K-State Enjoys Another Successful Season

Kansas State Men’s Basketball Review

Overall Record: 22-12

Big 12 Record: 9-7 (t-4th)



Kansas State concluded the 2008-09 season with a 22-12 overall record, including a tie for fourth-place in the Big 12 with a 9-7 mark. The Wildcats advanced to the postseason for the third consecutive season with an at-large bid (No. 4 seed) to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT).  The squad defeated Illinois State, 83-79, at home in overtime in the first round before losing to the region’s top-seed, San Diego State, in the second round, 70-52, in San Diego, Calif.



Kansas State made its 30th postseason appearance in 2008-09 and its seventh in the NIT.  It marked the first time in 15 years that the team advanced to the postseason in three consecutive years since the 1991-92 and 1993-94 teams went to the NIT and the 1992-93 squad advanced to the NCAA Tournament.  The Wildcats were one of nine Big 12 teams that were invited to the postseason, including one of three (Baylor and Nebraska) in the NIT.


The team is now 34-35 all-time in postseason play, including 6-8 in NIT action.  The overtime win over Illinois State in the first round was the first-ever in NIT play and the fifth all-time in postseason play.  It was the first postseason overtime victory since an 82-79 win over Georgia in the first round of the NCAA West Regional in Salt Lake City, Utah, on March 12, 1987. 


Head Coach Frank Martin

Martin concluded the 2008-09 season with a 43-24 overall record, including a 19-13 mark in Big 12 play, in his second season.  The 43 wins are the second-most by a head coach in his first two years and the most since Lon Kruger (45; 1986-88).  Martin is the first coach to post back-to-back 20-win seasons since Lon Kruger (1986-88).  The 19 conference wins ties Lon Kruger and Cotton Fitzsimmons for the most by head coach in his first two years.


20-Win Season Again

Kansas State posted its 21st 20-win season in school history in 2008-09 and the 14th posted during the regular season.  The team has now won 20 or more games in three consecutive seasons for the first time in over 25 years since the 1979-80, 1980-81 and 1981-82 seasons.  It is just the fifth 20-win season in the last 20 years, joining the 1993-94 (20-14), 1998-99 (20-14), 2006-07 (23-12) and 2007-08 (21-12) teams.


Improvement in Big 12 Play

Kansas State posted nine wins in Big 12 play for the third consecutive season, while it also received its third straight bye at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.  The 29 league wins since 2006 are the most in a three-year span since the 1974-75, 1975-76 and 1976-77 teams posted 32.  The team also has 11 road conference wins in that span, which is one more than they had in the first 10 seasons of the Big 12 (1996-2006).  This season, the Wildcats won four consecutive conference road games for the first time since the 1979-80 season.  The squad also swept NCAA Tournament teams Texas and Texas A&M on the road for the first time in the Big 12 era.


Quite a Turnaround

Kansas State became just the second school in Big 12 history to rally from an 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 Big 12 action.  It had been done 10 other times (0-4 start) in school history, however, no other Wildcat team had ever rallied back to .500 after starting 0-4 in league play.  K-State became just the fourth team in the Big 12 era (Iowa State 2002-03 and 2004-05 and Nebraska 2007-08) to start winless (0-4 or worse) in league play and make the postseason.


Record Watch

Records Broken

  • Most Home Games (19)
  • Ties for Most Home Wins (16 1981-82)
  • Most Home Wins at Bramlage Coliseum (16)
  • Most Free Throws Attempted (862) Broke old mark of 850 set in 1958-59
  • Most Personal Fouls (710) Broke old mark of 682 set in 1993-94

Team Single-Season

  • Most Games Played (34) T2nd (1993-94 and 1987-88)
  • Most Points (2556)  4th (just 4th team to top 2,500 points)
  • Most Field Goals Attempted (2057)  3rd (just 5th team to top 2,000 attempts)
  • Most 3-Point Field Goals (223) T2nd (2006-07)
  • Most 3-Point Field Goals Attempted (637) 4th
  • Most Free Throws Made (559) 5th
  • Highest Rebounding Margin (+6.2) T4th (1967-68)
  • Most Steals (241) 5th
  • Most Turnovers Forced (579) 2nd (most since 1993-94) 

Individual Single-Game

  • Steals (Dominique Sutton 88) tied school record set by Lynn Smith vs. South Dakota in 1986 and Elliot Hatcher vs. Wichita State in 1996
  • Assists (Jacob Pullen 11) T7th (five other individuals) 

Individual Single-Season

  • 3-Point Field Goals (Jacob Pullen 75) 7th
  • 3-Point Field Goal Attempted (Jacob Pullen 224) 2nd
  • Steals (Jacob Pullen 54) 6th
  • Games Started (Luis Colon and Jacob Pullen 34) T2nd
  • Games Started (Darren Kent) T10th

Individual Career

  • 3-Point Field Goals (Jacob Pullen 115) 8th
  • 3-Point Field Goal Attempted (Jacob Pullen 356) 5th
  • Steals (Jacob Pullen 94) T6th (Ed Nealy) 

Potent Offense

Kansas State prove to be one of the top offensive teams in the Big 12, averaging over 75 points per game.  The 75.2-point scoring average was just outside the school’s top-5 for highest scoring average for a single-season, trailing the 1974-75 team for fifth place at 76.8 points per game.  The team scored 70 or more points in 24 games, including 80 or more points 13 times.  The four 90-point games were the most since 1997-98, while the 13 80-point games tied three others for the fifth-most in school history.

The 2,556 points are the fourth-most in a single-season in Kansas State history, trailing the 2007-08 (2,574), 1987-88 (2,565) and 1986-87 (2,565) teams.  This year’s team became just the fourth in school history with at least 2,500 points, while it became the third consecutive team to top 2,400 points for the first time in school history.  Prior to 2006-07, the squad had scored 2,000 or more points just four times in the previous 12 years.

Since Frank Martin’s arrival in 2007, K-State has shown the ability to score points, totaling three of the top-5 most prolific scoring teams in school history.  The 2008-09 squad not only posted the fourth-most points, but also tied for the second-most 3-point field goals (223), the third-most field goal attempted (2,057) and fourth-most 3-point field goals attempted (637).  In 2007-08, the    Wildcats set the school mark with 2,574 points, while also posting the second-most field goals attempted (2,067), the third-most field goals (916) and fourth-most 3-point field goals made (210) as well as the third-highest scoring average (78.0).

Beyond the Arc

Kansas State was a big threat from the 3-point line this season, topping the 200-trey barrier for just the fourth time in school history.  The squad posted 223 3-point field goals on 637 attempts for a 35.0 percentage.  The 223 treys tied the 2006-07 squad for the second-most in school history, while the 637 attempts are the fourth-most in program’s history.  The 35.0 percentage is the highest since the 2004-05 squad connected on 37.7 percent (167/443).  The Wildcats posted 10 or more 3-pointers in five games, including a team-best 13 against Oakland on Nov. 25.

The trio of Jacob Pullen (75), Denis Clemente (59) and Fred Brown (54) became the first in school history to each tally 50 or more 3-pointers in a single season since the inception of the 3-point line.  They are also just the third threesome to each post 40 or more treys in a single-season, joining the group of Will Scott (70), Mitch Richmond (46) and Steve Henson (42) in 1987-88 and Brian Henson (48), Askia Jones (45) and Anthony Beane (42) in 1992-93.  Pullen’s 75 treys ranked as the seventh-most in school history and most since Cartier Martin (78; 2006-07), while his 224 attempts were the second-most.   


Diverse Offense

Unlike the 2007-08 season when consensus All-American Michael Beasley paced the squad at 26.2 points per game, the 2008-09 team showed a lot more diversity with its scoring output. 

In 34 games, all 12 players totaled double-digit points with nine scoring in triple digits.  The duo of junior Denis Clemente (15.0 ppg.) and sophomore Jacob Pullen (13.9 ppg.) were the only ones to average in double figures, while six others averaged seven or more points, including senior Darren Kent (9.0 ppg.), redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels (8.3 ppg.), sophomore Fred Brown (8.1 ppg.) and sophomore Dominique Sutton (7.5 ppg.).  Since statistics became available in 1950, there has been just one other team - the 1955-56
squad - to have six players average seven or more points in a season. 

There were seven different leading scorers, including a Big 12-best six players with 20-point outings.  In all, there were 111 double-digit scoring games with Clemente each doing it a team-best 23 times.  Ten players tallied double figures with six doing it 10 or more times. 

Backcourt Play 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 (1,226), field goals (419) and field goals attempted (1,050) total this season as well as over 85 percent of the 3-point field goals (188).  They became the first in school history to each tally 50 or more 3-pointers in a single season since the inception of the 3-point line. 

The play of these three guards was key to the team’s fortunes in 2008-09.  In the 22 wins, the trio averaged 37.5 points on 42.4 percent (281-of-662) shooting from the field, including 39.8 percent (134-of-336) from 3-point range.  The squad was 2-0 when all three players scored in double figures, while it was 13-3 when both Clemente and Pullen scored 10 or more points.  In the 12 losses, the trio averages 33.5 points on 35.6 percent (138-of-388) shooting, including just 30.2 percent (54-of-179) from beyond the arc.


Dynamic Duo

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 started two of the best at their positions in junior Denis Clemente and sophomore Jacob Pullen.

The duo, which started 32 of 34 games, combined for 952 points on 39.3 percent shooting (320-of-815), including 34.8 percent from 3-point range (134-of-385), with 221 of the team’s 481 assists.  Clemente ranked first on the team in scoring at 15.0 points per game on 40.5 percent shooting with team-highs in field goals made (167), field goals attempted (412), assists (112) and free throw percentage (79.8).  He was second to Pullen in 3-point field goals (59) and minutes (952) and third in steals (27).  Pullen was second in scoring at 13.9 points per game on 38 percent shooting with team-highs in 3-point field goals made (75), steals (54) and minutes (1027).

The two scored in double figures 16 times in the same game (team went 13-3) with 48 against Kansas, 45 against Oakland, 39 against Wagner, 36 points against Florida A&M, 33 against Missouri, 34 against Gardner-Webb, 32 against Colorado, 31 against Cleveland State, Kentucky, Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Texas, 30 against Texas A&M, 28 against Iowa State and 27 against Texas Tech. 


The Pressure is On

Pressure was a strong factor in the Wildcats’ success in 2008-09, as the team scored 657 points (almost 30 percent of season total of 2,556 points) off 579 opponent turnovers.  The 657 points were the most off turnovers since the statistic began being kept in 2005, while the 579 opponent turnovers were the second-most in school history and the most since the 1993-94 team forced 624.  Kansas State scored 20 or more points off turnovers in 15 of the team’s 34 games, including 30 or more points twice with a season-best 41 against Gardner-Webb. 

In its 22 wins, the squad outscored its foes, 480-245 (21.8 ppg.), in points off turnovers with an average of 18.0 turnovers.  In contrast, the team was outscored 223-177 (14.8 ppg.) in points off turnovers in its 12 losses with an average of 15.9 turnovers.  In all, the Wildcats forced 11 foes into 20 or more turnovers.  The squad averaged 7.1 steals per game with six players grabbing 20 or more this year led by Jacob Pullen’s 54 steals.  His 54 thefts were the most sixth-most in school history and the most since Fred Peete had 62 in 2004-05.


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 continued to be a strength with seven players averaging at least two boards per game.

averaged 39.2 rebounds, including a Big 12-best 16.3 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 overall rebounds and offensive rebounds, second in margin (+6.2) and third in rebounding defense (33.0).  Five players - Ron Anderson, Luis Colon, Darren Kent, Jamar Samuels and Dominique Sutton - grabbed double-digit rebounds 14 times with Kent averaging a team-best 5.8 boards per game.  Kent had a team-leading four double-doubles this season, while Anderson, Colon and Sutton each had two and Samuels had one.


Home Sweet Home

Bramlage Coliseum continued to be a strong homecourt advantage for the Kansas State in 2008-09, as the Wildcats broke the school record for most home games (19) and tied the mark for most wins at home (16).  The 19 home games broke the record of 18 done four times (1981-82, 1993-94, 2004-05, 2006-07), while the 16 wins tied the record of the 1981-82 squad (16-2) set at Ahearn Field House.  K-State has posted a 245-87 (.737) record at Bramlage Coliseum since its opening in 1988 and has earned 10 or more home wins in 16 of its 21 seasons.


The Wildcats have been even better in the last eight years at home.  The team has won 10 or more home games each year in that span, which is the longest such stretch since doing it 10 straight years from 1972-82.  In the win over Iowa State on Feb. 3, the squad posted its 100th home win since the 2001-02 season, where its record currently sits at 105-30 (.776) in that span.


Solid Non-Conference Season

Kansas State’s win against North Carolina Central on Feb. 17 gave the team 12 non-conference wins, including a perfect 11-0 mark at home.  The 12 non-conference wins tied the 1985-86 team for the second-most in school history and the most since the 1993-94 squad tallied a school-record 13.  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 Wildcats have won at least 10 non-league contests four times in the last five seasons. 

Clemente Newcomer of the Year

Junior Denis Clemente was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year as well as a second team All-Big 12 selection on March 7.  In addition, he was a unanimous pick to the All-Big 12 Rookie Team, while Jacob Pullen was named All-Big 12 honorable mention.

Clemente became K-State’s third major award winner since 2007, joining current NBA players Cartier Martin (2007 Sixth Man of the Year) and Michael Beasley (2008 Big 12 Player and Freshman of the Year).  He became the 12th player in school history to be honored as the league’s Newcomer of the Year and the first by the coaches in the Big 12 era.  He joined Bob Zender (1970), Steve Mitchell (1971), Lon Kruger (1972), Mike Evans (1975), Curtis Redding (1977), Ed Nealy (1979), Randy Reed (1981), Norris Coleman (1986), Jean Derouillere (1990) and Anthony Beane (1993) as Wildcats to be named to Newcomer of the Year.  Jeremiah Massey was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year by The Associated Press in 2004.

Clemente became the 10th player since 1997 to be selected to one of the three all-conference squads, while he and Pullen are the 20th and 21st players to earn either first, second, third or honorable mention accolades since the league’s inception.  He is the third Wildcat to be named to the All-Rookie Team after Beasley and Bill Walker were named to the squad a year ago.


Clemente Earns Weekly 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 was 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 was 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 TexasReggie Freeman against Fresno State on Dec. 14, 1996.

Nobody’s Perfect

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 79.4 percent (85-of-107) overall for the season and 79.7 percent (63-of-79) in Big 12 play.  Before missing three on Feb. 3 against Iowa State, he had connected on 33 of his last 34 attempts.  He was an impressive 24-of-30 from the line in the last five minutes.


Kent Steps Up As A Senior

Darren Kent proved to be one of the most improved players in the Big 12 in 2008-09, as the lone senior led the team in rebounding and ranked third in scoring.  For the season, he averaged 9.0 points on 40.9 percent shooting (103-of-252) to go with 5.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 23.0 minutes per game.  His improvement was evident this year, as he scored in double figures in 16 games, including nine times in Big 12 play, and totaled 305 points.  In contrast, he came into the year with 104 career points and just one double-figure scoring game.  Kent also totaled his team-leading four career double-doubles all his senior season.  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).  He capped his career at home with a 19-point effort in the win over Illinois State on March 18.  Kent twice totaled a career-high 12 rebounds against SE Missouri State and Chicago State.

The Colorado win on March 7 made Kent the 15th player in school history to post 80 wins in a career and the first since Steve Henson (82; 1986-90).  He ranks eighth all-time with 81 wins, tying Les Craft (81; 1979-83) and Eduardo Galvao (81; 1979-83).  Tyrone Adams (1978-82) and Ed Nealy (1978-82) are the all-time leaders in wins with 85, while Darryl Winston (83; 1973-77) is third and Carl Gerlach (82; 1972-76) and Steve Henson (82; 1986-90) rank fourth.    

Spark Off The Bench

Redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels provided a spark off the bench for the Wildcats in 2008-09, averaging over 20 minutes per contest despite just two starts.  He ranked fourth on the squad in scoring at 8.3 points on a near team-best 51.4 percent shooting with 4.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists and a team-high 0.9 blocks in 20.5 minutes per game.  He ranked fourth with 15 double-figure scoring games, including a season-high 20 points against Gardner-Webb on Dec. 14.  He collected his first double-double against Iowa State on Feb. 21 with a team-best 13 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.  He was sensational in wins against Missouri on Jan. 28 and Colorado on March 7.  He collected a personal Big 12-high 18 points against the Tigers on 7-of-9 shooting with six rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 24 minutes, while he added 17 points against the Buffaloes with six rebounds, a career-high five assists and two steals.


Brown From Outside

Sophomore Fred Brown emerged as a dangerous threat from the outside for the Wildcats, as he ranked third in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (42.1) and 15th in 3-point field goals (54).  He had at least one 3-pointer in 24 games, including two or more 15 times.  Brown made a habit of hitting 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 win at Texas A&M.  He scored in double figures 10 times, including two 20-point outings against SE Missouri State (21) on Nov. 16 and Chicago State (26) on Jan. 5.


Sutton Steals The Show

Sophomore Dominique Sutton was an all-around factor for the Wildcats in 2008-09.   One of five Wildcats to shoot 45 percent or better from the field, he averaged 7.5 points on 48.5 percent shooting with 5.4 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.0 assists in 22.9 minutes per game.  He ranked second on the team in rebounding and steals, fourth in minutes and sixth in scoring.  He scored in double figures 10 times and collected two double-doubles during the season.  He posted a career night against Wagner on Dec. 30 with highs in six categories, including points (21), rebounds (10), field goals (7) and field goals attempts (11).  He collected his second double-double of the season against Iowa State on Feb. 3 and first in Big 12 play with 13 points and 10 rebounds. 


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.


Force In The Middle 

A starter in the post all season, junior Luis Colon is finally coming into his own this year.  He averaged 4.4 points on 47.7 percent shooting with 4.7 rebounds in 18.2 minutes per game.  He, along with sophomore Jacob Pullen, were the only Wildcats to start in all 34 games this season, while he has seen action in 40 games in a row.  Like Kent, Colon’s improvement was dramatic this season.  He nearly doubled his career totals for points (149) and rebounds (160) in his previous two years combined.  He scored in double figures five times, while he collected double-figure rebounds three times after never doing it in the previous 57 games.