Weber, Newcomers Meet the Media

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Head coach Bruce Weber and the five scholarship newcomer basketball players (Barry Brown, Carlbe Ervin II, Kamau Stokes, Dean Wade and Dante Williams) met with the media on Thursday at the Basketball Training Facility. 


Head Coach Bruce Weber
On what they hope to accomplish during this time...
"We get eight hours a week and we do not use all eight right now. It is a couple hours of basketball and then they will start weights. A lot of them have not lifted and I am sure when you talk to them, they will tell you they are sore already just after three days of weights. We will go four days a week of weights and then a couple hours of basketball. And then open gym, then they get to work camp and also take classes in between all that. These first couple weeks will be very trying on them. They are going to be tired, no doubt, because we do weights in the morning and then they go to class, come back and have camp to work. Then they have open gym or individual [workouts] after camp is done. After that it kind of settles down. It is just a lot of learning, especially for the new guys. The older guys are trying to set the tone for what we want and expect. They had a great spring and we have to carry that over to the summer. Hopefully everybody will just get after it this summer. That is the biggest thing - create a little bit of a brand or a way we want to do things - the toughness, competitiveness and consistency.  Those will be the three big words we talk about this summer."

On what he likes about the incoming players...
"For the most part, they have all won. I think that is impressive. For Dean [Wade], three state championships is impressive and even his freshmen year when he was not quite as big of a factor, they were still pretty good. Kamau [Stokes] won a couple state championships and city champions, Barry [Brown] took his team to the [state] Final Four, and Carlbe [Ervin] led his team to the No. 1 seed in the NJCAA National Tournament and they won 30 in a row. I do not care where you are playing, that is tough to do and he was the leader of that group. Even Dante [Williams] did a nice job at his place and they got pretty deep into the playoffs and into districts - so you have a group that has won. Right now it is good, they are a little naive and coming in with a little bit of a fear factor, which is positive, but they have not backed down from what we have seen. They will go at it. I think the guards can score, Dean can score. Dante is a big dude, he has a ways to learn, and then Carlbe just brings that toughness. They are teasing him - they say he is Nino [Williams] already with just his body flying around and being just a big, physical guy that can play physical."

On leadership and vocal leaders...
"I would love for the older guys to do it, but if not, I told the young guys that we just need some guys to set an example and get used to playing every day and playing hard. I told them the other day to play three to five games of open gym and they played eight or nine. I said that was great, but will they do that in July? That is the key in carrying it over.  You become a player when the coaches are not there. These first of couple weeks, like I said with the camp and early weights, there is not going to be a whole lot of time. But after that, when it settles down, it is about getting in the gym and being an example. Carlbe (Ervin), I am not sure he is vocal, but being in the locker room and saying the right things are important to a team. You know, Rodney McGruder did not say much, but when he did speak everybody listened and then he also led by example. Each group is a little bit different. Obviously, if your older guys can be speaking up and saying the right things, playing the right way, acting the right way, it is going to help your whole team, especially the younger guys."

On having one remaining 2015 scholarship...
"No, we are still lurking. We will probably have a couple kids visit here in the next couple weeks so we will see what happens. But at the same time we have to make sure they fit what we need and have the potential to help us. We gave a scholarship to Brian Rohleder and we are really excited about that. He is well deserving of a scholarship. He has worked so hard and is a great example of what K-State is about. I think he can help us. In hindsight looking back to last year, I wish I would have given him a few minutes just here and there because of his motor, toughness and defense. We just have to keep him healthy. He just goes so hard, you hope his body holds up."

Freshman Barry Brown
On playing point guard or shooting guard...
"I have played off the ball these last couple years but I have played point guard most of my life. I am comfortable wherever I need to be."

On playing time availability at those positions...
"I just know that in practices there is competition for minutes and just the position. There are two other guards that are brand new at my position and then you have somebody like Wes [Iwundu] that can play the two and the three and then Justin [Edwards] that can play the two and the three so that is a position that is kind of full. It is a struggle every day in practice to compete. It is a competition every day. You never know who is going to have a good day or who is going to have a bad day so you have to compete every day in practice for your minutes."

On what the coaches have been stressing to him...
"Come out and play my game -- do not be worried and do not be nervous. Just come out and play my game."

Junior Carlbe Ervin II
On what he brings to the team...
"Just a lot of toughness and character, stuff on and off the court. I am going to work hard. Really I hope I can rub off on a lot of these freshmen."

On the challenges of being a new leader...
"The big challenge is just not being afraid to say what you have to say. You have to make sure everybody respects you and give the respect that they want as well."

On if he needs to be a vocal leader...
"That is a great question. Yes, I think so. We do not have a lot of older guys on the team, but I think they need to step up their game and I do too. The more we talk and the more we get everyone involved, the better we will be.

Freshman Kamau Stokes
On what he is working on since arriving...
"I have mainly been working on getting bigger. It was not really my downfall, but it is what people wanted to see. They wanted to see me get bigger and stronger and I have been working on that."

On the point guard situation...
"It is the greatest opportunity to be able to come right in and play. Carlbe [Ervin] is a great player and we will work really hard to be successful this year."

On how he fits in with the offense...
"Well, we want to run, which I am fast and can push the ball, get guys involved and score as well. That is how I can help."

Freshman Dean Wade
On the difference between Kansas 2A basketball and Big 12...
"The physicality -- it is a lot more physical here. The speed is a lot different. It is fun. It is a lot more fun here than there, you could say. Once you play here, it is not the same going back to play 2A. It is not the same."

On being at K-State...
"It is just exciting for me. I like to take the challenge head on. It is great. I am glad I am here."

On coming in from a winning culture...
"It is important. We are bringing a winning attitude and mentality to the team. We hate losing, all of us do. It is absolutely awful. I think we are bringing a good mentality and a good focus to the team."

Freshman Dante Williams
On his expectations as a player...
"I know I need to show them what I can do so when the time comes I can be called upon and not just be thrown on the bench to have somebody else put in in my place. I want to be there for the team, to help them out, and show them that I can be counted on in tough spots."

On his offensive game...
"Right now I am really more of a back to the basket guy, but I know I need to put face up in there and mix it up a little bit so I am not such a predictable player."

On team chemistry so far...
"It is real good, very good chemistry. I feel like we are all a family and we all have each other's back. That is really what brought me here to K-State. When I came here I could see that everybody was really close. I could see that they had each other's backs and could count on each other."