K-State Hosts George Washington on Thursday

Rodney McGruder has scored in double figures in 13 of last 16 games.

Nov. 30, 2011

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Game 4
Kansas State (3-0) vs. George Washington (4-1)

Thursday, December 1, 2011 * 7:10 p.m. CT * Manhattan, Kan. * Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)

Game Information
Television: FOX Sports Midwest HD (ESPN Full Court)
Ben Boyle (play-by-play); Stan Weber (analyst)
Channels: DirecTV 671, Dish 418, AT&T U-verse 748, TWC 309
HD Channels: DirecTV 671-1, Dish 418-1, AT&T 1748, TWC 1309
Internet: ESPN3.com
Radio: K-State Sports Network
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play); Matt Walters (analyst)
Satellite Radio: n/a
Live Stats:  www.k-statesports.com/multimedia
Live Audio: www.k-statesports.com/allaccess (free)
Twitter Updates: twitter.com/kstate_gameday
K-State vs. George Washington: 0-1 (L, 25-48; 12/28/1940)
vs. Atlantic 10: 19-17 (8-3 at home)

The Game
Kansas State will return to the basketball court on Thursday night after an eight-day layoff, as the Wildcats play host to Atlantic 10 foe George Washington (4-1) at Bramlage Coliseum.  This will be just the second game in a 17-day period for the squad and the first since a 92-50 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Nov. 22.  Things speed up for the Wildcats from here, as K-State will play four games in an 11-day span, including three in an eight-day period, before taking six days for final Fall Semester exams.  This will be the last game at Bramlage Coliseum until the North Florida game on Dec. 11, as K-State will make its first road trip to Virginia Tech on Sunday before playing a neutral site game with West Virginia on Dec. 8 at INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita.

Tickets
K-State non-conference single-game tickets can be purchased by calling the Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 221.CATS or by visiting online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets.  These tickets are priced at $30 for chairback and cushion seats and $20 each for bench seating.  In addition, general admission seats for the New Year’s Eve contest with Howard are $20, while four or more GA tickets can be purchased for $15 each with a group rate of $10 each for 12 or more tickets.  A limited number of single-game tickets for K-State’s nine Big 12 games are also on sale.  The five weekend contests are priced at $70 (chairback/cushion) and $60 (bench), while the three weekday games are $50 (chairback/cushion) and $40 (bench).  All Kansas tickets are $125. 

Television Note
Thursday’s contest will be the second of six broadcasts that will be available on the entire FOX Sports Midwest footprint, which includes more than 5.9 million cable and satellite homes in six states -- Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois and Indiana.  The George Washington game can also be seen in the Washington, D.C., area on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.  For fans looking to find the game is in your area, a channel finder for FOX Sports Kansas City/Midwest can be found at www.FOXSportsKansasCity.com.

Streaks
The school will be putting up several streaks against the Colonials, as it enters the game with a 36-game non-conference winning streak at Bramlage Coliseum dating back to 2007.  The Wildcats have also won 21 consecutive games at the “Octogon of Doom” in the month of December, including a 13-0 mark under Frank Martin.  Overall, the team is 33-1 in December at Bramlage Coliseum the past nine seasons with the last loss coming to Rutgers, 76-66, on Dec. 28, 2004.  K-State will be looking to go 4-0 for the third time in five seasons under Martin, including the second consecutive season, and the 31st time overall.    

The Opponent
George Washington enters Thursday’s game with a 4-1 record after running its winning streak to three games with a 77-56 win at Bowling Green to capture the BGSU Subregional of the Progressive CBE Classic on Nov. 23.  The Colonials also defeated Detroit (86-73) and Austin Peay (54-52) at the subregional.  The team’s lone loss came at nationally-ranked California, 81-54, on Nov. 13.  Under first-year head coach Mike Lonergan, the squad is averaging 67 points on 45.9 percent shooting (130-of-283), including 48.6 percent (35-of-72) from 3-point range, to go with 34.6 rebounds, 12.6 assists, 6.2 steals and 4.6 blocks per game.  George Washington is a threat from long range, averaging 14.4 attempts with seven makes per game from 3-point range.  Senior Tony Taylor leads a balanced attack at 15.8 points on 50.9 percent shooting, including 63.2 percent from 3-point range, with 4.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game.  Fellow senior Aaron Ware is averaging 11 points on 50 percent from the field, while junior Lasan Kromah is third in scoring at 9.6 points to go with a team-best 5.8 rebounds per outing.  Lonergan, who has won nearly 400 games in 19 seasons as a head coach, will be making his second visit to Bramlage Coliseum after his pesky Vermont team nearly knocked off the Wildcats in the first round of the 2007 Postseason NIT, falling 59-57 on March 14, 2007.

Series
This will be the first meeting between the two schools in over 70 years since George Washington posted a 48-25 win over K-State on Dec. 28, 1940 in Washington, D.C.  The Wildcats are 19-17 all-time against teams from the Atlantic 10, including an 8-3 mark at home.  This is the first visit from an Atlantic 10 school to Bramlage Coliseum since K-State knocked off Xavier, 71-56, on Dec. 8, 2009.  Head coach Frank Martin is 3-1 all-time against schools from the Atlantic 10, including wins over Dayton and Xavier. 

Up Next: at Virginia Tech (4-1)
K-State will make its first road trip of the season on Sunday, as the Wildcats travel to Blacksburg, Va., to take on Virginia Tech (4-1) at 4:30 p.m. CT on ESPNU at Cassell Coliseum.  Last season, the squad posted a 73-57 win over the Hokies on Nov. 16, 2010.

Non-Conference Winning Streak
Kansas State has won 36 consecutive non-conference games at Bramlage Coliseum dating back to its last loss  -- an 80-77 overtime setback to No. 17 Oregon on Nov. 29, 2007.  Last season, the Wildcats were a perfect 9-0 at Bramlage Coliseum with an average margin of victory of 21.3 points per game.  The five-point win over Charleston Southern on Nov. 11 was the second-closest during the 36-game winning streak since a four-point victory over Illinois State in the first round of the Postseason NIT on March 18, 2009.   During the streak, the squad has won by average margin of 24.9 points per game.

The “Octogon of Doom” as it has been affectionately called by the fan base, has been a tremendous home court advantage for the Wildcats in its 24 seasons with the squad winning nearly 75 percent of its home games.  The team earned its highest winning percentage (16-1, .941) in a home venue in 2010-11, while tying the school record for home wins (16 at Ahearn Field House in 1981-82).  K-State is 77-12 (.865) over the past six seasons at Bramlage Coliseum, including an impressive 30-10 (.750) mark in Big 12 games.  Twice in the past two seasons that Wildcats have knocked off the nation’s top-ranked team (No. 1 Texas in 2010 and No. 1 Kansas in 2011), while the No. 2 Jayhawks and No. 10 Texas A&M went down in 2007 and No. 11 Texas in 2009.

In December
K-State has been solid in the second month of the season under head coach Frank Martin, posting a 20-5 (.800) overall record in December since 2007-08, including a stellar 13-0 mark at Bramlage Coliseum.  The Wildcats have also won 21 consecutive games at their home venue in Manhattan in the month with the last loss coming to Rutgers, 76-66, on Dec. 28, 2004.  Overall, the team is 33-1 (.971) in December at Bramlage Coliseum the past nine seasons (2002-10).

The Race For 100 
Head coach Frank Martin is now just two wins shy of 100 for his career at Kansas State.  He would become just the fourth head coach in school history to eclipse the 100-victory plateau and the first since Jack Hartman (295-169; 1970-86) did it in midway through the 1975-76 season.  Other 100-win coaches include Naismith Hall of Famers Jack Gardner (147-81, 1939-42, 1946-53) and Fred “Tex” Winter (261-118, 1954-68).  Martin has a chance to win 100 games faster than all but Winter, who notched his 100th win in his 142nd game as head coach midway through the 1958-59.  Hartman won 100 games in 149 games, while Gardner did it in his 170th game in his second stint as head coach in 1950-51.  The 2009-10 Big 12 Coach of the Year, Martin is the first Wildcat head coach to post a 20-win season in each of his first four years and joined Lon Kruger as the only coaches in school history to guide teams to the postseason in his first four seasons.  The three NCAA Tournament appearances in a four-year span are the most since the squad went to four consecutive tournaments from 1986-90.

Second Half Surge 
Just three games into the season, it appears that Kansas State should start its games in the second half.  The Wildcats are averaging 46.3 points on 57.6 percent shooting (49-of-85) from the field in the second half compared to just 33 points on 37.3 percent shooting (31-of-83) in the opening half.  This was no more evident against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Nov. 22, as the team scored 56 points after halftime on 65.6 percent shooting (21-of-32) compared to 36 points on 37.9 percent shooting (11-of-29) in the first half.  The squad also appears to be a better defensive team in the second half, as opponents are averaging 25.7 points on 26 percent shooting (20-of-77), including 17.2 percent (5-of-29) from 3-point range after halftime compared to 33.7 points on 40 percent shooting (36-of-90), including 43.5 percent (10-of-23) from beyond the arc, in the first half.  There is also a marked difference from first to second half from the free throw line, where the Wildcats are hitting at 77.5 percent (31-of-40) after halftime compared to just 58.3 percent (28-of-48) in the opening half.  In addition, the squad has reduced its turnovers in the second half, averaging 6.0 miscues after the break compared to 9.0 average in the first half. 

Three of K-State’s top four scorers - Rodney McGruder, Will Spradling and Thomas Gipson - also are better in the second half with McGruder (10.7 ppg.), Spradling (9.3 ppg.) and Gipson (6.7 ppg.) all averaging better than six points after halftime.  The trio have combined to score 80 of their 116 combined points this season in the second half, including 32 by McGruder.  In particular, Spradling has tallied 28 of his 37 points after halftime, including all 15 against Loyola Chicago on Nov. 14.

Quite the Run 
After playing two close games to start the season, K-State finally was able to coast to a 42-point victory against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Nov. 22.  However, it was a close contest between the teams in the first half with the score knotted at 23-all with 6:16 remaining and just a 36-29 lead for the Wildcats at the break.  From this last tie at 6:16 mark of the first half, the squad used quite the run - 69-27 - between the halves to gain the big victory.  During this run, K-State connected on 61 percent (25-of-41) from the field, including 42.9 percent (6-of-14) from 3-point range, and 81.3 percent (13-of-16) from the free throw line, while holding UMES to 23.5 percent (8-of-34) from the field, including 15.4 percent (2-of-13) from long range, and 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from the free throw line.  In the second half alone, the Wildcats shot 65.6 percent (21-of-32) from the field.

Points Off Turnovers 
A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams are their ability to score points off of opponent’s mistakes.  Since he became head coach in 2007, the Wildcats have scored 2,593 points off of 2,321 turnovers in 141 games - an average of 18.4 points per game.    Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in the past five years have come off of offense generated from turnovers, including the current season, in which the team has outscored its foes, 57-37.  This was no more evident in the win over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Nov. 22, as the Wildcats converted 18 miscues into a 26-3 edge in points off turnovers.  The squad is pressuring its foes into an average of 19.7 turnovers per game, including a season-high 22 by Charleston Southern in the season opener.  

No Blowouts 
Before the 42-point win over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Nov. 22, K-State had played two close games to start the season.  In these contests, the Wildcats had to rally back from a 15-point deficit against Charleston Southern on Nov. 11 then pull away from Loyola Chicago on Nov. 14 in the second half after leading 28-23 at the break.  The 18-point combined margin of victory was the fewest through the first two games since the Wildcats combined for 13 in wins against North Dakota State (70-61) and Denver (60-56) to start the 2004-05 season.  Despite the big win, the UMES game was tied with 23-all with 6:16 left in the first half.

Closing On 1500
Kansas State is closing in on a milestone as a program, as the Wildcats are just nine victories shy of 1,500.  The school currently stands at 1,491-1,056 (.585) in 108 seasons, which ranks 41st all-time in NCAA Division I history.  K-State would become the sixth current Big 12 program (West Virginia already has more than 1,600) to eclipse the milestone, following Kansas (2,041), Texas (1,643), Oklahoma (1,531), Oklahoma State (1,522) and Missouri (1,506).  The Cowboys and Tigers earned their 1,500th victories last season.  The Wildcats could become the seventh team to top 1,500 wins this season, joining St. Joseph’s (1,502), Ohio State (1,501), Michigan State (1,498), Washington State (1,497), Tennessee (1,491) and Iowa (1,490).

Comeback 'Cats 
K-State opened the season on Nov. 11 with a come-from-behind victory over Charleston Southern, 72-67, before a sold-out crowd at Bramlage Coliseum.  Down as many as 15 points in the second half, the Wildcats used a 19-4 run over an 11-minute span early in the half to tie it at 60-all at the 4:35 mark before taking over the lead for good with 2:24 left.  The 15-point deficit overcome for victory (52-37) was one of the biggest in recent history for K-State, as it ties for fifth currently behind a pair of 17-point deficits in wins against Bradley (47-30) on Nov. 25, 1995 and California (38-21) on Dec. 29, 1995 and two 16-point deficits in wins against LaSalle (57-41) on Jan. 5, 1994 and New Mexico (30-14) on Nov. 23, 2005.  The 14-point deficit at halftime (49-35) ties for the largest overcome for victory since a 98-90 overtime win against Arizona State on Nov. 24, 1998 at the Maui Invitational.  It was also the largest deficit overcome at home since the 1995-96 season behind the Bradley game on Nov. 25, 1995.

No Senior Starter
The starting line-up of juniors Martavious Irving, Rodney McGruder and Jordan Henriquez, sophomore Will Spradling and freshman Thomas Gipson against Charleston Southern on Nov. 11 was unique in that it marked the first time since 1983-84 that K-State opened a season without a senior starter.  It marked the first career starts for Irving and Gipson, while only McGruder was a starter in last season’s opening win over James Madison on Nov. 12, 2010.  Including the UMES game on Nov. 22, McGruder has now started 37 consecutive games dating back to that JMU contest, while Spradling now has nine starts to his credit.  Gipson joined a special group by becoming the first true freshman to start an opener since three rookies - Ron Anderson, Michael Beasley and Jacob Pullen - earned the starting nod against Sacramento State on Nov. 9, 2007.  With Southwell replacing Irving in the line-up against Loyola, the Wildcats got even younger with two juniors, two sophomore and a freshman.

Samuels Returns
The Wildcats received a big boost against Maryland-Eastern Shore with the return of senior forward Jamar Samuels, who sat out the exhibition and the first two games due to violations of team rules.  The 2009-10 Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year was strong in his first game of the season, posting 12 points, three rebounds, one assist and one steals in 25 minutes of action.  He also showed a better effort from the free throw line, knocking down 7-of-9 attempts, after shooting 65.3 percent from the line a year ago.  One of only two seniors, Samuels’ experience will be big asset to a youthful squad having played in 104 games in his career with 25 starts.  He is averaging 9.3 points on 48.4 percent shooting in those games with 5.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.  He is 29 points shy of becoming the 23rd player to eclipse the 1,000-point barrier, including the third under Frank Martin.  
 
Familiar Foes
Although Kansas State and George Washington haven’t played in more than a generation, two players in Thursday’s game are very familiar with each other in Wildcat junior Martavious Irving and Colonial junior Bryan Bynes.  Both were teammates at Boyd Anderson High School (also alma mater of K-State All-American Mitch Richmond) in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where they led the Cobras to 55 wins their last two years, including a 25-3 record in 2008-09.  As seniors, the duo led the squad to a No. 1 ranking in the Class 6A poll and a No. 14 ranking in the ESPN Rise national poll before being upset by Miramar in the 2009 regional quarterfinals.  They were quite the 1-2 punch for the Cobras as seniors with Bynes averaging 17 points, six rebounds and five assists to go with Irving’s 15.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game.  This year, Irving is averaging 9.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 30 minutes per game, while Bynes is averaging 4.6 points and 2.4 rebounds in 16.6 minutes per game.

Immediate Impact
True freshman Thomas Gipson has made quite the impact just a few games into the 2011-12 campaign.  A 6-foot-7, 275-pound forward, he ranks in the top-4 in both scoring (11.3 ppg., fourth) and rebounding (5.3 rpg., third), while connecting on 52 percent (13-of-25) from the field in three starts.  He has been even better in the last two games, leading the Wildcats in scoring against both Loyola Chicago (19) and Maryland-Eastern Shore (13), while averaging 16 points on 54.5 percent (12-of-22) shooting with eight rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes.  In his last outing against UMES, Gipson nearly became the first freshman since Michael Beasley in 2007-08 to collect a double-double, finishing with 13 points on 5-of-8 field goals with nine rebounds.  He was even better against Loyola Chicago on Nov. 14, recording a season-best 19 points to go with seven rebounds (including a 12-point, 6-rebound effort in the second half).  Although he struggled with just two points and zero rebounds in the season opener against Charleston Southern on Nov. 11, he became the first true freshman to start an opener since the three rookies - Ron Anderson, Beasley and Jacob Pullen - earned the starting nod against Sacramento State on Nov. 9, 2007.

Coming in Through in the Clutch
Sophomore Will Spradling has solidified the starting point guard spot so far this season, averaging 12.3 points on 45 percent shooting with 2.7 assists and 2.0 rebounds in three starts.  He registered double figures against Charleston Southern (15) and Loyola Chicago (15) and has so far posted a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.  His 15-point outings in the first two games were just two points short of his career-high of 17 against Baylor on Jan. 24, 2011.  The team is a solid 8-1 when he scores in double figures. 

Spradling has also come through in the clutch, scoring 28 of his 37 points this season in the second half, including all 15 against Loyola Chicago.  He is averaging 9.3 points on 42.9 percent shooting after halftime this season compared to just 3.0 points on 50 percent shooting in the first half.  He has also converted on 13-of-14 free throws in the second half, while six of his eight assists have come after the halftime break.  The hard-nosed guard has also continued to demonstrate his toughness by taking seven charges through the first three games, including three apiece against Charleston Southern and Loyola Chicago.  He ranks second behind only senior Jamar Samuels (32) in the number of charges taken on the team, including 27 in just 37 career games.

Ojeleye to Serve as Big 12 SAAC Vice-Chair in 2011-12 
Senior Victor Ojeleye was recently elected by his peers to serve as Vice-Chair of the Big 12’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) during the 2011-12 athletics season.  A two-time first team Academic All-Big 12 selection, Ojeleye saw action in 24 games as a junior in 2010-11, averaging 1.8 points on 46.2 percent shooting with 1.6 rebounds in 8.0 minutes per game.  He scored in 10 games, including a season-high 12 points against North Florida on Dec. 31, 2010.  A double major in accounting and finance, Ojeleye earned the inaugural Dr. Gerald Lage Award from the Big 12 in 2010-11, which is given to student-athletes who have earned 100 or more hours of credit with a cumulative 3.8 GPA.  He also has been named to the Fall and Spring Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Rolls each of the past two years, including a perfect 4.0 GPA during the Spring 2011 semester. 

K-State Announces the Additions of Chatkevious, Upshaw
K-State elevated the talent of its front court on Nov. 21, as coach Frank Martin announced the additions of high school standouts Laimonas Chatkevicius (pronounced Lie-MOAN-us Shh-CAVE-VEE-us; Klaipeda, Lithuania/South Kent [Conn.] Prep) and Robert Upshaw (Fresno, Calif./San Joaquin Memorial) for the 2012-13 season.

“Once again our assistants, as they have done every year since we have been here, did an unbelievable job of identifying the right people for our program and organizing the recruitment and being diligent in their efforts to land two guys that we had targeted since the summer,” said Martin.  “We are extremely excited about two guys that were right at the top of our list.”

A 7-foot, 275-pound center, Upshaw is rated among the Top 50 high school players for the Class of 2012, including a ranking of No. 43 on the Rivals150 by Rivals.com and No. 49 on the ESPNU100.  He is also ranked among the Top 50 by CBSSports.com (40) and MaxPreps.com (44).  In addition, he is regarded as one of the top centers in the nation, ranking eighth at the position nationally by Rivals.com and 10th by ESPN.  Upshaw is also rated the fourth-best high school prospect in the state of California by ESPN.  Upshaw is a rising senior for head coach Pat Geil at San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno, Calif., which also produced 7-foot twins Brook (New Jersey Nets) and Robin Lopez (Phoenix Suns) as well as guard Quincy Pondexter (New Orleans Hornets).  He did not play as a junior in 2010-11 due to California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) transfer rules after leaving Edison High School for Memorial.  Upshaw helped Edison win 41 games as a freshman and sophomore, including 25 victories in 2008-09.

A 6-foot-10, 230-pound center, Chatkevicius is currently playing his senior season at South Kent Prep Academy in South Kent, Conn., for head coach Kelvin Jefferson.  South Kent played their first games this past weekend against La Jolla and St. John’s Military at the National Prep School Invitational in New Haven, Conn.  A native of Klaipeda, Lithuania, Chatkevicius came to the U.S. in the summer of 2009 to experience high school basketball before playing his junior season in his native country.  He also played as a member of Kansas City’s Spiece MoKan AAU organization this past summer for head coach Matt Suther.  Chatkevicius played in three games for Lithuania during the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championships in Hamberg, Germany.  The Lithuanian team posted a 4-1 record and finished in the tournament behind champion Team USA and Poland.  The squad also finished second in Group A to Team USA.  He played 15 minutes in the 102-66 loss to Team USA on July 3, finishing with two points and three rebounds.  Chatkevicius also played his club team Klaipedos SM as both a sophomore and junior in Lithuania.  He averaged 5.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in four games in 2009-10 and 3.8 points and 5.8 rebounds in four games in 2010-11.        
 
'Cats Picked 6th in Big 12 Preseason Poll
Kansas State was selected to finish sixth in the preseason 2011-12 Big 12 Conference coaches’ poll released by the league office in early October.  The Wildcats received 39 points to earn sixth place in the new 10-team conference configuration, just 12 points behind fifth-place Texas (51) and six points ahead of seventh-place Oklahoma State (33).  The coaches were deadlocked on the preseason favorite with Kansas and Texas A&M each garnering 73 points, however, the Jayhawks did receive five of 10 first-place votes.  Baylor (63) and Missouri (61) followed the preseason duo in third and fourth-places, respectively, while Texas and K-State rounded out the top 6.  The rest of the poll included OSU, Iowa State (27), Oklahoma (15) and Texas Tech (15). 

The sixth-place prediction is the lowest since K-State was picked eighth prior to the 2008-09 season.  The Wildcats, who tied Texas A&M for third place in the Big 12 in 2010-11, are one of only two teams to finish in the league’s top-4 and receive a bye at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship each of the past five seasons.  With only 10 teams, the top-6 will earn a bye in the 2012 event with the lower four seeds playing on the first day.  Of note, coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams.

Martin Announces Staff Promotions 
Looking to maintain the program’s momentum and consistency, head coach Frank Martin announced coaching staff promotions in early June, including the elevation of Lamont Evans as a full-time assistant.  In addition, he also promoted Brad Underwood to associate head coach and assistant coach Matt Figger to recruiting coordinator. 

Evans has played a pivotal role in the development of the program the past three years, beginning as an undergraduate manager in 2008-09 the continuing as a graduate manager from 2009-11.  During this span, he helped K-State post a 74-31 (.705) record, which including three trips to the postseason highlighted by consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in 2010 and 2011.

A native of Eleuthera, Bahamas, Evans came to the U.S. at the age of 5, eventually settling in Deerfield Beach, Fla.  He played his first two years of college basketball at Seminole (Fla.) Junior College in Sanford, Fla., and St. Catharine College in St. Catharine, Ky., before enrolling as Drake in 1999.  He played two seasons for the Bulldogs, appearing in 42 games from 1999 to 2001.  For his career, he averaged 8.0 points on 41.5 percent shooting with 5.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.  He spent seven years playing professionally, including stops internationally in Slovenia, Germany, Finland, Belgium and Venezuela.

A former Wildcat lettermen, Underwood is in his 24th season as a college coach, including his sixth at K-State.  He received much acclaim last season, as Martin took his suggestion of adjusting the offensive scheme to the “pinch-post” in early January.  Figger is in his 19th season as a coach, including his fifth at K-State and assumes the recruiting coordinator position.

McGruder, Spradling Compete in Europe
Junior Rodney McGruder and sophomore Will Spradling both competed for all-stars teams in Europe this past summer.  Spradling played for Athletes in Action’s tour of Macedonia and Kosovo in Eastern Europe from May 25-30, while McGruder played with the East Coast All-Stars during their trip to the Four Nations Cup in Estonia in early August. 

Spradling, playing alongside Big 12 brethren Cory Jefferson and A.J. Walton of Baylor and Jordan Juenemann and Jeff Withey of Kansas helped the AIA squad to a 6-1 record, including the tournament championship against Poland.  He was named the most valuable player and to the All-Tournament team.  He scored 20 or more points twice in the tournament, including a team-high 23 in the team’s only loss to Poland (May 24) and a team-best 25 vs.  the Bulgarian U20 National Team (May 27).  He posted 14 vs. Bulgaria Select (May 26), while he had eight points and four assists vs. the Kosovoan National Team (May 31). 

McGruder was named to the Four Nations Cup All-Tournament, as the East Coast All-Stars finished third in the event behind Estonia (2-1) and Georgia (2-1) and ahead of fourth-place Sweden (1-2).  He was the only All-Star named to the all-tournament team after averaging 13.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.7 steals in the three-game tournament.  He hit the game-winning shot in the win over Sweden (August 5) before pouring in 22 points and 14 rebounds in the 98-81 loss to Georgia (August 6).