Wildcats open season with Charleston Southern

11 Nov

Checking out Charleston Southern Last season, the Buccaneers went 9-9 in the Big South Conference and won 16 games, the most the team it has had in 14 seasons. On the road, though, the team went 3-12.

While the Buccaneers graduated leading scorer Jamarco Warren, they return guard Kelvin Martin, a senior who last season snagged the Big South Conference Defensive Player of the Year award. Overall, this year’s team is young. Of 17 names on the roster, 13 have “freshman” or “sophomore” behind them.

A team that plays with four guards and works to spread out defenses so it can drive on them or shoot three-pointers, Charleston Southern’s setup reminds Kansas State coach Frank Martin of a few Big 12 teams.

“A little bit like Nebraska,” he said. “I mean, Nebraska had Ryan Anderson at the 4, and they just spaced you and drove you, and they looked to shoot threes from four different spots. I guess Colorado, to a certain extent last year, who obviously gave us tons of problems.”

Going on the offensive Last season, Kansas State backed away from the box-and-one offense it had used to take advantage of size near the rim in favor of the pinch-post, which featured players’ athleticism and created favorable player mismatches. This season, the Wildcats plan to combine the two.

“We can take advantage of Thomas Gipson playing the low post, where he’s efficient, he’s very good; take advantage of Jamar in there, who’s gotten a lot better; and even Jordan because of his size, and now he’s gotten to the point where he can score in there,” Martin said. “But at the same time, the pinch post was very good to us. We’re trying to implement an offense where you kind of combine both. Sometimes we go straight into the pinch post, other times we want to utilize that size at the rim, that strength at the rim, so we’ll start with the offense that we’ve always had and try and flow it to the pinch post.”

Personnel updates This is the year of the major-minutes-players becoming the guys for the team. Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly were the go-to players for the past couple years, but now the Wildcats need others to step up. Among those will be forward Jordan Henriquez and guard Rodney McGruder. According to Martin, Henriquez has been coachable and grown in his game as a result. McGruder, on the other hand, recovered from a knee surgery and is doing better because of it. Of course, how they perform in actual games has yet to be seen … at least for a few hours.

Here’s what Martin had to say about Jordan:

“Up to now, he’s been as good as we can ask of him in preseason, and now the games count, so let’s see how he reacts to being a front-line player on a consistent basis during the course of the season. I think he’ll do well in it because he’s prepared himself for it, but that’s a little bit of an unknown.”

Here’s what he said about Rodney:

“Today he had a dunk in practice that he had no chance of ever having last year because his legs are under him. He shot the cover off the ball the whole preseason, and then in the exhibition game, he just missed some shots, but he took some good ones. He’s been better defensively because he’s not playing on one leg so he can go both ways. That’ll come. You guys will see Rodney as the year progresses and we start doing things to give him angles, get shots and make plays, you’ll see what I’m talking about.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: