K-State Concludes Homestand with NCCU
K-State Concludes Homestand with NCCU
Kansas State (17-8) vs.
North Carolina Central (2-23)
Date: Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Tipoff: 7:06 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan.
Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (1988)
Series: First meeting
(Powercat Passport subscription required)
Radio: K-State Sports Network (29 stations); Yahoo! Internet Radio; Sirius Satellite 130
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)
Stan Weber (analyst)
Tickets: 500 tickets from student allotment went on sale Monday for $20 each at Athletics Ticket Office, by calling 1.800.221.CATS.
Kansas State Wildcats
Record: 17-8 (6-5 Big 12)
Ranking (AP/Coaches): --/--
Coach: Frank Martin
Alma Mater: Florida International, 93
Career Record: 38-20/1
School Record: 38-20/1
vs. NC Central: 0-0
07-08 Record: 21-12 (10-6 Big 12)
Last game: Feb. 14, 2009
Lost to 16/16 Kansas, 85-74
SID: Tom Gilbert
N.C. Central Eagles
Ranking (AP/Coaches): --/--
Coach: Henry Dickerson
Alma Mater: Charleston, 73
Career Record: 117-167/10
School Record: 45-94/5
vs. Kansas State: 0-0
07-08 Record: 4-26
Last game: Feb. 3, 2009
Lost at N.C. State, 87-59
SID: Kyle Serba
Kansas State (17-8, 6-5 Big 12) concludes its brief three-game homestand on Tuesday, as the Wildcats play host to North Carolina Central (2-23) in its final non-conference at Bramlage Coliseum at 7:06 p.m. K-State saw its six-game winning streak end on Saturday, as Kansas rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit to earn an 85-74 victory and post its 25th win in the last 26 games in Manhattan. The six-game winning streak tied the 2006-07 squad for the longest in the Big 12 era for the Wildcats. K-State shot just 42.4 percent from the field, including just 39.3 percent in the second half, as they lost for just the second time this season when leading at the half. The squad concludes non-conference play against North Carolina Central, who is in its second season in Division I after reclassifying from Division II. The Wildcats have posted an 11-3 mark in non-conference play this year, including a perfect 10-0 record in home games. 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.
Kansas State saw its winning streak end at six games on Saturday, as the Wildcats built a 16-point lead in the first half before Kansas used a pair of pivotal runs to earn the 11-point victory. Leading 30-14 with just over eight minutes to play, the Jayhawks ended the half on a 15-5 run to close the gap to 43-42. Kansas then took the lead for good with a decisive 17-2 run over a six-minute stretch early in the second half to sweep the season series.
Junior Denis Clemente led three Wildcats in double figures, including two with 20 or more points, with a game-high 26 points on 9-of-18 field goals, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range. Sophomore Jacob Pullen chipped in his team-leading sixth 20-point effort with 22 points on 5-of-11 shooting, while senior Darren Kent notched double figures for the fourth straight game with 12 points. Clemente and Pullen continue to be tied with a team-high 17 double-figure scoring games this season, while Kent posted 10 or more points for the 13th time. Clemente has now scored in double figures in 10 of the 11 Big 12 contests, including nine in a row dating back to the Nebraska game on Jan. 17. The team also lost their first game (11-1) this season 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 seven or more points, while five players are averaging four or more rebounds. There have been 86 double-digit scoring games by 10 players. Of the 10 players, six have registered double figures nine or more times.
The Wildcats have been a solid team defensively, allowing just 66.2 points on 41.4 percent shooting, including 35.4 percent from 3-point range. The team is forcing an average of 17.5 turnovers per game, while averaging 20.5 points off those turnovers.
The game will be webcast on its official site, www.k-statesports.com, via Powercat Passport, the online destination for exclusive live and on-demand streaming video and audio for Wildcat fans. There are subscription packages available on an annual and monthly basis.
Fans will also be able to listen to the audio broadcast on the K-State Sports Network (Yahoo! Internet Radio; Sirius Satellite 147) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst).
Approximately 500 unused tickets from the student allotment went on sale to the public on Monday for Tuesday’s contest. Tickets are priced at $20 each. Orders will be accepted in-person or by phone (800) 221.CATS. The tickets are for general admission in Sections 21-25 of the arena. There is also seating available in other locations for $30 each in reserved sections or $35 each in chairback areas.
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. The previous best finish after such a start came in 1983-84 when K-State finished Big Eight play with a 5-9 mark.
Quite A Turnaround
After starting Big 12 play with four straight losses, Kansas State has seemed to have found its groove again with wins in six of its last seven league games. The Wildcats have averaged 77 points on 43.6 percent shooting, including 41.6 percent from 3-point range, in the last seven games after averaging 60 points on 38.4 percent shooting, including 29 percent from beyond the arc, in the first four league contests. During this stretch, the team is also forcing twice as many turnovers (112-56) than the previous four contests, while scoring 88 more points off those turnovers (101-13). The defense numbers have also improved with the Wildcats holding the last seven opponents to an average of 70.9 points on 43.1 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 nearly 77 points points per game. The team has scored 70 or more points in 18 of 25 games, including 80 or more points 11 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 1,920 points are the fourth-most through 25 games in school history, trailing just the 1986-87 (2,020), 2007-08 (2,003) and 1997-98 (1,940) teams and just ahead of the 1976-77 (1,862) squad. This year’s edition is the fourth fastest team in school history to collect 1,000 points in a season. The 11 80-point games tie for the eighth-most in school history with the 1963-64 and 1975-76 teams.
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 25 opponents thus far to an average of 66.2 points per game. The Wildcats have held 15 foes to less than 70 points, including 10 to 60 points or less. The 1,654 points yielded are the second-fewest through 25 games in the last 25 seasons and fewest since the 1998-99 team allowed just 1,588 points. This year, 13 foes have been held to below 40 percent shooting, while 11 have been held to below 30 percent from 3-point range. Despite allowing 72.7 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 25 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 14.8 points per game. Six players are averaging seven or more points, including senior Darren Kent (9.3 ppg.), sophomore Fred Brown (8.9 ppg.), redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels (8.6 ppg.) and sophomore Dominique Sutton (7.8 ppg.). Since statistics became available in 1950, there has been just one team - the 1955-56 squad - to have six players average seven or more points in a season.
There have already been seven different leading scorers in 25 games, including a league-best six players with 20-point outings. In all, there have been 86 double-digit scoring games with Clemente and Pullen each doing it a team-best 17 times. Ten players have scored in double figures with six of those players doing it nine or more times.
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 (927), field goals (320) and field goals attempted (779) total this season as well as nearly 85 percent of the 3-point field goals (149).
The play of these three guards has been key to the fortunes this year. In the 17 wins, the trio is averaging 39.1 points on 43.8 percent (228-of-520) shooting from the field, including 42.5 percent (114-of-268) from 3-point range. The squad is 2-0 when all three players score in double figures, while they are 11-1 when both Clemente and Pullen score 10 or more points. In the eight losses, the trio
averages 32.9 points on 35.5 percent (92-of-259) shooting, including just 29.7 percent (35-of-118) from beyond the arc.
The trio became just the third in school history to each tally 40 or more 3-pointers in a single-season and the first since the threesome of Brian Henson (48), Askia Jones (45) and Anthony Beane (42) did it during the 1992-93 season. The only other trio to perform the feat since the inception of the 3-point line was Will Scott (70), Mitch Richmond (46) and Steve Henson (42) during the 1987-88 season.
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 25 games, K-State is averaging 39.0 rebounds, including a Big 12-best 15.9 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, second in margin (+6.4) and rebounding defense (32.6) and third in rebounding. 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 512 points (almost 30 percent of season total of 1,920 points) off 438 opponent turnovers. The squad has also outscored its foes, 260-165, on fast-break opportunities. Kansas State has scored 20 or more points off turnovers in 13 of the team’s 25 games, including 30 or more points twice with a season-best 41 against Gardner-Webb.
In its 17 wins, the squad has outscored its foes, 381-193 (22.4 ppg.), in points off turnovers with an average of 17.9 turnovers. In contrast, the team has been outscored 147-131 (18.4 ppg.) in points off turnovers in its eight losses with an average of 16.6 turnovers. In all, the Wildcats have forced eight foes into 20 or more turnovers. The squad is averaging 7.2 steals per game with seven players grabbing 10 or more this year led by Jacob Pullen’s 43 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 24 of 25 games, have combined for 704 points on 40.6 percent shooting (241-of-594), including 36.1 percent
from 3-point range (100-of-277), with 157 of the team’s 364 assists. Clemente ranks first on the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game on 42.5 percent shooting with team-highs in field goals made (125) and free throw percentage (79.2). He is second to Pullen in assists (76) and minutes (680) and third in 3-point field goals (44) and steals (21). Pullen is second in scoring at 14.0 points per game on 38.7 percent shooting with team-highs in 3-point field goals made (56), assists (81), steals (43) and minutes (750).
The two have scored in double figures 12 times in the same game (team is 11-1) 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, 28 against Iowa State, 30 against Texas A&M, 27 against Texas Tech and 48 against Kansas. Clemente has led in scoring a team-best 10 times with a Big 12 record-tying 44 points against Texas, while Pullen, who like Clemente has scored in double figures a team-best 17 times, posted a career-best 26 against Oakland.
Clemente Earns Honors
Junior Denis 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 Feb. 3. 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 79.2 percent (61-of-77) overall for the season and 79.6 percent (39-of-49) in Big 12 play. Before missing three on Feb. 3 against Iowa State, he had connected on 33 of his last 34 attempts. He is an impressive 20-of-24 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 second in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (45.0) and 13th in 3-point field goals (49). He has at least one 3-pointer in 20 games, including two or more on 14 occasions. He ranks first in the Big 12 in 3-point percentage in league-only games at 48.8 percent (20-of-41). He has also hit big 3-point shots at critical moments, knocking down an arching trey with 18.6 seconds left in overtime in the win at No. 11 Texas then hitting the clinching 3-pointer with 43 seconds left in the victory at Texas A&M. He has scored in double figures nine times, including two 20-point outings against SE Missouri (21) and Chicago State (26).
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 9.3 points on 43 percent shooting (77-of-179) to go with 1.4 assists and 0.6 blocks in 22.2 minutes per game. His improvement has been evident this year, as he has already scored in double figures in 13 games, including seven times in Big 12 play, and totaled 232 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).
Samuels a Spark off the Bench
Redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels has provided a spark off the bench, averaging nearly 20 minutes per contest despite just two starts this year. He is fifth in scoring at 8.6 points on 52.6 percent shooting with 4.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.0 blocks in 19.9 minutes per game. He ranks fourth 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 had 10 or more points in seven of the last 19 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.
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 five Wildcats shooting 45 percent or better from the field, he is averaging 7.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.1 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 nine 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 5.2 points on 51.4 percent shooting with 5.2 rebounds in 19.8 minutes per game. He, along with sophomore Jacob Pullen, are the only Wildcats to start in all 25 games this season, while he has seen action in 31 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 241-87 (.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 last eight years at home with the team tallying double-digit victories each season. In the win over Iowa State, the squad posted its 100th home since the 2001-02 season, where the record currently stands at 101-30 (.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 Jerseys of Murrell, Richmond
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 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 for determining the honor 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 K-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 coach Lon Kruger from 1986-88. He helped guide the Wildcats to a 45-20 record, including a pair of NCAA Tournaments and a trip to the 1988 NCAA Elite Eight.
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 at K-State.
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 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.
Richmond is one of just six players in NBA history to average 21.0 or more points in each of his first 10 seasons (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Oscar Robertson). He was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year in 1989 after averaging 22.0 points per game. After three seasons with Golden State, he spent six years with Sacramento before being traded to Washington following the 1998 season. He retired following his 14th season after helping the Lakers win a NBA title in 2002.
North Carolina Central Update
North Carolina Central enters Tuesday’s game with 2-23 overall record in its second year as a member of Division I after reclassifying from Division II. The Eagles have lost five in a row since snapping an 18-game losing streak with back-to-back wins against UT-Pan American (77-71) and Central State (74-68) on Jan. 14 and 16. The team has been off for two weeks since dropping an 87-59 decision to in-state rival N.C. State on Feb. 3. Freshman guard Jamar Briscoe led all scorers with 28 points on 10-of-22 shooting, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range, while fellow rookie Nick Chasten added 10 points.
The Eagles are averaging 59 points through 25 games on 36.5 percent shooting, including 30.0 percent from 3-point range, with 30.2 rebounds, 11.7 assists, 8.2 steals and 3.0 blocks per game. The team has allowed opponents to score 80.3 points on 50.9 percent shooting, including 34.3 percent from 3-point range.
North Carolina Central has three players scoring in double figures led by freshman Jamar Briscoe, who is averaging 16.7 points on 37.6 percent shooting with 2.6 assists, 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 33 minutes per game. He is tops on the team with 46 3-point field goals. He is one of seven players averaging five or more points. Sophomore guard Vincent Davis is second in scoring at 11.4 points on 37.5 percent shooting with 4.0 rebounds and a team-best 1.6 steals in 30.1 minutes per contest. Senior guard Bryan Ayala averages 10.9 points on 28.2 percent shooting with 3.7 rebounds per game. Junior center Stevy Worah-Ozimo is fourth in scoring at 7.7 points to go with a team-best 8.2 rebounds in a team-high 33.1 minutes per game.
North Carolina Central returns seven lettermen, including three starters, from a team that finished the 2007-08 season with a 4-26 overall record in its first year in Division I.
The Eagles are led by fifth-year head coach Henry Dickerson, who has posted a 45-94 mark at the helm. He has a 117-167 overall record in 10 years as a head coach, which includes a five-year stint at Chattanooga (1997-2002).
Kansas State and North Carolina Central will be meeting for the first time in their respective histories. The Eagles are the third first-time opponent for the Wildcats this season, joining SE Missouri State and Idaho State. K-State is 8-1 all-time against independent teams.
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.