Trio of Wildcats To Compete Internationally This Summer

Rising sophomore D.J. Johnson will play in the Far East from May 11-26.

May 7, 2013

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Three Wildcats – Thomas Gipson, D.J. Johnson and Jevon Thomas – will compete internationally this summer for two organizations, as they look to improve their skills for the 2013-14 men’s basketball season.

Rising sophomore D.J. Johnson has been selected to participate with Reach USA on a cultural exchange trip to the Far East from May 11-26, while rising junior Thomas Gipson and incoming freshman Jevon Thomas will compete with the Athletes in Action Tour to Lithuania from August 6-19.

As a part of Reach USA, Johnson and his teammates will play eight games during its trip to the Far East against various club teams in the area. The roster includes George Fant (Western Kentucky), J.P. Kambola (Marshall), Josiah Moore (Tennessee Tech), Jordan Myers (Campbellsville), Elfrid Payton (Louisiana-Lafayette), T.J. Price (Western Kentucky), Travis Smith (Mercer) and Stacy Wilson (Murray State). The team will be coached by current Jacksonville (Ala.) State associate head coach Tom Schuberth and former high school coach Gary Forrest.

The 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward from St. Louis, Mo., Johnson averaged 2.3 points on 56.0 percent shooting with 2.5 rebounds in 9.3 minutes per game in 30 games as a true freshman in 2012-13. He had a big game against Texas in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on March 14 with eight points and seven rebounds in 15 minutes.

Reach USA is an organization that takes teams around the world to help impact their lives.

Gipson, Thomas and the rest of the Athletes in Action Tour will play various club teams in the region in the cities of Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipeda, Lithuania from August 6-19.  The roster includes Drew Barham (Gonzaga), David Chadwick (Valparaiso), Kadeem Coleby (Wichita State), Beau Gamble (Colorado), Brady Heslip (Baylor), Chris Jennkins (Colorado), Jordan Swing (UAB) and Jamil Wilson (Marquette). The team will be coached by current Valparaiso assistant coach Roger Powell.  Powell played for current K-State head coach Bruce Weber at Illinois from 2001-05, helping the Fighting Illini to the national championship game as a senior.

A 6-foot-7, 270-pound forward from Cedar Hill, Texas, Gipson saw action in all 35 games for the Wildcats in 2012-13, averaging 7.9 points on 51.7 percent shooting with 5.0 rebounds in 18.7 minutes per game. He ranked second on the team in rebounding and was fourth in scoring. Thomas, a 6-foot, 180-pound point guard from Queens, N.Y., will be a freshman in 2013-14 after playing at St. John’s (Wis.) Northwest Military Academy in Delafield, Wis. He averaged 15 points and seven assists last season and was named the most outstanding player of the 2013 National Prep School Invitational in Providence, R.I.

Kansas State enjoyed one of its best men’s basketball seasons in 2012-13, posting a 27-8 overall record and 14-4 mark in league play en route to its first-ever Big 12 regular season championship and a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.  The 27 wins were the second-most in school history, while the 14 in league play tied the school record held by the 1958-59 team.  The Wildcats will return eight lettermen in 2013-14, including two starters, highlighted by All-Big 12 honorable mention honoree Shane Southwell.