'Cats Head South to Face Aggies Saturday
'Cats Head South to Face Aggies Saturday
Kansas State (15-7, 4-4 Big 12) at
Texas A&M (17-6, 3-5 Big 12)
Date: Saturday, Feburary 7, 2009
Tipoff: 3:01 p.m. CT
Location: College Station, Texas
Arena: Reed Arena (1998)
Series: K-State leads 13-6
(Texas A&M is 5-1 at home)
Television: Big 12 Network/ESPN Full Court/ESPN360.com
Dave Armstrong (play-by-play)
Reid Gettys (analyst)
Jim Feldman (producer)
Paul Byckowski (director)
Channels: KMCI (Kansas City), KSNT (Topeka), KMTW (Wichita)
Radio: K-State Sports Network; Powercat Passport Internet Audio;
Yahoo! Internet Radio; Sirius Satellite 147
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)
Stan Weber (analyst)
Tickets: Available for $20, $24, $26, $30, $32 by calling 888.992.4443
Kansas State Wildcats
Record: 15-7 (4-4 Big 12)
Ranking (AP/Coaches): RV/--
Coach: Frank Martin
Alma Mater: Florida International, 93
Career Record: 36-19/1
School Record: 36-19/1
vs. Texas A&M: 1-1
07-08 Record: 21-12 (10-6 Big 12)
Last game: Feb. 3, 2009
Defeated Iowa State, 65-50
SID: Tom Gilbert
Texas A&M Aggies
Record: 17-6 (3-5 Big 12)
Ranking (AP/Coaches): --/--
Coach: Mark Turgeon
Alma Mater: Kansas, 87
Career Record: 195-136/11
School Record: 42-17/2
vs. Kansas State: 3-3
07-08 Record: 25-11 (8-8 Big 12)
Last game: Feb. 4, 2009
Lost at 4/5 Oklahoma, 77-71
SID: Colin Killian
Kansas State (15-7, 4-4 Big 12)
G - #0 Jacob Pullen (6-0, 200, So.)
G - #21 Denis Clemente (6-1, 175, Jr.)
F - #23 Dominique Sutton (6-5, 210, So.)
F - #42 Darren Kent (6-11, 230, Sr.)
F - #15 Luis Colon (6-10, 265, Jr.)
Texas A&M (17-6, 3-5 Big 12)
G - #3 Derrick Roland (6-4, 185, Jr.)
G - #15 Donald Sloan (6-3, 205, Jr.)
F - #00 Bryan Davis (6-9, 240, Jr.)
F - #23 Josh Carter (6-7, 200, Sr.)
C - #41 Chinemelu Elonu (6-10, 235, Jr.)
Kansas State (15-7, 4-4 Big 12) will make its second trip to the Lone Star State in a week on Saturday afternoon, as the Wildcats face Texas A&M (17-6, 3-5 Big 12) at Reed Arena at 3:01 p.m. K-State evened its conference record to 4-4 in league play on Tuesday, as the team used a strong defensive effort to post a 65-50 win over Iowa State at home. The Wildcats will look to continue their good fortune in the state of Texas, as they knocked off No. 11 Texas, 85-81, in overtime last Saturday to end the Longhorns’ 19-game homecourt winning streak. The team owns a 13-6 advantage in the all-time series with the Aggies, but has just one win in six visits to College Station. The Wildcats have lost three straight in Reed Arena with the last win coming on Jan. 6, 2001. The Wildcats will be looking to win three consecutive road Big 12 games for the first time since 2007 and for just the second time since the inception of the league.
Kansas State ran its winning streak to four games on Tuesday, as the Wildcats used a 17-5 run over the last seven minutes of the game to post a 65-50 win over Iowa State. The squad has now won six in a row over the Cyclones dating back to 2006 and eight consecutive in the series at home since 2002. The Wildcats used their tenacious defense to grind out the win, as they held Iowa State to 50 points on 32.7 percent shooting, including 23.8 percent from 3-point range. It marked the seventh time this season that the team has held a foe to a score in the 50s, while it marked the second-fewest this year and lowest since holding Gardner-Webb (12/14/08) to 48 points. The 50 points were also the fewest in a Big 12 regular-season contest since holding Nebraska to 45 on Jan. 27, 2007.
Junior Denis Clemente led four Wildcats in double figures with a game-high 15 points to go with seven rebounds, while sophomores Jacob Pullen and Dominique Sutton each collected 13 points and senior Darren Kent added 10 points. Clemente, who tied Michael Beasley’s Big 12 single-game record with 44 points against Texas on Jan. 31, has now paced in scoring a team-best nine times and tied Pullen for the lead in double-figure scoring (14). He has scored in double figures in seven of the eight Big 12 contests. The team moved to 9-0 when both Clemente and Pullen score in double figures.
K-State remains the definition of balance with seven different leading scorers, nine different assist leaders and seven different rebounding leaders. Right now, six players are averaging eight or more points, while five players are averaging four or more rebounds. There have been 76 double-digit scoring games by 10 players. Of the 10 players, six have registered double figures eight or more times.
The Wildcats have been a solid team defensively, allowing just 65.3 points on 40.9 percent shooting, including 34.2 percent from 3-point range. The team is forcing an average of 17.8 turnovers per game, while averaging 20.9 points off those turnovers.
The contest against Texas A&M will be televised on the new Big 12 Network (KMCI - Kansas City, KSNT - Topeka, KMTW - Wichita), with Dave Armstrong (play-by-play) and Reid Gettys (analyst) calling the action. Fans will also be able to watch the game on the Full Court package as well as ESPN360.com. Information on these outlets can be found at http://proxy.espn.go.com/ncb/fullcourt/. It will be the sixth of eight appearances on the Big 12 Network this season.
Fans will also be able to listen to the audio broadcast on the 29-station K-State Sports Network (Powercat Passport Internet Audio; Yahoo! Internet Radio; Sirius Satellite 147) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) on the call.
Available by calling the Texas A&M Ticket Office at (888) 992.4443.
Kansas State became just the second school in Big 12 history to rally from 0-4 start to get back to at least .500 in league play. Iowa State did it first in 2004-05, rallying from a 0-5 start to win seven in a row and eventually finish 9-7 in conference action. Two other squads (Missouri - 2006-07 and Nebraska - 2007-08) both started 0-4 and came to within one game of getting back to .500 in league play before finishing 7-9. In the previous 10 occasions, no other Wildcat team in school history has ever rallied back to .500 after starting 0-4 in league play. In fact, the team has rebounded to win four or more league games just four times in that span. The best finish after such a dismal start came in 1983-84 when K-State finished Big Eight play with a 5-9 mark. The closest that team got to .500 was 4-6.
Quite a Turnaround
After starting Big 12 play with four straight losses, Kansas State has seemed to have found its groove again in the past four wins. The Wildcats have averaged 78.8 points on 44.2 percent shooting, including 44.0 percent from 3-point range, in the last four wins after averaging just 60 points on 38.4 percent shooting, including 29 percent from beyond the arc, in the first four league contests. The team is also forcing nine more turnovers (65-56), while scoring 36 more points off those turnovers (49-13). The defense numbers are also improved with the Wildcats holding the last four opponents to an average of 69.5 points on 41.2 percent shooting compared to 76 points on 51 percent shooting in the first four league games.
Back on Track
Despite its early struggles in Big 12 play, K-State is still averaging over 77 points points per game. The team has scored 70 or more points in 16 of 22 games, including 80 or more points 10 times. The squad has posted three games of 90 or more points, including a 107-point output against Gardner-Webb on Dec. 14, which ranks as the most in a non-conference game since 1994 and the highest point total since the Wildcats scored 111 against Missouri on Jan. 3, 1998. The three 90-point games are the most since the 1997-98 season.
The 1,696 points are the fourth-most through 22 games in school history, trailing just the 1986-87 (1,796), 2007-08 (1,764) and 1997-98 (1,709) squads and ahead of the 1976-77 (1,614) team. This year’s edition is the fourth fastest team in school history to collect 1,000 points in a season. The 10 80-point games tie for the 10th-most in school history with the 1990-91 team.
Since Frank Martin’s arrival in 2007, K-State has shown the ability to score points, totaling two of the most prolific scoring teams in school history. Last year, the Wildcats set the school mark with 2,574 points, while also posting the second-most field goals attempted (2,067) and the third-most field goals (916) and 3-point field goals made (210) as well as the third-highest scoring average (78.0).
K-State has shown the ability to play solid defense as well, holding its 22 opponents thus far to an average of 65.3 points per game. The Wildcats have held 14 foes to less than 70 points, including nine to 60 points or less. The 1,436 points yielded are the second-fewest through 22 games in the last 25 seasons and fewest since the 1998-99 team allowed just 1,379 points. This year, 12 foes have been held to below 40 percent shooting, while 10 have been held to below 30 percent from 3-point range. Despite allowing 72.8 points during Big 12 play, the team had held two of the more potent offenses - Oklahoma and Missouri - to 15 or more points under their averages.
Unlike last season when consensus All-American Michael Beasley paced the squad at 26.2 points per game, the 2008-09 team has shown a lot more diversity with its scoring output thus far.
Through 22 games, all 12 players have totaled double-digit points with eight scoring in triple digits. The duo of junior Denis Clemente and sophomore Jacob Pullen are averaging in double figures led by Clemente’s 14.3 points per game. Six players are averaging eight or more points, including redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels (9.4 ppg.), sophomore Fred Brown (9.3 ppg.), senior Darren Kent (8.6 ppg.) and sophomore Dominique Sutton (8.0 ppg.).
Since statistics became available during the 1950-51 season, there has been just six teams to have four players average in double figures with the last coming in 2004-05. Just one team - the 1955-56 squad - has had six players average eight or more points in a season.
There have already been seven different leading scorers in 22 games, including a league-best six players with 20-point outings. In all, there have been 76 double-digit scoring games with Clemente and Pullen each doing it a team-best 14 times. Ten players have scored in double figures with six of those players doing it eight times or more.
Backcourt Play has been Key
A big key to Kansas State’s hopes this season has been the play of its three primary guards - Fred Brown, Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen. The trio represent nearly half of the team’s point (803), field goals (278) and field goals attempted (688) total this season as well as nearly 85 percent of the 3-point field goals (128).
The play of these three guards has been key to the fortunes this year. In the 15 wins, the trio is averaging 39.3 points on 43.8 percent (201-of-459) shooting from the field, including 44.3 percent (101-of-232) from 3-point range. The squad is 2-0 when all three players score in double figures, while they are 9-0 when both Clemente and Pullen score 10 or more points. In the seven losses, the trio averages 30.4 points on 33.6 percent (77-of-229) shooting, including just 26.7 percent (27-of-101) from beyond the arc. The assist-to-turnover ratio also proves vital with the three averaging 9.1 assists and a 1.46 assist-to-turnover ratio (137/94) in the wins and 4.6 assists and a 0.59 assist-to-turnover ratio (32/54) in the losses.
Rebounding Still a Strength
Most critics wondered how Kansas State would replace two of the best Big 12 rebounders - Michael Beasley and Bill Walker - after the duo helped the program average 41.3 rebounds a year ago. The duo plus departed seniors Clent Stewart and Blake Young averaged over 25 boards per game. Despite their absence, rebounding continues to be a strength with seven players averaging at least two boards per game.
Through 22 games, K-State is averaging 39.8 rebounds, including a Big 12-best 16.1 on the offensive end, with five players averaging four or more boards. The team ranks among the best in the Big 12 in four categories, including first in offensive rebounds and margin (+7.0) and second in both rebounding and rebounding defense (32.8). Four players - Ron Anderson, Luis Colon, Darren Kent and Dominique Sutton - have grabbed double-digit rebounds nine times with Kent averaging a team-best 5.8 boards per game. Kent has a team-leading four double-doubles thus far this season, while Sutton has two and Anderson and Colon each have one.
Pressure is the Key
Pressure has been a big key for the Wildcats so far, as the team has scored 460 points (almost 30 percent of season total of 1,696 points) off 391 opponent turnovers. The squad has also outscored its foes, 230-147, on fast-break opportunities. Kansas State has scored 20 or more points off turnovers in 13 of the team’s 22 games, including 30 or more points twice with a season-best 41 against Gardner-Webb.
In its 15 wins, the squad has outscored its foes, 352-173 (23.5 ppg.), in points off turnovers with an average of 18.3 turnovers. In contrast, the team has been outscored 132-108 (15.4 ppg.) in points off turnovers in its seven losses with an average of 16.7 turnovers. In all, the Wildcats have forced eight foes into 20 or more turnovers. The squad is averaging 7.3 steals per game with seven players grabbing 10 or more this year led by Jacob Pullen’s 38 steals.
After dominating the paint a year ago with the likes of Michael Beasley and Bill Walker, Kansas State’s strength has shifted to the backcourt where the Wildcats start two of the best at their positions in junior Denis Clemente and sophomore Jacob Pullen.
The duo, which has started 21 of 22 games, have combined for 599 points on 39.8 percent shooting (205-of-515), including 36.1 percent
from 3-point range (84-of-233), with 139 of the team’s 318 assists. Clemente ranks first on the team in scoring at 14.3 points per game on 41.8 percent shooting with team-highs in field goals made (104) and free throw percentage (84.6). He is second to Pullen in assists (68) and minutes (583) and third in 3-point field goals (37) and steals (20). Pullen is second in scoring at 13.6 points per game on 38.0 percent shooting with team-highs in 3-point field goals made (47), assists (71), steals (38) and minutes (647).
The two have scored in double figures nine times in the same game (team is 9-0 in those games) with a combined 36 points against Florida A&M, 31 against Cleveland State and Kentucky, 45 against Oakland, 34 against Gardner-Webb, 39 against Wagner, 32 against Colorado, 33 against Missouri and 28 against Iowa State. Clemente has led the squad in scoring a team-best nine times with a Big 12 record-tying 44 points against Texas on Jan. 31, while Pullen, who like Clemente has scored in double figures a team-best 14 times, posted a career-best 26 against Oakland on Nov. 25.
Clemente Earns Honors
Junior Deni Clemente was named the ESPN.com National Player of the Week as well as the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week Feb. 2. In wins over Missouri and No. 11 Texas, he averaged 27.0 points on 54.8 percent shooting (17-of-31), including 77.8 percent (7-of-9) from 3-point range, with 5.0 assists, 1.5 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 31.0 minutes per game. He also went a perfect 13-of-13 from the free throw line, including a stellar 10-of-10 in the last five minutes against the Longhorns. He is the first K-State player to earn Big 12 Player of the Week honors this season and the first since Michael Beasley won it for a third time on March 9, 2008. He is the first guard to win the honor since Galen Morrison won it on Jan. 10, 2000.
Clemente's Big Day
Junior Denis Clemente tied Michael Beasley’s Big 12 single-game record for points with his career-best 44 points against Texas on Jan. 31. He went 13-of-25 from the field, including a perfect 6-of-6 from 3-point range, and 12-of-12 from the free throw line. He scored the first 17 points of the second half for the Wildcats, including five straight 3-point field goals. He tied Beasley for the fifth-most points in school history, including the second-most in a conference game. It marked just the 12th 40-point game in school history, including just the eighth in a conference game. It was the most points by a guard since Askia Jones broke the school mark with 62 points against Fresno State on March 24, 1994. The 44 points were also the most by a single player in Erwin Center history, surpassing the 43 by Texas’ Reggie Freeman against Fresno State on Dec. 14, 1996.
Junior Denis Clemente saw his streak of 29 consecutive free throws end against Iowa State on Tuesday. It had started in the Big 12 opener against Oklahoma on Jan. 10 and had run through seven consecutive games before ending on his second attempt of the second half at the 10:57 mark. He has been stellar from the line, connecting on a team-best 84.6 percent (55-of-65) overall for the season and 89.2 percent (33-of-37) in Big 12 play. Before missing three on Tuesday, he had connected on 33 of his last 34 attempts. He is an impressive 16-of-16 from the line in the last five minutes.
Brown from Outside
Sophomore Fred Brown has emerged as a dangerous threat from the outside for the Wildcats, as he ranks first on the squad in 3-point field goal percentage (44.0) and second in 3-point field goals (44). He has at least one 3-pointer in 18 of 22 games, including two or more on 12 occasions. He ranks third in field goals (73) and field goals attempted (173) and fourth in scoring (9.4 ppg.), while he is second among reserves in minutes (20.8 mpg.). Almost 60 percent of his made (44) and attempted field goals (100) have come beyond the arc. He has scored in double figures nine times, including a pair of 20-point outings against SE Missouri State (21) and Chicago State (26).
Samuels a Spark off the Bench
Redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels has provided a spark off the bench, averaging just over 20 minutes per contest despite just two starts this season. He is third in scoring at 9.4 points on a team-best 56.7 percent shooting with 4.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.0 blocks in 20.4 minutes per game. He ranks third with 11 double-figure scoring games, including a season-high 20 points against Gardner-Webb on Dec. 14. He scored in double figures in four straight games to start the year and has collected 10 or more points in seven of the last 16 contests. He has tallied five or more rebounds 14 times, including a season-best eight three times. He was sensational against Missouri on Jan. 28, posting a personal Big 12-high 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting with six rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 24 minutes.
Kent Stepping Up as a Senior
One of the bright spots for the Wildcats this season has been the play of Darren Kent. Kent, the team’s only senior, has been a force on the boards, ranking first with 5.8 rebounds per game. He is averaging 8.6 points on 41 percent shooting (59-of-144) to go with 1.3 assists and 0.7 blocks in 21.3 minutes per game. His improvement has been evident this year, as he has already scored in double figures in 10 games, including four times in Big 12 play, and totaled 179 points. In contrast, he came into the year with 104 career points and just one double-figure scoring game. Kent has also totaled his four career double-doubles all this season, which leads the squad. He turned in a career day against Centenary on Dec. 20 with career-highs in points (24), field goals (nine) and field goals attempted (14).
Sutton Steals the Show
After getting a late start to his time at K-State, sophomore Dominique Sutton has become an all-around factor for the Wildcats this season. One of four Wildcats shooting 50 percent or better from the field, he is averaging 8.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.0 assists in 22.7 minutes per game. He grabbed his second double-double of the season against Iowa State with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting to go with a career-tying 10 rebounds. He is now scored in double figures eight times this season, while grabbing double-digit rebounds twice.
Sutton tied the school single-game record for steals against Idaho State on Jan. 3 with eight, matching a mark set by Lynn Smith against South Dakota on Nov. 29, 1986 then followed by Elliot Hatcher against Wichita State on Jan. 2, 1996. He posted a career night against Wagner on Dec. 30 with highs in six categories, including points (21), boards (10), field goals (7) and field goals attempts (11).
Colon a Force in the Middle
A starter down low in the post, junior Luis Colon is starting to come into his own this season. He is averaging 5.5 points on 52.6 percent shooting with 5.2 rebounds in 20.1 minutes per game. He, along with sophomore Jacob Pullen, are the only Wildcats to start in all 22 games this season, while he has seen action in 28 games in a row.
Like Kent, Colon’s improvement has been dramatic this season. He has already surpassed his career totals for points (87) and rebounds (84) in his previous two years combined. He has scored in double figures four times this season, while has collected double-figure rebounds twice after never doing it in the previous 57 games. He had a career night against Southern Miss on Dec. 11, posting highs in points (18), rebounds (11) and minutes (27) en route to becoming the first Wildcat since 2002 to go 9-of-9 from the field.
Home Sweet Home
Bramlage Coliseum has become a strong homecourt advantage for Kansas State in its 21 years of existence, as the Wildcats have posted a 240-87 (.734) record since its opening in 1988. The team has earned 10 or more home wins in 16 of its 21 seasons, including a school-record tying 14 in 1998-99, 2006-07 and 2007-08. K-State has also posted 17 wins over Top 25 foes since its opening, including eight over teams ranked in the Top 10.
The Wildcats have been even better in the eight seasons at home with the team tallying double-digit victories each season. In Tuesday’s win over Iowa State, the squad posted its 100th home since the 2001-02 season, where the record currently stands at 100-30 (.769) in that span. It is the longest stretch of consecutive seasons with 10 or more home wins since the program did it 10 years in row from 1972-82 and posted a record of 122-18 (.871) at Ahearn Field House.
K-State to Retire Murrell, Richmond Jerseys
Kansas State Director of Athletics Bob Krause announced Jan. 20 that the school will retire the jerseys of basketball greats Willie Murrell (1962-64) and Mitch Richmond (1986-88) in a halftime ceremony during the Nebraska game on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009.
The duo becomes the fourth class of jersey retirements at Kansas State following those of Bob Boozer, Ernie Barrett and Jack Parr in 2005, Mike Evans, Lon Kruger and Chuckie Williams in 2006 and Rolando Blackman and Dick Knostman in 2007. The criteria includes statistical achievement, conference and national records, honors received (i.e., all-conference, All-America, Academic All-America, etc.), character and sportsmanship.
One of just 11 players to earn first team All-America honors, Murrell was a two-year letterman for head coach Tex Winter from 1962-64. He guided the Wildcats to a 38-16 record, including a pair of Big Eight titles and a Final Four appearance in 1964.
The 6-foot-6 native of Taft, Okla., Murrell is one of just six players in Kansas State history to average a double-double for his career, averaging 20.6 points and 10.7 rebounds in 54 career games. He was twice named an All-American during his record-setting
senior season in 1964 and was also a two-time first team All-Big Eight selection. His career averages in scoring and rebounding still rank among the top-5 in school history, including third in rebounding (10.7 rpg.) and fifth in scoring (20.6 ppg.).
Murrell averaged 25.3 points during the Wildcats’ run through the 1964 NCAA Tournament, including a 29-point, 13-rebound effort in the national semifinals against UCLA on March 20, en route to earning recognition to the All-Midwest Regional Tournament team and the All-Final Four squad. He is the only player to ever record a double-double in a Final Four game and the only one ever named to an All-Final Four team. His 29 points against the Bruins are the most in a Final Four game in school history.
One of the most recognizable players in Kansas State history, Mitch Richmond was a two-year letterman for head coach Lon Kruger from 1986-88. He helped guide the Wildcats to a 45-20 record, including a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and a trip to the 1988 NCAA Midwest Regional Final.
The 6-foot-5 native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Richmond assembled perhaps the greatest two-year playing career in school history. He is one of just 20 players in school history to top 1,000 points, while he ranks eighth on the all-time scoring list with 1,327 points and fourth in career scoring average (20.7 ppg.). His 1,327 points are the most by a player in a two-year career. He still ranks among the top 10 in 21 single-game, season and/or career statistical categories in school history.
As a senior, he led the Wildcats to a school-record tying 25 wins, a second-place finish in the Big Eight and a rousing trip through the NCAA Tournament that led Kansas State to an Elite Eight appearance. He broke the then single-season scoring mark by pouring in 786 points. Fellow All-American Michael Beasley broke the record in 2007-08 with 866 points. He averaged 22.6 points on 51.4 percent shooting in 1987-88 with 6.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists en route to earning second team All-America honors from UPI, Basketball Weekly, The Sporting News and U.S. Basketball Writers of America (USBWA). He was also named first team All-Big Eight and first team All-District by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
Following graduation, Richmond won a spot on the 1988 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team and was a first-round draft pick (fifth overall selection) by the Golden State Warriors. He became one of the premier shooting guards in the NBA, appearing in six NBA
All-Star games, and being named the most valuable player of the 1995 NBA All-Star game. He also earned second team All-NBA honors in 1994, 1995 and 1997 and third team honors in 1996 and 1998 with the Sacramento Kings.
Texas A&M Update
Texas A&M enters Saturday’s game with a 17-6 overall record and 3-5 mark in Big 12 after seeing its two-game winning streak snapped in a 77-71 loss at No. 2/2 Oklahoma on Wednesday night. The Aggies led 68-59 with 6:25 remaining in the contest before the Sooners rallied to score 16 of the next 17 points and earn the six-point win. Four Aggies scored in double figures led by senior Josh Carter’s 15 points, while juniors Bryan Davis and Chinemelu Elonu added 13 points each. Elonu also posted a double-double with a team-high 12 rebounds.
The Aggies are averaging 70.1 points through 23 games on 43.6 percent shooting, including 34.6 percent from 3-point range, with 37.3 rebounds, 12.2 assists, 5.3 steals and 4.0 blocks per game. Texas A&M is a solid defensive team, holding its opponents to 64.5 points on 42.2 percent shooting, including 34.9 percent from 3-point range.
Texas A&M is led by Josh Carter, who averages 13.0 points on 42.5 percent shooting to go with a team-best 47 3-point field goals. Carter is one of four Aggies averaging in double figures. Junior Donald Sloan is second in scoring at 11.3 points on 36.1 percent shooting with a team-best 3.2 assists per game. Bryan Davis and Chinemelu Elonu average 10.7 and 10.1 points, while Elonu averages 7.5 rebounds.
Texas A&M returns 14 lettermen, including three starters, from a team that finished the 2007-08 season with a 25-11 record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Aggies are led by Mark Turgeon, who has posted a 42-17 mark in two years at the helm. He has a 195-136 record in his 11th season as a head coach, which includes stints at Jacksonville (Ala.) State (1998-2000) and Wichita State (2000-07). His teams have advanced to the postseason in five of the last six seasons.
K-State and Texas A&M will be meeting for the 20th time on Saturday with the Wildcats holding a 13-6 edge in the series. The series dates back to a 69-64 win by K-State on Dec. 3, 1960. The squad won the first four meetings with the Aggies before the start of Big 12 play in 1997. Texas A&M holds a 5-1 advantage in the series at home, including three consecutive wins since 2003. The Wildcats own a 9-6 edge since the start of Big 12 play, but have just one win in six visits to College Station. The team’s last win at Reed Arena came in 2001.
Last 5 meetings:
3/10/05 K-State 68-62 Kansas City
1/18/06 K-State 58-54 Manhattan
1/6/07 A&M 69-65 College Station
1/19/08 K-State 75-54 Manhattan
3/14/08 A&M 63-60 Kansas City
Solid Non-Conference Season
Kansas State’s win against Chicago State on Jan. 5 gave the team 11 non-conference wins for the second consecutive season. It marks the first time the team has posted consecutive seasons of at least 10 non-conference wins since the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons. The squad still has one more non-conference game on Feb. 17 against North Carolina Central. The Wildcats have won at least 10 non-league contests four times in the last five seasons.
Recruiting Class Praised
The four-man recruiting class that Kansas State pulled down on Nov. 12 has been rated among the best in the country. The class, which includes ESPNU100 prospect and power forward Wally Judge, has been rated the 17th-best class by ESPN Scouts, Inc., as well as 21st- best class by Rivals.com. The quartet includes Judge, fellow high school teammate Rodney McGruder, Dallas (Texas) point guard Nick Russell and prep school forward Jordan Henriquez.
Kansas State enters the 2008-09 season with one its youngest teams in recent history, as senior forward Darren Kent is the lone senior on a roster of 13 players. When you factor in that four of the six juniors are either transfers from another Division I school or a junior college, the Wildcats are one of the youngest teams in its history. Dating back to the 1981-82 season, there has been just one team - the 1983-84 squad which had no seniors - with fewer seniors on its roster. The 1996-97 also had just one senior on its roster.
Martin Inks Stellar Class
Kansas State head coach Frank Martin announced the signing of four high school seniors to National Letters of Intent on the second day of the fall signing period on Nov. 13.
The four-man recruiting class, which was ranked 16th nationally by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and 21st by Rivals.com, includes prep school standout Jordan Henriquez (Winchendon [Mass.] School/Port Chester, N.Y.) and high school seniors Wally Judge (Arlington (Fla.) Country Day/Washington, D.C.), Rodney McGruder (Arlington (Fla.) Country Day/Washington, D.C.) and Nick Russell (Grace Preparatory Academy/Arlington, Texas).
The headliner of this class, Wally Judge is a 6-foot-9, 220-pound power forward originally from Washington, D.C., who is entering his second year at Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville, Fla. Considered one of the top power forwards in the high school ranks, Judge was rated as a top 25 recruit by several recruiting services, including the No. 17 prospect by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 23 prospect in the Rivals150 by Rivals.com. He was also rated as an ESPNU Top 100 recruit. In addition, he is ranked among the top-10 at his position, including No. 6 by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 9 by Rivals.com.
Judge is in his second year at Florida powerhouse, Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville, where he helped the Apaches to their fourth
consecutive Class 2A state title with a 24-6 record in 2007-08. Judge averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds and was named second team Class 2A All-State by the Florida Sports Writers Association.
A teammate of Judge at Arlington Country Day, Rodney McGruder is considered one of the best shooting guards in the country. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard is rated among the top players in the country, including the No. 89 overall prospect by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 91 prospect in the Rivals150 by Rivals.com. McGruder is also ranked among the top-35 at the position by a number of outlets, including No. 23 by Rivals.com and No. 31 by ESPN Scouts, Inc.
McGruder transferred to Arlington Country Day in the off-season from Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C. As a junior, he averaged 21.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.1 steals in leading the Lions to a 16-10 overall record and an appearance in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) semifinals in 2007-08. He was named to the Washington Post All-Met first team.
One of the top point guard prospects in the country, Nick Russell comes to K-State from Grace Preparatory Academy in Arlington, Texas. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound guard is rated among the top players in the country, including the No. 89 overall prospect by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 114 prospect in the Rivals150 by Rivals.com. Russell is also ranked among the top-40 at his position by a number of outlets, including No. 20 by Rivals.com and No. 36 by ESPN Scouts, Inc. In addition, he is rated the No. 4 player in the state of Texas for the Class of 2009 by Texashoops.com.
Russell helped Grace Prep to a 26-12 overall record, including a 7-3 mark in league play, as a junior in 2006-07. He helped the Lions to a runner-up finish at the TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parachial Schools) Class 5A state tournament, where they lost to
Midland Christian, 74-60. Russell averaged 23 points, six assists and five rebounds as a junior. He was named first team TAPPS Class 5A all-state as well as co-most valuable player of the District 1-5A and first team all-district.
Jordan Henriquez comes to Kansas State from The Winchendon School in Winchendon, Mass., where he is playing a postgraduate year in 2008-09. The 6-foot-11, 220-pound center from New Rochelle, N.Y. signed with the Wildcats this past May after finishing his career at Port Chester High School in Port Chester, N.Y. As a senior, he led the team to an 18-6 record and an 8-0 mark in league play en route to a runner-up finish at the Section I Championship. In averaging a team-best 15.3 points, Henriquez scored in double figures in 21 of 22 games in 2007-08, including six 20-point contests.
The recruiting class will join a loaded Kansas State squad in 2009-10, as the Wildcats will return all but one player. They will be joined by junior forward Curtis Kelly, who is sitting out the 2008-09 season after transferring from University of Connecticut this past summer.