'Cats Return Home To Face 'Hawks on Valentine's Day
'Cats Return Home To Face 'Hawks on Valentine's Day
Feb. 13, 2011
Kansas State (16-9, 4-6 Big 12)
vs. 2/2 Kansas (24-1, 9-1 Big 12)
Date: Monday, February 14, 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: ESPN (Brent Musburger, play-by-play; Bob Knight, analyst; Holly Rowe, sideline reporter; Aaron Stojkov, producer)
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst) | Satellite Radio: Sirius 122/XM 143 (home team only)
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International ‘93) is 88-41 (.682) in his fourth season as a head coach and at the school. Kansas - Bill Self (Oklahoma State ‘85) is 433-149 (.744) in his 18th season as a head coach and 226-44 (.837) in eighth season at the school.
Series: Kansas leads 181-90 (73-44 on the road) | Martin vs. Kansas: 1-7 (1-2 at home) | Martin vs. Self: 1-7 (1-2 at home)
Last Time Out: K-State dropped a 58-56 decision at Colorado on Saturday, while Kansas knocked off Iowa State, 89-66, at home also on Saturday.
Rankings: Kansas is ranked No. 2 in both The Associated Press and/or USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Top 25 polls, while K-State is not ranked.
Tickets: Sold out.
‘Cats make quick turnaround to face No. 2 Kansas Monday
Kansas State (16-9, 4-6 Big 12) will make a quick turnaround for its second game in three-day period on Monday, as the Wildcats host rival and expected No. 1 team Kansas (24-1, 9-1 Big 12) at Bramlage Coliseum at 8 p.m. CT. The squad, which is 3-13 all-time against the No. 1 team in the country, will be playing the Jayhawks as the nation’s top-ranked team for the eighth time dating back to 1957. Kansas has won seven of those eight match-ups, including a 72-64 decision in the title game of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship last season. The only win over a top-ranked Jayhawk team came in a Big Monday game on Jan. 17, 1994 when Dana Altman’s Wildcats earned a 68-64 win at Allen Fieldhouse. Monday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN with Brent Musburger (play-by-play), legendary head coach Bob Knight (analyst) and Holly Rowe (sideline reporter) on the call. It is also available on the web at ESPN3.com. Fans can listen to the “Voice of the Wildcats” Wyatt Thompson and analyst Stan Weber throughout the 33-station K-State Sports Network as well as free of charge online at www.k-statesports.com.
This will be the 272nd meeting between Kansas and K-State in a series that dates back to 1907. It is the sixth-most played series in Division I college basketball history, including the longest involving members of the Big 12 Conference. The two teams have met every season for 104 years, which represents the eighth-most continuously played series. The Jayhawks own a 181-90 advantage in the series, including a 73-44 edge in Manhattan. They have dominated the series since the start of the Big 12, winning 34 of 36 meetings, including 21 victories in the last 22 meetings at Bramlage Coliseum. The Jayhawks have won seven in a row in the series, including two straight in Manhattan, since the Michael Beasley-led Wildcats earned the team’s first win in the series at Bramlage Colisem on Jan. 30, 2008. Earlier this season, Kansas dominated the first meeting with a 90-66 win at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 29. The Jayhawks shot 61.8 percent from the field, including 69.7 percent in the second half, while the Wildcats were just 33.8 percent from the field.
K-State enters Monday night’s game reeling from a 58-56 loss at Colorado late Saturday at the Coors Events Center in Boulder. With possession with 1.1 seconds remaining, sophomore Rodney McGruder appeared to have hit the game-winning 3-point field goal as time expired. However, after a replay, it was revealed that the basketball was still in McGruder’s hand when the red-light went off, thereby discounting the basket. Interestingly, the Wildcats earned a last-second win at Iowa State just a week prior when senior Jacob Pullen capped his 17-point second-half with a lay-up with 2.6 seconds left in regulation. The heartbreaking defeat to Colorado not only halted a two-game winning streak in league play, but also snapped the team’s 10-game winning streak in the month of February, which included a 69-53 win over Nebraska at home on Feb. 2 and an 86-85 last-second win at Iowa State on Feb. 5 and dated back to a 77-72 win over Nebraska at home on Feb. 28, 2009. It was the longest streak in the month since the team also won 10 consecutive from 1976-77 to 1977-78. The loss also gave the Buffaloes a sweep of the regular-season series for the first time since the 2003-04 season and its first win at the Coors Events Center since 2006.
The Wildcats were solid defensively in the loss, holding the Buffaloes to a season-low 58 points (20 points below their season average of 80.8 points) on 44.2 percent shooting, while forcing them into 16 turnovers (CU led the Big 12 in fewest turnvoers). K-State converted those miscues into 17 points, while it scored 19 second-chance points on 18 offensive rebounds. It marked the second time in the last three games that the team has held an opponent to 60 points or less. However, just a week after converting on 50.8 percent from the field, including 51.9 percent from 3-point range, in the win over Iowa State, the squad could not score against Colorado. The Wildcats shot just 30.8 percent from the field, including 30 percent from 3-point range, while it connected on just 58.1 percent (18-of-31) from the free throw line. It was the lowest shooting percentage in game since connecting on just 27.3 percent against Florida on Dec. 18, 2010. It marked the third time in conference play that the team has failed to score 60 points, as they fell to 1-11 under head coach Frank Martin and 0-4 this season when scoring below 60 points.
Junior Jamar Samuels led three players in double figures against Colorado with 13 points on 4-of-7 field goals to go with a team-high seven boards. It marked the third time in the last four games that he has scored in double figures. Interestingly enough, it marked the first time that the Wildcats have lost a game when he was the leading scorer (11-1) and also the first time when he was leading rebounder (13-1). Senior Jacob Pullen, who struggled from the field with just 4-of-12 field goals, totaled 12 points (his lowest total since scoring eight points at Washington State on Dec. 3), while McGruder added 11 points. Freshman Shane Southwell had a season-high three blocks and two steals.
Pullen, who has led the team in scoring 18 times in 22 games played, including nine of the last 11, became just the second Wildcat to tally 1,900 career points and just the 10th player overall in the Big 12 era with his 12 points against Colorado. He is the Big 12’s second active scorer with 1,901 points, trailing Baylor’s LaceDarius Dunn, who has 2,179 points. He has scored in double figures now 96 times in his career, which has only been accomplished more by Rolando Blackman (100, 1977-81) in school history. The all-time leader in 3-point field goals (271), 3-point field goals attempted (773) and steals (196), he will tie Steve Henson (1987-90) for the most games played in a career on Monday against Kansas with his 127th appearance. He is now within 212 points of all-time leader Mike Evans, who scored 2,115 points from 1974-78. He needs four steals to become the first player in school history with 1,800 points, 400 assists, 300 rebounds and 200 steals in a career.
The Wildcats continue to try to find some consistency, as they have just one player - Rodney McGruder - who has started all 25 games this year, while there are just two others - Spradling and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts - who have played in all 25 games. The team has used eight different starting lineups, while Spradling and fellow freshman Shane Southwell are just the second and third rookie guards to start a game in four years under Frank Martin. The two’s only two seniors - Pullen and Kelly - missed three and six games, respectively, due to NCAA rules violations, while the team’s four upperclassmen - Pullen, Kelly, Jamar Samuels and Victor Ojeleye - have only been eligible to play in the same game 12 times. Two players have left the team this season, beginning with junior Freddy Asprilla, who played in 16 games with 13 starts, before departing on Jan. 15, and lastly, sophomore Wally Judge, who opted to leave on Feb. 1 after playing in 17 games this season.
Kansas State fell out of The Associated Press Top 25 poll on Jan. 17 for the first time in 23 consecutive polls dating back to Dec. 14, 2009 after starting the year at No. 3 for their highest-ever preseason ranking. 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 team fell out of the Coaches’ poll after 24 weeks on Jan. 24 after consecutive losses the week before.
The Book on Kansas
Kansas enters Monday’s game with a 24-1 overall record and 9-1 mark in Big 12 action after posting an 89-66 win at home against Iowa State on Saturday afternoon. The squad, which is expected to ascend to the No. 1 spot on Monday, has won six consecutive games since suffering its first and only loss to No. 2 Texas, 74-63, on Jan. 22. The Jayhawks connected on 51.6 percent from the field, including 56.3 percent in the first half, in the victory and held a 43-31 edge on the glass. Four players scored in double figures led by junior twins Markieff and Marcus Morris, who combined for 30 points on 59 percent shooting and 22 rebounds. Junior Tyshawn Taylor and senior Brady Morningstar added 14 and 13 points, respectively, while senior Tyrel Reed chipped in nine points. The team returns 14 lettermen, including three starters, from a squad that posted a 33-3 overall record, including a 15-1 mark in the Big 12, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Jayhawks are averaging a Big 12-best 83.9 points on 52.3 percent shooting from the field, including 39.1 percent from 3-point range, with 39 rebounds, 18.6 assists, 8.5 steals and 4.6 blocks per game. The team is stellar on the defensive end, yielding 64 points on 38.8 percent shooting, including 29.6 percent from 3-point line, while forcing 15.2 turnovers per contest. The squad leads the Big 12 in six categories, including scoring offense and margin, field goal percentage, 3-point field goal percentage, assists and assist-to-turnover ratio. They are a balanced team with four players scoring in double figures led by the Morris’. Marcus is averaging a team-best 16.9 points on 60.9 percent shooting with 7.0 rebounds, while Markieff is averaging 13.2 points on 59.4 percent shooting with a team-best 8.5 rebounds per outing. Freshman Josh Selby is averaging 12 points, while Reed adds 9.6 points per game, including a team-high 50 3-point field goals. Taylor paces the team with 4.8 assists per game.
Kansas is led by eighth-year coach Bill Self, who has compiled a 226-44 (.837) record since taking over in 2003-04. He has guided the squad to eight consecutive 20-win seasons, including three 30-win seasons, and seven NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 2008 NCAA title. He has a 433-149 (.744) record in 18 seasons as a head coach, including stints at Oral Roberts (1993-97), Tulsa (1997-2000) and Illinois (2000-03).
Series vs. Kansas
This will be the 272nd meeting between Kansas and K-State in a series that dates back to 1907. It is the sixth-most played series in Division I college basketball history, including the longest involving members of the Big 12 Conference. The two teams have met every season for 104 years, which represents the eighth-most continuously played series. The Jayhawks own a 181-90 advantage in the series, including a 73-44 edge in Manhattan. They have dominated the series since the start of the Big 12, winning 34 of 36 meetings, including 21 victories in the last 22 meetings at Bramlage Coliseum. The Jayhawks have won seven in a row in the series, including two straight in Manhattan, since the Michael Beasley-led Wildcats earned the team’s first win in the series at Bramlage Colisem on Jan. 30, 2008. This will be the eighth time that the squad has faced Kansas when its the nation’s top-ranked team with the Jayhawks winning seven of those match-ups, including 72-64 in the title game of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. Earlier this year, KU dominated the first meeting with a 90-66 win at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 29. The team shot 61.8 percent from the field, including 69.7 percent in the second half, while the Wildcats were just 33.8 percent from the field.
K-State extended its solid play defensively in February on Saturday, as the Wildcats held the Buffaloes to a season-low 58 points (nearly 20 points under their 80.8-point season average) in a two-points loss. The squad held them to 44.2 percent shooting, including just 28.6 percent in the first half, while forcing one of the Big 12’s assist-to-turnover teams into just six assists to 16 turnovers (which were converted into 17 points). It marked the second time in the last three games that the Wildcats have held their opponent to 60 points or less, including an a 53-point effort by Nebraska on Feb. 2. It was the 26th time that a Frank Martin-coached team has held an opponent below 60 points, including the sixth time this season. The squad forced the Huskers into 22 turnovers, converting those mistakes into 21 points, while out-rebounding them, 32-24. Overall, the team has been solid defensively, holding foes to 65.7 points per game on 42.2 percent shooting, including 35.3 percent from 3-point range, while forcing them into 16.3 turnovers per game. K-State has held 17 opponents to 65 points or less and have limited 10 foes to under 40 percent shooting from the field.
The team has also been stellar on the boards, averaging 39.2 rebounds per game, including a Big 12-best 15.8 offensive rebounds, while holding its opponents to 31.4 rebounds per game for an impressive +7.8 rebounding margin. The squad has paced in the league in offensive rebounds in each of Martin’s three seasons as head coach. This rebounding edge has helped the Wildcats post 370 second-chance points (14.8 per game) compared to just 252 (10.1 per game) for its opponents. They have out-scored their opponents in this regard in all but five games. The team has scored 20 or more second-chance points in six game, including a season-high 25 against both UMKC on Dec 31 and Texas Tech on Jan. 15. This statistic has been particularly stark in Kansas State’s 16 wins, where the team has averaged 16.3 second-chance points compared to just an average of 12.1 second-chance points in the nine losses.
Digging the Long Ball
One of the more lethal components of the Wildcats’ offense under Frank Martin has been the ability to convert from long range. The team has posted 200 or more treys in each of the last three seasons under Martin, including a school-record 253 makes in 2009-10. This year’s squad seems to be on track to continue that trend, as they rank fourth in the Big 12 in 3-point field goals per game (7.2) and seventh in 3-point field goal percentage (36.7), while trailing just Iowa State (222), Missouri (189) and Kansas (188) in total 3-pointers (180). The team has tallied double-digit treys in six contests, including a season-best 14 (on 51.9 percent shooting) against Iowa State on Feb. 5. The 14 makes ties four others for the third-most in a game in school history, while they are most since the team also had 14 against UNLV on Dec. 12, 2009. Seven different players converted on at least one 3-pointer against the Cyclones, including a season-high four by freshman Will Spradling.
Sophomore Rodney McGruder has been particularly solid from beyond the arc, ranking seventh in the league in 3-point field goals (2.2) and ninth in percentage (41.0). He has posted at least one trey in 21 of 25 games, including two or more from long range on 17 occasions. He has been impressive in the last 12 games, where he has connected on 45.7 percent (32-of-70) from 3-point range, which includes a 7-of-10 effort against UMKC on Dec. 31. The seven makes tied 10 others for the fourth-most treys in school history, while he was the first to accomplish the feat since teammate Jacob Pullen did it twice a season ago. His exploits are all the more impressive considering he shares the backcourt with Pullen, the school’s all-time leader in both 3-pointers (271) and attempts (773). Pullen, who is ninth in the Big 12 in 3-point field goals per game (2.1), ranks second with 46 treys, including at least two in 13 games and a season-high four in five contests. However, this statistic goes beyond the pair, as 10 others have at least one trey, including double-digit totals from Spradling (27), Martavious Irving (17) and Nick Russell (12).
Practice Makes Perfect
One of the main concerns with this Kansas State team has been its ability to shoot free throws, where it 336th nationally (out of 346 teams) and last in the Big 12 at 61.3 percent (376-of-613). However, the extra practice since the end of the semester has seemed to improve that percentage, as the Wildcats have connected on over 70 percent (201-of-285) in the last 12 games, including a season-best 84 percent (21-of-25) effort against Nebraska on Feb. 2. During this span, the team has hit on more than 75 percent five times, including games against Texas Tech (81.3; 13-of-16), Baylor (80.6; 25-of-31), Oklahoma State (77.4, 24-of-31) and North Florida (76.9, 20-of-26). Junior Jamar Samuels, who ranks sixth in school history in free throws attempted (484), has hit on nearly 80 percent (34-of-44) in Big 12 play after starting the season at 58.8 percent (37-of-63). Spradling’s 9-of-9 effort against Baylor was the best since Pullen went 11-of-11 against Washington State in 2009.
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 record. This nucleus has scored 894 of the team’s 1820 points thus far (49 percent), while posting 485 of 980 rebounds (50 percent), 194 of 353 assists (55 percent) and 69 of 153 steals (45 percent). The group boasts six of the Top 10 scorers, while it includes three of the Top 5 rebounders and four of the Top 5 assists leaders. Thirty-six of the team’s 80 double-figure 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 16. He paces the team in 3-pointer (55) and rebounding (6.4 rpg.), while he is second in scoring (11 ppg.), field goals (95), steals (17) and minutes played (29.6 mpg.). Freshman Will Spradling and sophomores Martavious Irving and Nick Russell rank in spots fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, in scoring at 6.1, 5.0 and 4.9 points per game. Spradling is first in free throw percentage (87.8) and second in assists (2.1 apg.) and steals (0.7 spg.), while he and fellow freshman Shane Southwell are just the second and third rookie guards 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 nine players in each of its 25 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 24.2 points per game off the bench, while out-scoring its foes by a margin of 605-404. The squad has scored 20 or more points from the bench in 17 of 25 games, including three contests with 40 or more points of bench production. The Wildcats received a season-best 46 points from their bench vs. Duke on Nov. 23, while they posted 44 against Iowa State on Feb. 5 and 41 against Texas Southern on Nov. 26. The 46 points versus the Blue Devils was the most from the bench since scoring 59 against Chicago State on Jan. 5, 2009, while the 44 against the Cyclones was the most in a Big 12 game under head coach Frank Martin. The team has seen a Big 12-high 12 different players record 80 double-digit scoring efforts this season, including 22 coming off the bench from seven separate players. Sophomore Martavious Irving leads 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 2,402 points off of 2,146 turnovers in 129 games, an average of 18.6 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, 426-382. The squad has scored 20 or more points off of turnovers in six 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 16 games, including a season-high 26 vs. James Madison on Nov. 12, while just four opponents have posted a positive assist-to-turnover ratio. Before the North Florida game on New Year’s Eve, the Wildcats were one of just four schools to force each of their foes into more turnovers than assists in every game.
Pullen Moving Up the Charts
Senior Jacob Pullen is nearing several career milestone in the midst of his final season at K-State. With his team-high 21-point effort against No. 6 Kansas on Jan. 29, he moved into second place all-time in scoring in school history with 1,850 points, passing both Rolando Blackman (1,844, 1977-81) and Askia Jones (1,834, 1989-94). His current total of 1,901 points in 126 games is less than 220 points behind all-time leader Mike Evans, who had 2,115 points from 1974-78. He became the first Wildcat since Evans in 1978 to eclipse the 1,900-point barrier in a career with his 12-point effort at Colorado on Saturday, while he is the 10th player in the Big 12 era to top 1,900 points, including the second this season (LaceDarius Dunn). He also ranks among the Top 5 in double-digit scoring games (96, 2nd) and 20-point games (35, 3rd).
Pullen ranks among the Top 5 in 17 career categories. Already the school’s career record holder for 3-point field goals attempted (773), he became the leader in 3-point field goals (now at 272) 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). He also became the school leader in steals with his 191st theft against the Jayhawks on Jan. 29, passing Henson’s 190 from 1987-90. 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, while his five dimes against Texas Tech on Jan. 15 made him the first since Henson to dish out 400 assists. His start against the Red Raiders also gave him 100 for his career, making him one of just four players (Ed Nealy, Henson and Blackman) to tally that many starts. Pullen ranks second in free throws attempted (597), games played (126) and minutes (3,668), third in consecutive starts (82), fourth in starts (107) and field goals attempted (1,458) and fifth in field goals made (588). He needs four more steals to become the first Wildcat with 1,800 points (1901), 400 assists (422), 300 rebounds (302) and 200 steals (196).
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 K-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, the second team by Dick Vitale and the third team by Athlon Sports. He was also selected a preseason Top 50 candidate for both the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy, while he was recently named one of 20 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award and the midseason Top 30 list for the Wooden Award.
McGruder Takes Off
Sophomore Rodney McGruder has been one of the team’s most consistent all-around players this season, averaging 11 points on 44 percent shooting, including 41 percent from 3-point range, to go with a team-best 6.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 0.7 steals in 29.6 minutes per game. The only player to start all 25 games, McGruder also paces the team in 3-point field goals (55), while he is second in scoring, double-digit scoring games (16), field goals (95), steals (17) 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 17 of his 25 games. All of 6-foot-4, he has also been the best rebounder, posting at least five boards in 19 contests, including a career-high 15 against Texas Tech on Jan. 15. He has led the team in department on 12 occasions. His 15 rebounds against the Red Raiders were the most by a Wildcat since Michael Beasley grabbed 17 against Missouri on Feb. 16, 2008.
From Reserve to Starter
A reserve for much of his career, junior Jamar Samuels has made the most of his 12 consecutive starts, which has included all 10 Big 12 games. The reigning Big 12 Sixth Man Award winner, he is averaging 10.8 points in the span on 46 percent shooting (42-of-92), including 38.9 percent (7-of-17) from beyond the arc, to go with 4.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 27.6 minutes per game. Pressed into the starting lineup against North Florida due to an illness, Samuels earned his first start since the first game of his sophomore season with perhaps his best offensive day. He collected his second career 20-point game, as he came up just one short of his career-high of 27 against Oklahoma State last season at the Big 12 Championships on March 11, 2010. 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 has scored in double figures in three of the last four games, including a team-high 13 points at Colorado on 4-of-7 field goals on Saturday to go with a team-best seven rebounds in 21 minutes. Samuels is closing in on a feat that only eight other players have accomplished at K-State, as he is nearing 1,000 career points (912 currently) and 500 career rebounds (475).
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.) and Thomas Gipson (Cedar Hill, Texas) 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 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. Rated as the 13th-best prospect in the state of Texas by TexasHoops.com, Gipson is a senior at Cedar Hill High School in Cedar Hill. As a junior, he led in scoring (16 ppg.) and rebounding (7.2 rpg.) en route to helping the Longhorns to a 28-4 record and a trip to the 2010 Class 5A Tournament. He 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.