due to NCAA secondary rules violation, posted his fifth 20-point game of the season with a team-high 20 points. He was just 4-of-11 from the field, but did convert on 11-of-14 from the free throw line. It marked the 11th time in his 13 games played that he has led the team in scoring. McGruder, who is the only player to start in all 16 games, posted double figures for the 10th time, including the fourth time in the last five games, with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. He has connected on at least two 3-pointers in 12 games, including a career-high seven treys against UMKC on Dec. 23. It marked the seventh time this season that the two have scored in double figures, including back-to-back contests.
Pullen, along with fellow senior Curtis Kelly, were declared ineligible on Dec. 20 by K-State after athletic officials confirmed the two had received impermissible benefits on the purchase of clothing at a local department store. The school learned prior to the UNLV game on Dec. 21 that Pullen would be required to miss three games as a result of a ruling by the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff. The university announced on Dec. 28 that Kelly would miss six games due to his involvement and would be eligible to return against Texas Tech on Saturday, Jan. 15. The suspensions were disappointing for a Kansas State team counting on the leadership of its lone two seniors, most notably Pullen, who became the school’s first preseason All-American and was the coaches’ top pick as the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year. Pullen saw his streak of 115 consecutive games played end with the suspension, including 82 starts in a row. Kelly, who joined Pullen on the preseason All-Big 12 team, ranked third in scoring at 10.3 points per game before his suspension. He was named to several All-Newcomer teams as a junior in 2009-10.
The Wildcats are ranked No. 20 in the USA Today/ ESPN Coaches and No. 21 in The Associated Press Top 25 polls released on Monday morning after starting the year at No. 3 for their highest-ever preseason rankings in both polls. The No. 3 ranking was the highest in an AP poll in almost 50 years since the team ranked No. 3 on March 6, 1962. The squad fell out of the Top 10 on Dec. 20 for the first time in 13 consecutive polls since ranking No. 11 on Jan. 25, 2010. Overall, the school has appeared in 23 consecutive AP polls dating back to Dec. 14, 2009. K-State is 233-84 (.735) as a ranked team all-time in The Associated Press poll (which dates to 1949-50), including 0-0 (.000) as the 21st-ranked team.
The Book on Colorado
Colorado enters Wednesday’s game with a 12-4 overall record after the Buffaloes ran their homecourt record to a perfect 10-0 with a 89-76 win over No. 9 Missouri on Saturday. It was the squad’s first win over a Top 10 team in nearly seven years when the Buffaloes knocked off No. 3 Texas, 93-80. The team connected on 47.8 percent from the field against the Tigers to go with an impressive 19-of-23 effort from the free throw line. The most impressive stat came in the paint, where the Buffaloes held a 47-33 advantage in rebounds, while posting 44 points in the paint and a 16-9 edge in second-chance opportunities. Reigning Big 12 Player of the Week Alec Burks led four players in double figures with a career-high 36 points on 12-of-19 shooting, while senior Cory Higgins added a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. The squad has won 10 of their last 11 games, including a current five-game winning streak dating back to the Indiana game on Dec. 23. The team returns nine lettermen, including all five starters, from a squad that posted a 15-16 overall record, including a 6-10 mark in Big 12 play, in 2009-10.
The Buffaloes are averaging 85.1 points on 49.8 percent shooting from the field, including 36.2 percent from 3-point range, with 36.6 rebounds, 14.8 assists, 8.1 steals and 3.3 blocks per game. The squad ranks first in the Big 12 in both free throw percentage (78.0) and fewest turnovers per game (10.8), while they are second in scoring, field goal percentage, turnover margin (+4.38) and assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.36). They are led by the duo of Burks and Higgins, who both rank among the Big 12’s top 10 in scoring. Burks is averaging 20.1 points on 51 percent shooting to go with 4.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 29.1 minutes per game, while Higgins is averaging 16.7 points on 43.7 percent shooting to go with 3.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 30.4 minutes per game. Two others - Marcus Relphorde and Levi Knutson - also score in double figures at 11.9 and 11.2 points per game, while Austin Dufault adds 9.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per outing. Andre Roberson is top in rebounding at 7.4 per game.
Colorado is led by first-year coach Tad Boyle, who has guided the school to a 12-4 (.750) record. He has a 68-70 (.493) in three years as a head coach, which includes a two-year stint at Northern Colorado. He led the Bears to a 25-8 record and a second-place finish in the Big Sky last year.
Series vs. Colorado
This will be 141st meeting between K-State and Colorado on the hardwood and the 64th and final game in Manhattan. The two teams have played at least twice annually since 1948, but that will end in the current season as the Buffaloes head to the Pac-12 in 2011-12. The Wildcats hold a 96-44 all-time record in this series, including a 54-9 mark in games played in Manhattan. The two teams have been nearly even since the start of Big 12 play with K-State holding a slight 16-14 edge, however, the Wildcats have won nine consecutive in the series dating back to 2006, including five in a row at home. It is the longest winning streak in the series since the team won 14 straight from 1977 to 1983. Last season, K-State earned an 87-81 win at the Coors Events Center on Jan. 16 before posting a 68-51 victory at home on Feb. 13. Guard Jacob Pullen led the Wildcats in both victories with a team-high 18 points in the first meeting then another 15 in the final clash. Forward Jamar Samuels also played well in both outings a season ago, averaging 11.5 points on 80 percent shooting (8-of-10) from the field.
‘Cats in January
Kansas State will look to continue its strong play in the month of January this season, where the Wildcats have won 23 of their last 34 games. The squad is 369-307 (.545) all-time in January with 21 wins in their last 28 games at home in the month dating back to the 2004-05 season. K-State has won 17 of its last 27 Big 12 games in January dating back to 2006-07, including a 9-6 mark at home. The squad has won four or more games in the month in each of the last six seasons (the team posted five in 2010), including a perfect 6-0 mark in 2007-08. The Wildcats have posted a winning mark in January 59 times in school history, including a streak of eight straight seasons dating back to 2004-05.
K-State has been solid defensively this season, holding its opponents to 63.9 points per game on 39.7 percent shooting, including 32.2 percent from 3-point range, while forcing them into 17 turnovers per contest. The Wildcats have held 12 opponents to 65 points or less, including nine of the last 11, while holding nine foes to under 40 percent shooting from the field. The team also holds an impressive 10.3 rebounding margin against its foes, which ranks fifth nationally. The squad is averaging 42.2 rebounds per game, including 16.4 offensive rebounds, while holding its opponents to 31.9 rebounds per game. K-State leads the Big 12 in offensive rebounds, while it is second in both overall rebounds and margin. The squad has paced in the league in offensive rebounds in each of Frank Martin’s three seasons as head coach.
Topping the Century Mark
K-State posted perhaps its best shooting game this season on New Year’s Eve, as the Wildcats tallied its first 100-point game of the season and the first since the Xavier game in the NCAA Tournament with a 100-76 win over North Florida. It was the first regulation 100-point contest since the Gardner-Webb game on Dec. 14, 2008 and the fifth overall by a Frank Martin-coached team. The team set season-highs for field goal percentage (57.4; 35-of-61), 3-point field goal percentage (58.8; 10-of-17) and free throw percentage (76.9; 20-of-26). The squad also set season-bests for points (100), field goals (35), assists (26) and points in a half (57) and field goal percentage in a half (60.6; 20-of-33). It was the most assists in a contest in more than two years since the Wildcats had 30 dimes against Gardner-Webb on Dec. 14, 2008. All this offensive production was even more impressive because it came without three starters, as seniors Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly sat out their third consecutive game due to secondary NCAA rules violations, while junior Freddy Asprilla was out due to illness.
Young ‘Cats Step Up
Even before the suspension of seniors Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly before the UNLV game on Dec. 21, the play of Kansas State’s freshmen and sophomores have played a major role in the team’s solid 12-4 start to the season. This nucleus has scored 625 of the team’s 1199 points thus far (52 percent), while posting 336 of 675 rebounds (50 percent), 137 of 240 assists (57 percent) and 52 of 105 steals (50 percent). The group boasts six of the team’s Top 10 scorers, while it includes three of the Top 5 rebounders and four of the Top 5 assists leaders. Twenty-four of the team’s 51 double-digit scoring efforts have come from sophomores and freshmen led by guard Rodney McGruder, who is second on the squad in double-figure scoring games with 10. He paces the team in 3-point field goals (38) and rebounding (6.6 rpg.), while he is second in scoring (11.9 ppg.), field goals (68), steals (15) and minutes played (28.5 mpg.). Fellow sophomores Wally Judge and Martavious Irving rank fifth and sixth, respectively, in scoring at 6.5 and 5.9 points per game, while true freshman Will Spradling is seventh in scoring at 5.5 points per game and second in assists (2.1 apg.) and free throw percentage (84.0). Judge has claimed two of the team’s three double-doubles (including two in the last four games), while Spradling is just the second rookie guard to earn a start under head coach Frank Martin.
This group was even more impressive during Pullen’s three-game suspension (UNLV, UMKC and North Florida games), as the Wildcats averaged nearly 80 points per game (79.7 ppg.), including the school’s first 100-point game of the season, while connecting on 46 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range. During this period, the team started three sophomores, one true freshman and one junior with three of the four double-digit scorers being either sophomores or freshmen led by McGruder’s 14.7 points per game.
One of the definite advantage of this year’s Kansas State squad is its depth and versatility. The Wildcats have played at least 10 players in each of its first 16 games, including a high of 14 against No. 18/22 Gonzaga (11/22), Texas Southern (11/26), Emporia State (11/29) and Alcorn State (12/6). The team has used this depth to its advantage, averaging 26.3 points per game off the bench, while out-scoring its 16 foes by a margin of 421-228. The squad has scored 20 or more points from the bench in 12 of 16 games, including a string of five straight games of at least 30 points from Nov. 16-26 for the first time under head coach Frank Martin, while it posted 40 or more points of production in back-to-back contests for just the second time under Martin and the first time since 2008-09. The Wildcats scored 86 points from the bench against Duke (45) and Texas Southern (41), which is the most in consecutive games since they totaled 104 points in games against Idaho State (45, 1/3/09) and Chicago State (59, 1/5/09). The team has seen 12 different players record 51 double-digit scoring efforts this season, including 16 coming off the bench from seven separate players. Junior Jamar Samuels leads the way with six double-digit scoring efforts from the bench.
Points Off Turnovers
A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams are their ability to score points off of opponent’s mistakes. Since he became coach, the Wildcats have scored 2,259 points off of 2,003 turnovers in 120 games, an average of 18.8 points per game. Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in the past four years have come off of offense generated from turnovers, including the current season, in which, the team has outscored its foes, 283-236. The squad has scored 20 or more points off of turnovers in five games, including a season-best 33 points against Emporia State on Nov. 29. The team has pressured their foes into 15 or more turnovers in 11 games, including a season-high 26 vs. James Madison on Nov. 12. Before the North Florida game on New Year’s Eve, the Wildcats were one of just four schools (Louisville, Washington and Cincinnati) to force each of their opponents into more turnovers than assists in every game. The team’s streak of 17 consecutive games (which led the nation) holding a foe to more turnovers than assists ended on Dec. 31 when the Ospreys tallied 14 assists to just 11 turnovers. It marked the first positive opponent assist-to-turnover ratio since Kansas had 16 assists and 11 turnovers in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on March 13, 2010.
Pullen Moving Up the Charts
Senior Jacob Pullen is nearing several career milestone in the midst of his final season at K-State. In his return from a 3-game suspension to NCAA rules violations, he became the first Wildcat since Askia Jones in 1994 to eclipse the 1,700-point barrier in a career with his team-high 24-point effort vs. Savannah State. His current total of 1,732 points in 117 career games ranks fourth all-time and is less than 150 points behind Rolando Blackman (1,844, 1977-81)and Askia Jones (1,834, 1989-94), who rank second and third, respectively. He has an outside chance (needs 383 points) to become the school’s all-time scoring champion, which is currently held by Mike Evans with 2,115 points from 1974-78.
Pullen ranks among the Top 10 in 19 career categories, including 14 in the Top 5 in school history. Already the school’s career record holder for 3-point field goal attempted (712), he became the leader in 3-point field goals (now at 251) in the win over Emporia State on Nov. 29 with four treys, breaking his second-place tie with Askia Jones (237, 1989-94) and passing former leader Steve Henson (240, 1987-90). His next record could come in steals, where his 183 career thefts trail Henson by seven. With his six makes against Florida on Dec. 11, he became the first Wildcat since Bob Boozer (1956-59) to connect on 400 free throws in a career. He ranks second in free throws attempted (543), third in assists (389), double-digit scoring games (87), minutes (3,359) and consecutive starts (82), fourth in starts (98) and fifth in field goals made (533) and attempted (1,319). In addition, he is the first player in school history to be named team captain three consecutive years.
Pullen Named Preseason AP All-American
Senior guard Jacob Pullen became the first Wildcat to earn preseason All-American honors from the Associated Press, as he was named first team selection by the organization in early November. Pullen, who has been selected to a number of All-American teams, was joined on the first team by North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, BYU’s Jimmer Fredette, Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson and Duke’s Kyle Singler. He was an honorable mention AP All-American as a junior after leading Kansas State to its first Elite Eight since 1988. He was already been named a preseason All-American by a number of media outlets, including to the first team by ESPN.com, Blue Ribbon Yearbook and The Sporting News, to the second team by Dick Vitale and to the third team by Athlon Sports. He was also selected a preseason Top 50 candidate for the Wooden Award, given to the nation’s top player by the Los Angeles Athletic Club, while he was named one of 50 preseason candidates for the Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T on Nov. 16. Pullen is also a candidate for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, given to the nation’s top all-around senior basketball player.
McGruder Takes Off
Sophomore Rodney McGruder has been one of the team’s most consistent all-around players this season, averaging 11.9 points on 47 percent shooting, including 41.8 percent from 3-point range, to go with a team-best 6.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 0.9 steals in 28.5 minutes per game. The only player to start all 16 games, McGruder also paces the team in 3-point field goals (38), while he is second in scoring, double-digit scoring games (10), field goals (68), steals (15) and minutes. He had a career day against UMKC on Dec. 23, setting highs in five categories, including points (24), field goals (eight), field goals attempted (14), 3-point field goals (seven) and 3-point field goals attempted. His seven treys tied 10 others players for the fourth-most in a single-game in school history, while he was the first to do it since Jacob Pullen had seven against BYU in the NCAA Tournament. Despite the presence of the school’s all-time leader in Pullen, McGruder has been the team’s best long range threat with at least two makes from 3-point range in 12 of his 16 games. All of 6-foot-4, he has also been the best rebounder, posting at least five boards in 13 contests, including a career-high 10 against UNLV on Dec. 21. He has led the team in department on eight occasions.
From Reserve to Starter
A reserve for much of his career, junior Jamar Samuels has made the most of his three consecutive starts against North Florida, Savannah State and Oklahoma State. The reigning Big 12 Sixth Man Award winner, he is averaging 15 points in the span on 58.6 percent shooting (17-of-29), including 50 percent (3-of-6) from beyond the arc, to go with 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 23.3 minutes per game. Pressed into the starting line-up against North Florida due to an illness by Freddy Asprilla, he earned his first start since the first game of his sophomore season with perhaps his best offensive day. He posted just his second 20-point game of his career, as he came up just one short of his career-high of 27 against Oklahoma State last season at the Big 12 Championships. He went 11-of-15 from the field against Ospreys, including 2-of-3 effort from 3-point range, to go with five assists in 23 minutes. He followed that up with an 11-point effort against Savannah State. For the season, he is averaging 9.9 points and 5.9 rebounds in 22.6 minutes per game. He has eight double-digit scoring efforts, including six off the bench.
Here Comes the Judge
Sophomore Wally Judge has started to come into his own in the past four games, where he is averaging 13.3 points on 40.5 percent shooting to go with a team-best 9.5 rebounds per game. A starter in the team’s first seven games, he was hampered by personal issues for much of late November and December, but has seemed to have come out of it a stronger player. Pressed back into the line-up after the suspension of senior Curtis Kelly, Judge responded with his first career double-double against UMKC on Dec. 23 with 14 points and 11 rebounds in just 25 minutes. He turned in a career day against North Florida on Dec. 31 with a career-high 22 points on 6-of-9 field goals to go with a team-high nine rebounds in a career-best 30 minutes. He was also impressive from the free throw line, connecting on 10-of-13 shots, which marked not only a career-high but also the most by a Wildcat. He continued his strong play against Savannah State with yet another double-double with 13 points and a career-best 14 rebounds. He has 53 points and 38 rebounds in the past four games compared to just 32 points and 21 rebounds in his previous nine.
Coaching Staff Continuity
One of the main reasons that Kansas State has been able to win a school-record 72 games over the past three seasons has been its ability to not only keep head coach Frank Martin, who earned a new multi-year contract through the 2014-15 season during the off-season, but his entire staff, which includes associate head coach Dalonte Hill, assistants Matt Figger and Brad Underwood, director of operations Andy Assaley and strength coach Scott Greenawalt. K-State is one of just two Big 12 schools (other being Missouri) to have kept their entire staff together for the last four seasons. This has enabled the Wildcats to post 72 wins the past three seasons, which is the most by a coaching staff in their first three seasons and the most-ever by the school in that span. They are the first staff to post three consecutive 20-win seasons since 1979-82 and just the second group to guide K-State to the postseason in each of their first three seasons. The staff has also captured 30 Big 12 wins in last three years, which ties Jack Hartman’s staff from 1970-73 for the most in a three-year period. They have also helped make the K-State one of just two in the Big 12 to finish in the top-4 in the league standings and receive a bye at the Big 12 Championship each of the past three years.
Season Tickets Sold Out
With preseason expectations for K-State at a near all-time high, officials announced on Oct. 22 that all reserved tickets for the 2010-11 season have been sold. K-State has sold over 12,000 season tickets to the general public and students, surpassing last year’s total by over 750 tickets. The school has ranked among the nation’s leaders in attendance in three of the last four seasons, including ranking 31st with an average of 11,884 fans per game to 17 home games in 2009-10. The team also ranked fourth in attendance among Big 12 institutions and was second only to Kansas in sellouts with 14. In addition, the school enjoyed the nation’s largest average attendance increase with nearly 3,000 more fans per game. Three of the top-5 single-season attendance averages have come in the last four years.
Diaz, Gipson Sign with K-State for 2011-12
Head coach Frank Martin announced the signing of high school standouts Adrian Diaz (Miami, Fla./Hialeah-Miami Lakes) and Thomas Gipson (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill) to National Letters of Intent on Nov. 14. Both players are listed on the Rivals150 by Rivals.com with the 6-foot-7, 245-pound Gipson listed at No. 142 and the 6-foot-11, 220-pound Diaz checking in at No. 145.
An emerging post prospect, Diaz is currently a senior at Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School in Hialeah, Fla. As a junior, he averaged 13 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Trojans, which posted a 5-15 overall record and 3-7 mark in league play in 2009-10. He was named preseason honorable mention all-state by FloridaHoops.com. He will be the third member of his family to play college basketball, following his brothers, Eric, who played at Eckerd College, and Andres (Andy), who currently is a sophomore forward at North Florida. He received scholarship offers from a variety of schools, including Virginia Tech, South Florida and FIU, along with interest from Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Syracuse.
Rated as the 13th-best prospect in the state of Texas by TexasHoops.com, Gipson is currently a senior at Cedar Hill High School in Cedar Hill, Texas. As a junior, he led the team in scoring (16 ppg.) and rebounding (7.2 rpg.) en route to helping the Longhorns to a 28-4 overall record and a trip to the area round of the 2010 UIL (University Interscholastic League) Class 5A Tournament. The team ranked as high as No. 6 in the TABC Class 5A state poll before losing to Lewisville, 84-82, in the area-round playoffs. Gipson was a TABC first team Class 5A All-State selection and was co-MVP of District 7-5A. He helped Cedar Hill to the 2009 Class 5A state final as a sophomore where he averaged 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He was named first team All-Area by the Dallas Morning News and was the District 7-5A Sophomore of the Year.