Weber, Players Review European Tour

Trip Website

Head coach Bruce Weber and requested players met with the media on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the team’s 10-day tour of Italy and Switzerland. K-State went 3-2 on the trip, defeating BC Silute (97-80) on August 11, the Italian Select (90-55) on August 13 and BBC Lausanne (68-47) on August 18 with losses to LCC University (75-82) on August 10 and the Kosovo National Team (74-85) on August 16. 

The Wildcats averaged 80.8 points on 43.6 percent shooting (152-of-349) in the 5-game tour with 45.4 rebounds, 11.8 steals and 11.6 assists per game. Sophomore Kamau Stokes led the way in scoring at 10.8 points per game to go with a team-best 3.0 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals per outing. Stokes had a tour-high 20 points in the loss to the Kosovo National Team. Freshman Xavier Sneed, who scored in double figures in the first four contests, also averaged double figures at 10.4 points per game to go with 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. Sophomore Dean Wade averaged 9.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, while senior D.J. Johnson led the way in rebounding at 6.8 per outing to go with an 8.0 points per game.

Five other players averaged better than 5 points per game (Barry Brown (7.6 ppg.), Carlbe Ervin II (6.8 ppg.), Isaiah Maurice (6.2 ppg.), Brian Patrick (6.2 ppg.) and Wesley Iwundu (5.4 ppg.). In addition, Ervin was solid across the board with averages of 2.8 assists, 2.6 rebounds and a team-best 2.4 steals per game. Johnson was the leader on the Play Hard Chart with 30 points, while Wade (28) and Sneed (27) were a close second and third, respectively.

The Wildcats resumed weights and individual workouts on August 24 with the official start of practice set for September 30.

Head Coach Bruce Weber 
On the trip to Europe…
“It’s a lifetime experience for our guys and a really unbelievable trip. They played hard… they had some good moments. You’ll know later how much the trip helped us. I obviously got to know some of the young guys better, got to get the system in and got to see some guys in different situations. The biggest thing is besides the lifetime experience is the team building and chemistry going through some of the situations they went through and hopefully we have major positives as we get into the season.”

On developing team chemistry on the trip…
“I think it just happens naturally you're on buses; we had four-hour and eight-hour bus rides. You’re going around Rome and going to look at this and that. Even after the games just hanging out as a group is a very positive thing. We tried to make them do something every day together. It’s not an easy trip in fact I make it where they're constantly doing something. I wasn’t going to let them sit in a hotel room when were in Rome or Florence.”

On who stood out the most on the tour…
“The freshman since we really haven't seen them in action. Both Xavier (Sneed) and Brian (Patrick) really played well. Both played with some great energy and did some real positive things. You know each guy was a little different. Carlbe (Ervin) had a couple good games and then a couple where he was okay… same thing with Kamau (Stokes), Barry (Brown) and Wes (Iwundu). DJ’s (Johnson) consistent numbers were probably as good as anybody when you look at the total stats. Dean (Wade) had a couple of good games and then a couple where he probably could have been more of a factor, but that’s part of the trip fighting back and developing some things.” 

Senior Wesley Iwundu
On his impressions of Xavier Sneed…
“A high motor. A guy who can do everything pretty close to excellent, brings life, athleticism, both on defensive and offensive ends, so he’s going to be a big help for us going into this season.”

On the lessons he learned in Europe…
“We still got a lot to do. Some things are looking good, but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done. I haven’t reached where I want to reach. I just got to come back, get back in the gym, before this season starts and be ready for the tipoff in November.” 

On surprises about the team play in Europe…
“It’s very early, but you know with that being said, we look pretty good. In games, seeing what each other can do, mixing lineups, seeing how people play with each other, and it was good for us and the young guys to get experience and see what we need to work on before the season starts.”

On similarities between Xavier and Wes…
“He’s definitely showed, probably doing more than I was as a freshman coming in at the beginning. Outside of anybody else he had the best trip of anyone else out on the court, and that’s very good for someone new to get that confidence early and to see what he brings to the team.”

On the differences between Big 12 play and Europe trip…
“It was very different. A few games took a toll on us with all the touring and moving around and walking around and doing things and not really resting. It was different. Not really having any rest time. It took a toll on our legs, but it was great because I kind of compared it to the end of the season where you might be tired and your legs aren’t feeling good, but you still have to play through it. It was good to face some adversity, and see how things would be because in the season, you’re tired.”

Sophomore Kamau Stokes
On the advantages of the trip as the team transitions toward next season…
“The trip was definitely a stepping stone to where we need to be. We have a lot to learn from the trip, and I feel like it will definitely help us because we know what we need to work on, and we’re just going to get in the gym and work on it.” 

On highlight plays from the trip…
“The whole trip was a highlight. We got to see what our young guys could do, and we also got to see what we need to work on moving forward.”

On playing 100 percent for the first time since the injury last season…
“It felt great, it felt like I never got hurt. The guys they told me to not worry about it, because in the beginning I was thinking about it our first game. I was a little iffy here and there with my movements and they just told me to go out there and play and that everything else would come.”

On areas where the team needs to improve…
“We need to work on defensive concepts. Defense isn’t an easy thing. You don’t just come in knowing everything right away. I feel like we could have had better outcomes over there if defensively we knew what we wanted to do and where we were supposed to be at certain times.” 

On developing on-court chemistry with new additions…
“I love our young guys. They fit our system very well. They run the floor, they’re active, and especially on defense, defense has been our main focus. It’s been how we’ve been winning games, especially coming off of last year. Our defense was really good. I feel like our young guys really stepped up over there and they showed us what they can do and I’m really looking forward to next season.”

Freshman Xavier Sneed
On feeling like he is already a part of the team…
“With all the practices we had along the way and all of the team bonding, I feel like I got to know these guys really well. I feel like my game, the slashing type style of my game really fits well with this team.”

On the scuffle that Sneed got into in Europe…
“I was cool, the other team got kind of frustrated. It was on the way to a comeback, and I guess I was bugging them on the defensive end and he got a little mad, but I was pretty cool.”

On what he learned about the trip…
“I’ve got to work more on my crafting ability, especially on shooting off the ball.”

On the confidence in knowing he can play on this level…
“The first game I had a little jitters, but now that I know that I can play on this level, it feels good. I feel like I can come in confident and ready to make an impact on the game.”