Aug. 1, 2014
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By Kelly McHugh
K-State Sports Extra
"Why do you want to go to K-State anyway?"
K-State basketball freshman guard Evan Beucler had this conversation time and time again last winter with his mom, Shelli, at their home in Dallas, Texas.
"Mom, you've just got to go see it and you'll understand," he would explain to her.
This was during the winter of 2013-14, before K-State went on a 10-0 run and before the Wildcats beat ranked Big 12 opponents like Oklahoma State and Kansas. Beucler had already made a few visits to Manhattan, and he made up his mind that K-State was the place for him. But his mom - she was yet to understand why her son chose to play basketball at the school in the middle of the Flint Hills.
That is, until Feb. 8, 2014, when K-State beat Texas and then freshman Marcus Foster put away 34 points. Bramlage Coliseum was electric; Shelli finally understood.
"I came last year on a visit for the game against Texas, it was that game where Marcus Foster went off," explained Beucler with excitement in his eyes. "That was when my mom first came up here. I had already been up here twice, but we took my mom up for the first time.
"Well, she got into Bramlage and it was so loud and crazy that night that she had tears in her eyes. She said to me, `This is big time; this is for real,' and she finally realized why I was going to Kansas State.
"`This is the perfect fit for you,' she told me."
Beucler's smile got wider as he told the story; his passion for his new school and new team shined through with every word.
The six-foot-five guard lettered all four years at Dallas' Highland Park High School and, his senior season, helped his team to a 27-5 record and a District 10-4A title. Beucler averaged 12.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game in 2013-14 and led his team in scoring on seven occasions including a season-high of 32 points.
A walk-on with the K-State basketball program, Beucler is coming off of a torn labrum injury that occurred during Highland Park's final district game. He will be able to play with contact by August, but said he plans on redshirting the 2014-15 season.
"I play solid defense and work really hard on both ends of the court," explained Beucler when asked to describe his playing style. "I'm a really good shooter, but I'm still working on my dribble-drive game. I'm redshirting this season; so being able to redshirt and grow in my game this year will help me out a lot in the future. I'm just trying to get as much work in as I can."
Beucler arrived in Manhattan earlier this summer and, now nearly two months into his K-State career, said he cherishes the relationships he's built in just a short amount of time.
"Among the players and the coaches, it really is a true family," Beucler said. "It's a lot different than if I had gone somewhere else where the freshmen just stay with the freshmen and aren't included with the older guys. The upperclassmen, they treat us like they're the same age as them and that's really cool. I've had friends who play other places say, `Wow, I wish our guys would do that.' So it's really cool to see Kansas State is one of a kind in that aspect."
The family atmosphere was one of many reasons Beucler chose K-State, however from an academic point of view, the entrepreneurship major also appreciates what K-State has to offer.
"The academic program that they have with study table and making sure that your grades are on point no matter what, I needed that," he explained. "I was a little lazy in high school at times with my grades, so I think that having the opportunity where they're on top of me will be a good thing to keep me on top of my grades."
And playing for Bruce Weber played a role in his decision too.
"He's one of the greatest college coaches that I've grown up on," he said. "He was at Illinois and I grew up watching him. I've always thought he was a great coach. When he came to Kansas State, I started following K-State basketball. So to be here now and have him coaching me, it's a blessing."
From the family atmosphere to the academics to the coaching, Beucler is right where he wants to be, and he's ready and excited to do whatever it takes to help his teammates to success this upcoming 2014-15 season.
"Getting to know these guys, we have something special this year," concluded Beucler. "We're ranked 17th in the preseason. These guys could do a lot of damage. As I'm redshirting, I'll be supporting the guys and working with them in practice. It's going to be a great experience, and I cant' wait for this season to start to see how we end up doing."