Not going to deceive y’all, I am a bit confused about what is going on on with Kansas State basketball in the meanwhile.
Me being confused is not notably regarding, as a result of the one one that must know the plan is Coach Tang and his workers, but it surely’s just a little onerous to parse from the skin trying in. His current interview with Kellis Robinett within the Eagle did not make clear a lot for me, the truth is, it made issues even murkier. I used to be just a little taken again by his assertion that “once I was coming in I assumed there have been solely three guys I’d need to keep.” That is nothing, if not a daring assertion, however one facilitated by the present state of faculty basketball. On the very least we will take the “youngsters ought to need to play for a faculty and never a coach” narrative, douse it in gasoline and toss a match.
Wanting just a little deeper into the assertion, it is no coincidence that two of the three guys he needed to remain had been guys he just about could not lower free as a result of they already used their free switch. Coach Tang has been round lengthy sufficient to know that slicing both Ish Massoud or Markquis Nowell free would get him killed in press and make issues harder for him to usher in switch guys. Do not get me unsuitable, I feel each guys are good gamers, however it is a bit handy that the 2 guys he could not lower occurred to be the 2 guys he needed to remain. The third participant is clearly Nijel Pack, and that did not work out, although Coach Tang is innocent in that ordeal. You possibly can’t blame Nijel for taking cash from a Miami billionaire to play school basketball.
The issue with slicing a school basketball roster again to 2 gamers is that you’ve 13 scholarships to fill. That leaves 11 gamers so as to add over a comparatively quick time frame. Curiously sufficient, his mentor Scott Drew needed to just about do the identical factor at Baylor when he took over for Dave Bliss. Drew misplaced 5 of his prime 6 scorers and returned 5 whole gamers. In fact, that scenario was just a little bit completely different. Bliss was some of the malevolent forces of evil to ever curse a school basketball sideline. Bruce Weber, for essentially the most half, was a pleasant man who misplaced too many basketball video games.
Drew had time to rebuild at Baylor as a result of Baylor was fortunate to area a basketball staff. Baylor followers had been completely satisfied they knew they averted the dying penalty and the rebuild was going to be tough. It is onerous to get mad at a coach for not successful video games early when your final coach was mendacity about an intra-team homicide to try to save his personal neck. Coach Drew gained a complete of 12 convention video games in 4 years earlier than breaking via in 12 months 5 with a 21-11 NCAA event staff. If Coach Tang thinks he’ll be on condition that lengthy of a leash at Kansas State (and I do not suppose he does for the file) he is in for a impolite awakening, however a sure degree of persistence goes to be required for this entire rebuild.
The place Okay-State is Now
The switch portal needs to be Coach Tang’s savior, however up to now, it has been just a little of a nightmare. For all of the speak of the portal being a simple approach to fill 11 scholarships in an offseason, it hasn’t labored out that manner….but. The portal has offered two sophomores with promising ability units however little to no expertise. Cam Carter was a bit participant, averaging 2.2 factors, on an NIT sure Mississippi State staff, and Jerrell Colbert made a cameo look in 4 non-conference video games for LSU final season earlier than taking a seat for the remainder of the season. These guys have the potential to be good, however are removed from a certain guess, and this staff wants a pair certain bets.
It isn’t for a scarcity of effort, Okay-State has hosted prime degree transfers like Antoine Davis and Dexter Dennis however misplaced out to Detroit (Chinese language glow balls) and Texas A&M (oil cash).
The beginning lineup, as presently constituted, is woefully quick on expertise and scoring. Carter got here into school with the repute as a knockdown shooter, however struggled to seek out the vary final 12 months, taking pictures 30% for the season. Colbert is thought extra for his protection and shot blocking prowess. He could not break into the lineup at LSU, regardless of the Tigers not having a lot in the way in which of a middle. Their starter was fellow freshman Efton Reid. He was stable for a freshman, averaging 6.3 factors and 4.3 rebounds on the 12 months, however these are hardly “highway block” numbers.
Regardless of the potential of the portal, junior school switch Nae’Quan Tomlin is essentially the most skilled and recreation prepared recruit added up to now. I’ve a tough time describing his recreation, as a result of he is listed as a 6’8” guard, however is not a lot of a shooter, if his numbers from final season are an indicator of his potential. He shot 26% from 3 at Chipola Junior School, underneath former Tennessee head coach Donnie Tyndal. He was extra productive and environment friendly contained in the arc the place he used his lanky, athletic body to dominate groups off the dribble and throw down dunks. He averaged 13.8 factors, 1.4 assists, and 5.9 rebounds, whereas averaging 23.6 minutes in his final JuCo season. His highlights are enjoyable to observe, however man, until I am lacking one thing (and I very effectively may very well be) he appears extra like a bouncy glue man with the potential to be an elite defender than a scorer to me. I feel he’ll throw down some monster dunks off Nowell assists, however this staff goes to wish him to attain, and rating constantly if they do not discover extra assist in the portal.
Highschool recruiting has been extra fruitful. Whereas Coach Tang did not like a lot of Bruce Weber’s former gamers, he did like former Weber recruit Taj Manning. I like Manning, he is an athletic 6’8”, 190 ahead who was a key position participant for highschool basketball powerhouse La Lumiere final season however wasn’t something near a major scoring possibility. It is onerous to see him stepping in subsequent 12 months and offering rather more than power and hustle. He is bought a excessive ceiling, however it should take a minute for him to fill out bodily and advantageous tune his offensive recreation. That is advantageous, however Kansas State is in determined want of scoring subsequent season.
The primary Tang period highschool recruit is Dorian Finister, a 6’5” 3* guard out of New Orleans who blew up late within the recruiting course of. Very like Manning, Finister has the potential to be an incredible participant for the Wildcats down the road, however he is seen by most as a developmental participant that wants at the very least a season to assimilate himself into school basketball. He is the kind of excessive ceiling man you need to deliver right into a program, however he additionally has a low ground. That is not very best once you want guys that may play proper now.
Julian Phillips, the final unsigned 5* participant within the 2022 was the kind of participant that might are available play immediately, and full credit score to the brand new workers, they almost bought him on campus, however had been all the time a protracted shot to land the small ahead out of Missouri. Ultimately, there was a lot pleasure however no tangible outcomes, as Phillips determined to play for Rick Barnes and Tennessee. No hurt in swinging large and lacking on a expertise like Phillips, however he was yet one more tantalizing “plug and play” participant that was simply out of attain for Coach Tang and firm.
There isn’t any must panic but, there may be loads of time earlier than follow begins, and the present state of faculty basketball lends itself to filling out a roster late. 10 years in the past…hell…5 years in the past I’d direct Coach Tang to the Campus Rec to fill out the remainder of the roster, however there are nonetheless loads of nice choices in 2022.
For the time being, Kansas State has 6 open scholarships. In his interview with Kellis, Coach Tang indicated that he is sitting on a silent verbal dedication from a highschool participant. If that involves fruition, it leaves 5 scholarships. Nearly all of these spots (at the very least 3) have to be crammed by guys who’re prepared to come back in and never solely play, however play effectively (and rating) subsequent season.
Isiaih Mosley is a 6’5” guard from Missouri State who averaged 20 factors a recreation final 12 months, and is without doubt one of the finest shooters in school basketball. His 43% 3 level taking pictures would go a protracted approach to fill the opening left by Pack, and actually, could be a greater match subsequent to Nowell anyway. He is getting consideration from everybody, together with bluebloods like Duke and Louisville and Semi-Professional groups like Kansas however Okay-State seems to be within the working as effectively. It could be powerful for Mosely to step into one of many basketball manufacturing facility colleges and be “the person” however he could be “the person” the second he stepped on to campus in Manhattan. That is one thing to promote for a man that wishes to show his recreation on the best degree to assist his draft prospects.
Efe Abogidi, a 6’10” switch out of Washington State is an immediate influence middle within the portal, and Okay-State is in determined want of assist in the put up. He is the type of athletic, rim working large that Coach Tang covets. He averaged 8.1 factors, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks final season. He is extra developed on the defensive facet of the ball, the place he might anchor Okay-State’s protection, however is one other participant that may very well be lethal as a decide and roll finisher with Markquise. He is bought Kansas State, and just about each different staff poking across the switch portal displaying him consideration.
Alex Tchikou is a 6’11”, 225 pound former 4*, prime 100 middle out of Paris, France that initially signed with Alabama within the 2020 class, however is now searching for a brand new basketball residence. He is one other excessive ceiling, athletic large that might want to enhance his offensive recreation, however the uncooked expertise is intriguing, assuming he is totally recovered from an achilles rupture that induced him to overlook the 2021 season . He solely performed in 3 video games for the Crimson Tide final season, however would have the chance to win the beginning job in Manhattan. Pairing him with Colbert would give the Wildcats and uncooked, however wildly athletic middle place to construct round. If nothing else, groups would suppose twice earlier than driving the ball. In accordance with 247 sports activities, he was in Manhattan yesterday, evidently, Okay-State is within the combine.
One factor the buoys my hope is the NBA draft or switch portal. There are some high quality gamers hanging out within the portal ready to determine on their NBA draft future. I feel a very good a lot of these guys will find yourself again in school. If a man is searching for a starring position subsequent season, the Wildcats have that to supply. Whereas different groups are near full, Okay-State ought to have sufficient room to attend out any man that wishes to take their time.
Kansas State wants fast assist. If they do not signal just a few immediate influence gamers over the following few months, 2023 might (and doubtless will probably be) a troublesome 12 months for a fanbase that has suffered amply during the last a number of seasons. Coach Tang might have performed this slowly, stored a few Bruce’s larger upside guys with expertise, hedged his bets, and raised the ground on the 2023 staff however he determined to strip the staff to basis. It was a daring transfer, however one that might come again to chunk him if he cannot discover some extra scoring and expertise within the portal. He is gone after among the largest names, however has but to safe a real immediate influence participant (or at the very least a man that will not be a shock immediate influence participant).
His mentor Scott Drew was pressured to rebuild Baylor, and it took him 4 seasons to get issues circled. Coach Tang determined to rebuild Kansas State on his personal volition, however I do not suppose he’ll get 4 seasons of grace. He must win sooner, moderately than later to maintain the fan base on board and engaged. It is unusual to say, however the subsequent a number of months could make or break the Tang period. He must keep away from a catastrophe in 2023, and to do this, he wants to seek out some dudes which are learn to play. That is presupposed to be his specialty.
I am going to revisit this later as soon as just a few extra items have fallen into place. Till then, no hurt in having fun with the honeymoon interval.