Not going to deceive y’all, I am a bit confused about what is going on on with Kansas State basketball for the time being.
Me being confused is not notably regarding, as a result of the one one who must know the plan is Coach Tang and his workers, but it surely’s a bit of onerous to parse from the surface wanting in. His latest interview with Kellis Robinett within the Eagle did not make clear a lot for me, actually, it made issues even murkier. I used to be a bit of taken again by his assertion that “once I was coming in I assumed there have been solely three guys I might wish to keep.” That is nothing, if not a daring assertion, however one facilitated by the present state of school basketball. On the very least we are able to take the “children ought to wish to play for a college and never a coach” narrative, douse it in gasoline and toss a match.
Wanting a bit of deeper into the assertion, it is no coincidence that two of the three guys he needed to remain have been guys he just about could not minimize unfastened as a result of they already used their free switch. Coach Tang has been round lengthy sufficient to know that chopping both Ish Massoud or Markquis Nowell unfastened would get him killed in press and make issues more durable for him to usher in switch guys. Do not get me unsuitable, I believe each guys are good gamers, however it is a bit handy that the 2 guys he could not minimize 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’ll be able to’t blame Nijel for taking cash from a Miami billionaire to play school basketball.
The issue with chopping 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 brief time period. Apparently 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 high 6 scorers and returned 5 whole gamers. In fact, that scenario was a bit of bit completely different. Bliss was probably the most 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 have been comfortable they knew they averted the demise penalty and the rebuild was going to be tough. It is onerous to get mad at a coach for not profitable video games early when your final coach was mendacity about an intra-team homicide to attempt to save his personal neck. Coach Drew gained a complete of 12 convention video games in 4 years earlier than breaking via in yr 5 with a 21-11 NCAA match 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 document) he is in for a impolite awakening, however a sure degree of persistence goes to be required for this entire rebuild.
The place Ok-State is Now
The switch portal needs to be Coach Tang’s savior, however so far, it has been a bit of of a nightmare. For all of the discuss of the portal being a simple technique to fill 11 scholarships in an offseason, it hasn’t labored out that means….but. The portal has supplied 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 positive wager, and this staff wants a pair positive bets.
It isn’t for an absence of effort, Ok-State has hosted high 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 brief on expertise and scoring. Carter got here into school with the repute as a knockdown shooter, however struggled to seek out the vary final yr, capturing 30% for the season. Colbert is understood 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 best way of a middle. Their starter was fellow freshman Efton Reid. He was strong for a freshman, averaging 6.3 factors and 4.3 rebounds on the yr, however these are hardly “street block” numbers.
Regardless of the potential of the portal, junior school switch Nae’Quan Tomlin is essentially the most skilled and sport prepared recruit added so far. I’ve a tough time describing his sport, 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 skill. He shot 26% from 3 at Chipola Junior School, beneath 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, except I am lacking one thing (and I very effectively might be) he appears extra like a bouncy glue man with the potential to be an elite defender than a scorer to me. I believe 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 lots 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 function participant for highschool basketball powerhouse La Lumiere final season however wasn’t something near a main scoring choice. It is onerous to see him stepping in subsequent yr and offering far more than vitality and hustle. He is acquired a excessive ceiling, however it should take a minute for him to fill out bodily and tremendous tune his offensive sport. That is tremendous, 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 similar to Manning, Finister has the potential to be an important participant for the Wildcats down the road, however he is seen by most as a developmental participant that wants at the least a season to assimilate himself into school basketball. He is the kind of excessive ceiling man you wish to convey right into a program, however he additionally has a low flooring. That is not ideally suited 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 would are available play straight away, and full credit score to the brand new workers, they practically acquired him on campus, however have been at all times 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 is not any must panic but, there may be loads of time earlier than apply begins, and the present state of school basketball lends itself to filling out a roster late. 10 years in the past…hell…5 years in the past I might 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.
In the mean time, 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. The vast majority of these spots (at the least 3) must be stuffed 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 sport final yr, and is likely one of the greatest shooters in school basketball. His 43% 3 level capturing would go a protracted technique to fill the outlet 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 Ok-State seems to be within the working as effectively. It could be powerful for Mosely to step into one of many basketball manufacturing unit faculties 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 sport on the best degree to assist his draft prospects.
Efe Abogidi, a 6’10” switch out of Washington State is an immediate impression middle within the portal, and Ok-State is in determined want of assist in the put up. He is the kind 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 aspect of the ball, the place he might anchor Ok-State’s protection, however is one other participant that might be lethal as a choose and roll finisher with Markquise. He is acquired 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*, high 100 middle out of Paris, France that initially signed with Alabama within the 2020 class, however is now on the lookout for a brand new basketball dwelling. He is one other excessive ceiling, athletic large that might want to enhance his offensive sport, 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. Based on 247 sports activities, he was in Manhattan yesterday, evidently, Ok-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 resolve on their NBA draft future. I believe a superb lots of these guys will find yourself again in school. If a man is on the lookout for a starring function subsequent season, the Wildcats have that to supply. Whereas different groups are near full, Ok-State ought to have sufficient room to attend out any man that wishes to take their time.
Kansas State wants quick assist. If they do not signal just a few immediate impression gamers over the subsequent few months, 2023 might (and doubtless can be) a tricky yr for a fanbase that has suffered amply over the past a number of seasons. Coach Tang might have performed this slowly, saved a few Bruce’s greater 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 would come again to chunk him if he cannot discover some extra scoring and expertise within the portal. He is gone after among the greatest names, however has but to safe a real immediate impression participant (or at the least a man that will not be a shock immediate impression participant).
His mentor Scott Drew was compelled to rebuild Baylor, and it took him 4 seasons to get issues rotated. 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, somewhat than later to maintain the fan base on board and engaged. It is unusual to say, however the subsequent a number of months might 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 might be learn to play. That is alleged to be his specialty.
I will 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.