SE: Weber In Motion As Wildcat Coach
SE: Weber In Motion As Wildcat Coach
May 31, 2012
This feature was apart of the Thursday edition of the K-State Sports Extra.
By Mark Janssen
Bruce Weber likes to run a motion offense, and in motion is what the new Kansas State basketball coach has been since joining the Wildcats on March 31.
Recruiting, hiring, working with players, meetings, prepping for his daughter’s wedding and most recently touring Kansas.
“Part of it has been a blur,” said Weber. “The one week I attended the Powercat auction (April 28), got on a plane to Dallas, then Little Rock, then Indianapolis, then Hampton Va., then Washington, D.C. to see Rodney’s (McGruder) parents.
“Then I flew to Phoenix and went to Big 12 meetings, then I was back here to meet individually with our players before they left town, and then I was back on a plane back to Champaign (Ill.) to help with my daughter’s wedding, which was mainly paying bills,” quipped Weber. “The wedding was Saturday (May 5) and walking down the aisle with my daughter included some tears. It was a great ending to a busy week as we had friends from Wisconsin, from Purdue, from Southern Illinois and from Illinois. We didn’t get any K-Staters there, but we saw a lot of people from all stops in our lives.”
Yes, all of that in a span from April 28 to May 5.
That was followed by a couple stops the next week on the famed “Western Swing” of the Catbackers Tour, which included a visit to Scott City for the famous nut fry.
“Now that was an eye-opener,” laughed Weber of the western Kansas community’s 49th annual Catbacker event. “They came right up to me to see if I had it in me, and I tried one. Jordan (Henriquez) said he tried one last year, but he wouldn’t do it again this year, so they were all over him. But the place was full. They opened the doors and people were standing outside.”
The previous night Weber had been with a collection of K-Staters in Kansas City. He compared the experience to those he had encountered in previous stops at Purdue, Southern Illinois and Illinois.
“At K-State, we’re very similar to Purdue where we had the agriculture engineering school. In Illinois, you have Chicago, which is a world-renowned city, but the rest of the state, and in central Indiana, you’re surrounded by good Midwestern people,” said Weber. “People with great values, great pride in community, state, and here, Kansas State. You just sense the loyalty.”
For those in the K-State family that made every stop – Dodge City, Garden City, Scott City, Colby and Hays – Weber said, “Now that was a hard week… a road test, but at every stop you were surrounded by people who loved their school.”
Weber said the first question he was asked was about whether all the players were staying.
“I told them as far as I knew they were,” said Weber.
The Wildcat coach, however, says he’s excited for June 3-4 to get here when the entire roster of players is expected to return to campus for summer school.
“They were all positive when they left to go back home,” said Weber. “They left with a positive attitude, but you never know when they go back home and start talking to other people who may have a different idea for them.”
Once on campus next week, Weber and his coaching staff will put a new NCAA rule into action that will allow the entire coaching staff to work with the players for eight hours a week. Two hours – three 40-minute periods per week – will be on the basketball floor teaching fundamentals and Xs and Os, while the other six hours will focus on weights and conditioning for four days a week.
On top of that will be open-gym time, which Weber says, can decide the future of a team.
“You’re always curious on who the Pied Piper will be,” said Weber. “If its Rodney, does he bring somebody else to the gym, and then will that person bring somebody else. When you have all the guys coming in putting in extra time on their own, that’s when you can see a team go to another level.”
No off-campus recruiting can be done in the month of June, but again new rules will be introduced in the month of July when coaches will be allowed to be off-campus from Wednesday evening through Sunday for three consecutive weekends after the July 4th holiday.
In the past coaches were allowed to go off campus for a 10-day period in July, return to campus for four days, and then go back on the road for 10 days.
“This will be great,” said Weber. “When I started in this business you could be out for 60 days, then they cut it down to 25, but even that was so hard on coaches and their families. Plus, those were all days when you weren’t with your own team.
“These are great rule changes,” said Weber. “In the past players were pretty much on their own from May, June, July and August… one-third of the year. You hope they’re motivated to do things on their own, yet coaches were not allowed to be around.”
Throughout the summer, the Wildcat team will also be able to have 10 full practices to prepare for their trip to Brazil on August 8-18. Several will be saved for the days just prior to the trip, but as Weber says, “You can’t go 10 days in a row because they don’t have the conditioning, so we will work a few of those sessions in throughout the summer.”