K-State tips season off Friday against FAMU

Game Information

Kansas State (0-0) vs. Florida A&M (0-0)

Date: Friday, November 14, 2008

Tipoff: 7:10 p.m.

Location: Manhattan, Kan.

Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (1988)

Capacity: 12,528

Series: K-State leads 2-0 (1-0 at home)

Television: FSN Kansas City/ESPN Full Court/ESPN360

Ben Boyle (play-by-play)

Stan Weber (analyst)

Max Leinwand (producer)

Satellite Channels: DirecTV 672, Dish Network 452

Coordinates: Galaxy 17, Transponder 13 Lower (KU Band)

Radio: K-State Sports Network; Powercat Passport Internet Audio; Yahoo! Internet Radio

Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)

Matt Walters (analyst)

Tickets: Tickets are available by calling (800) 221-CATS

Kansas State

Record: 0-0 (0-0 Big 12)

Ranking (AP/Coaches): --/--

Coach: Frank Martin

Alma Mater: Florida International, 93

Career Record: 21-12/1

School Record: 21-12/1

vs. Florida A&M: 1-0

07-08 Record: 21-12 (10-6 Big 12)

Last game: Nov. 9, 2008

defeated Washburn, 81-57

SID: Tom Gilbert

Website: www.k-statesports.com


Florida A&M

Record: 0-0 (0-0 Big 12)

Ranking (AP/Coaches): --/--

Coach: Eugene Harris

Alma Mater: Florida State, 79

Career Record: 15-17/1

School Record: 15-17/1

vs. Kansas State: 0-1

07-08 Record: 15-17 (9-7 MEAC)

Last game: Nov. 10, 2008

defeated Warner Southern, 79-71

SID: Ronnie Johnson

Website: www.thefamurattlers.com


Kansas State (0-0)

G - #0 Jacob Pullen (6-0, 200, So.)

G - #21 Denis Clemente (6-1, 175, Jr.)

F - #23 Dominique Sutton (6-5, 210, So.)

F - #42 Darren Kent (6-11, 230, Sr.)

F - #50 Luis Colon (6-10, 265, Jr.)

Florida A&M (0-0)

G - #10 Byron Taylor (5-7, 155, Sr.)

G - #15 Brandon Bryant (6-3, 170, Jr.)

G - #24 Joe Ballard (6-0, 190, Sr.)

F - #3 Lamar Twitty (6-4, 205, Sr.)

F - #32 Larry Jackson (6-6, 215, So.)


Game Preview

Kansas State officially opens the 2008-09 season on Friday night, as the Wildcats play host to Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference member Florida A&M (0-0) at Bramlage Coliseum at 7 p.m.  It will be the first of three consecutive home games to start the season and the first of back-to-back contests this weekend, as the team hosts SE Missouri State (0-0) on Sunday in the preliminary rounds of the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitiational at 2 p.m.

K-State played their lone exhibition contest of the season on Sunday, as the Wildcats posted an 81-57 win over Division II Washburn.  After struggling in the first half, the squad scorched the rims in the second half, connecting on 59.4 percent from the field, in taking their seventh consecutive exhibition win and their 11th in the last 13.  Sophomore guard Jacob Pullen led three players in double figures with a game-high 21 points, while junior guard Denis Clemente added 12 points.  In all, the team showed a balance with seven players scoring seven or more points and five grabbing five or more rebounds.       

Friday’s contest will be televised on Fox Sports Kansas City (DirecTV 672 and Dish Network 452) with Ben Boyle (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) calling the action.  Fans will also be able to watch the game on the ESPN Full Court package and ESPN360.com.  For more information on the ESPN Full Court as well as ESPN360.com, fans should consult its website at http://proxy.espn.go.com/ncb/fullcourt/. It will be the first of 12 appearances on the FSN Kansas City and one of 26 regular-season contests that will be televised.

Fans will also be able to listen to the audio broadcast on the 29-station K-State Sports Network (Powercat Passport Internet Audio; Yahoo! Internet Radio) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Matt Walters (analyst) on the call.

It will mark a busy weekend for Wildcat fans, as they will be able to watch several teams in action, including the football team against North rival Nebraska at Bill Snyder Family Stadium at 2:35 p.m. on Saturday and the No. 14-ranked women’s volleyball team against No. 4 Texas later that night at 7 p.m. at Ahearn Field House.  Fans can get into the volleyball match for $2 with a football ticket.   


Ticket Information

Season tickets are still available this season in a variety of ticket packages, including courtside/loge box ($440), chairback ($390), faculty/staff chairback ($312), Cat Cushion ($350), faculty/staff Cat Cushion ($280), bench ($320), faculty/staff bench ($256), family plan (2 adults/2 children - $640) and Young Alumni ($160).    

Single-game tickets are available for purchase for $35 (chairback, sections 3-9) and $30 (general admission) at Athletics Ticket Office, by calling 1.800.221.CATS and online at www.k-statesports.com.


Basketball schedule magnets (limit one per person) will be given to fans as they leave the arena.  Also, schedule posters and schedule cards will be available to fans on tables throughout the concourse.

K-State in Season Openers

Kansas State is 80-24 (.769) all-time in season openers, including a 66-9 (.880) mark when debuting in Manhattan.  The Wildcats have won 13 of their last 16 season openers with all three losses coming on the road.  The team last lost a season opener in 2002, as the Wildcats dropped a 73-64 decision to BYU at the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands on Nov. 23.

K-State has won 11 straight home season openers dating back to a 74-60 loss to Southern Miss on Nov. 27, 1993.  The Wildcats are 16-1 when opening the season at Bramlage Coliseum.  In all, the team has won 32 of its last 33 season openers at home.  The last home loss prior to 1993 was a 60-59 setback to Minnesota on Dec. 1, 1966. 


’Cats in November

Kansas State is 71-21 (.772) all-time in the month of November,including wins in 20 of its last 24 games.  The Wildcats have won 17 of their last 18 games at home in November dating back to the 2003-04 season.  The team saw its 17-game homecourt winning streak in the month end in an 80-77 overtime loss to No. 17 Oregon on Nov. 29, 2008.  It was the first November home loss since a 59-55 loss to Northwestern on Nov. 30, 2002. 

Last season, the squad posted a 5-2 mark in the month with wins against Sacramento State (94-63), Pittsburg State (76-66), Western Illinois (77-64), UCF (73-71) and Rider (82-69) and losses to George Mason (87-77) and Oregon.

Exhibition Recap

K-State played its lone exhibition game last Sunday, as the Wildcats used a strong second half to post an 81-57 win over Washburn. 

Both teams struggled shooting the ball in the first half, as the Wildcats connected on 30.3 percent to just 18.5 percent for the Ichabods in holding a 36-24 edge at the break.  In the second half, the squad connected on 59.4 percent from the field to pull away from Washburn for their seventh straight exhibition win.  The Wildcats finished the day shooting 44.6 percent from the field, including 5-of-12 from beyond the arc. K-State out-rebounded Washburn, 52-31, and forced the Ichabods into a 29.6 field goal percentage, including 2-of-10 from beyond the 3-point line. 

Sophomore Jacob Pullen led a trio of players in double figures with 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting, while junior Denis Clemente added 12 points, six rebounds and a team-high five assists.  Senior forward Darren Kent nearly tallied a double-double with 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds to go with four assists and four blocks.


Coming off its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 12 years and the first NCAA Tournament victory in 20 years, K-State looks to continue that momentum in 2008-09 as Frank Martin will look to blend the experience of seven returners with the talents of six newcomers.

Five of those seven returning lettermen started at least one contest in 2007-08, including sophomore guard Jacob Pullen, who along with Michael Beasley and Blake Young saw action in all 33 games a year ago to go with 14 starts.  Pullen will guide a talented backcourt, which includes Denis Clemente, a starter in 28 games in two years with Miami (Fla.).  The team’s lone senior, Darren Kent, will anchor a young but diverse frontcourt.  He is one of five returning lettermen in the post, who benefitted greatly from daily battles with current NBA rookies Michael Beasley and Bill Walker. 


In his first season at the helm, Martin guided Kansas State to a 21-12 overall record, including a third-place finish in the Big 12 with a 10-6 mark.  He became just the second rookie coach in school history to lead his team to the NCAA Tournament and the first since Lon Kruger did so in 1986-87, as the Wildcats advanced to the Big Dance for the first time since 1995-96 season.  Once there, Martin helped the team capture its first NCAA Tournament win since 1988 with an 80-67 win over USC in the first round of the Midwest Regional in Omaha, Neb., before falling to No. 8 Wisconsin, 72-55, in the second round.  

Florida A&M Update

Like Kansas State, Florida A&M played just one game in the exhibition season, posting a 79-71 win over Warner Southern on Monday night.  The Rattlers struggled from the field, shooting just 38.3 percent for the contest, however, they used their defensive pressure to score 35 points off 21 turnovers in the win.  Freshman guard Dale Hughes led three players in double figures with a game-high 30 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including 7-of-13 from beyond the arc.  Senior forward Lamar Twitty chipped in 17 points and five rebounds, while junior guard Brandon Bryant added 11 points.    

Florida A&M returns five lettermen, including three starters, from a squad that finished 15-17 in 2007-08, including a 9-7 mark in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play. The team is led by the senior Twitty, who ranked 12th in the conference in scoring a year ago at 13.2 points per game and sixth in rebounding at 6.1 per game.  Senior guard Joe Ballard led all MEAC players with 3.8 assists per game.

The Rattlers are led by second-year head coach Eugene Harris, who posted a 15-17 record in his initial campagin a year ago. Prior to Florida A&M, Harris spent 23 years as an assistant coach throughout the southeast including stints at South Alabama (1983-84), Clemson (1984-94), Auburn (1994-2001) and Alabama (2005-06). 

Like Frank Martin, Harris played and coached in the state of Florida.  He was a three-year starter for the legendary Hugh Durham at Florida State and was co-captain of a Seminole squad that won the 1978 Metro Conference crown.  He also coached in the Florida high school ranks before moving to college basketball, spending two seasons (1982-84) at Rickards High School in Tallahassee, Fla.  

Series vs. Florida A&M

K-State and Florida A&M have met just twice before in their histories.  The Wildcats own a 2-0 edge in the series, including a 93-48 win on Nov. 27, 1990 and an 87-60 victory last season at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.  The team is 16-0 all-time against teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, including back-to-back wins over the Rattlers and Winston-Salem State last season.   

11-27-90     K-State 93-48    Manhattan

12-17-07     K-State 87-60    Manhattan

Up Next: SE Missouri State (0-0)

Kansas State will have a quick turnaround with its second game in a three-day stretch on Sunday, Nov. 16 against SE Missouri State at 2 p.m.  The game will be the first of two preliminary games in the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational, including the home game with Oakland on Tuesday, Nov. 25.  All the teams will go to Las Vegas, Nev., at the end of the month with the Wildcats facing Kentucky in the first round before playing either Iowa or West Virginia in the second round.

The Redhawks will travel to Albuquerque, N.M., to face New Mexico on Friday night before coming back east to face K-State on Sunday.  The team went 2-0 in exhibition play, defeating Missouri Baptist, 81-73, on Nov. 1 and MacMurray, 109-73, on Nov. 8.  Senior gaurd Kenard Moore averaged a team-best 22.5 points in its two-game exhibition season with sophomore forward Jajuan Maxwell averaging 17.5 points and a team-high 13.0 rebounds.      

SE Missouri State returns six lettermen, including three starters, from a squad that finished 12-19 in 2007-08, including a 7-13 mark in Ohio Valley Conference play. The team is led by senior guard Jaycen Herring, who led the team in scoring at 13.1 points per game.  Moore   averaged 10.4 points with a team-high 77 three-point field goals.

The RedHawks are led by acting head coach Zac Roman, who was named to the post on Oct. 16 after the school put third-year coach Scott Edgar on administrative leave due to an NCAA investigation.  A 1996 graduate of Wichita State, Roman spent the last season as an assistant to Edgar where he helped the team to a 12-19 record.

Series vs. SE Missouri State

This will be the first all-time meeting between Kansas State and SE Missouri State on the hardwood.  The Wildcats are 10-1 all-time against teams from the Ohio Valley Conference, including 6-0 at home.  The squad is also 136-124 all-time against Division I teams from the state of Missouri, including 69-48 at home.  

Martin inks stellar four-man recruiting 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 Thursday.


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.