Tag Archives: Jamar Samuels

Wildcats fall 59-53 in Bramlage to rival Jayhawks

14 Feb

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Jamar Samuels issued his final challenge to archrival Kansas in Bramlage Coliseum on Monday night. The Jayhawks had won 35 of the last 38 meetings of the teams. One of Kansas State’s rare wins in the series came last year. While Samuels made a convincing case for a repeat upset, it was not enough.

The senior scored 20 points and snagged 12 rebounds. He helped stymie player of the year candidate Thomas Robinson, who emerged with just 10 points.

“I just wanted to beat them,” Samuels said. “You’ve got a big-time team coming into your home, and it’s a rivalry game, and you want to win.”

The veteran performance of Samuels stood in sharp contrast to the youthful mistakes that plagued them in a 59-53 loss.

Freshman guard Angel Rodriguez, who has buoyed the Wildcats in many recent games, hindered them against the No. 4 Jayhawks by committing seven turnovers.

Kansas State also had a difficult shooting night, converting just 20 of 65 attempts. Rodney McGruder scored 12 points, and Will Spradling added 10. The two combined for 9-of-28 shooting from the floor.

Kansas employed the triangle-and-two defense to slow down a Wildcats offense that already struggled with sluggishness.

“They’re made to get you to stand around,” coach Frank Martin said. “It got the mission accomplished. It got us to stand around, and they slowed us down.”

That said, the Wildcats had myriad opportunities late in the game after battling back from a 28-18 halftime deficit.

With 1:15 to play, McGruder hit a jumper that put the Wildcats within 55-51. They had several opportunities in the next minute, most of which came on mistakes by Tyshawn Taylor. In quick succession, he missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity at the foul line, turned the ball over and missed another free throw that would have increased the Kansas lead.

Robinson made a pair of foul shots to put the Jayhawks up 57-51.

With 8 seconds left on the clock, McGruder hit another big shot to cut the deficit to four points again. By then, though, it was too late.

“Self-destructed,” Martin said. “That happens to us. When you’ve got grown men playing for you, it makes our guys look like little kids in that moment.”

Kansas State had put itself in position to win, but it could not maintain that stronghold as the game progressed.

The Wildcats launched a 12-4 run out of halftime to climb within two points of the Jayhawks, 32-30. Spradling started the scoring spree with his first basket of the game. Thomas Gipson nailed a pair of free throws, and Samuels incited some much-needed momentum by sinking two 3-pointers.

The emergence of Jordan Henriquez – with an emphatic slam followed by a workmanlike layup – allowed the Wildcats to tie the game at 34 early in the second half. Later, another free throw by Gipson gave Kansas State its first lead, 37-36.

Consecutive 3-pointers by Taylor and a bucket down low by Jeff Withey quickly restored the Jayhawks’ lead, 44-37. With six and a half minutes to play, Kansas led by 10 again, just as it had at the break.

In the first half the Wildcats made just 22.6 percent of their field goals. Samuels and McGruder accounted for all the team’s points save for one basket by Gipson.

“You play a good team like Kansas, when you get a crack, you’ve got to make it,” Martin said. “I told our guys, ‘I don’t know what to tell you. You’ve got an open shot, you’ve got to make it.”

Overtime again for the Wildcats: Bramlage edition

11 Dec

Another nonconference opponent that Big 12 teams are expected to beat, another win that was much too close for comfort. The Wildcats triumphed 79-68 on Sunday afternoon, but North Florida did not make it easy, scoring a bucket at the end of regulation to send it into overtime at 60-60.

Kansas State coach Frank Martin said the selfishness and lethargy he sees from his team worries him more than the small margin of victory.
“I’m not concerned with the final score; that’s irrelevant to me,” Martin said. “I’m concerned on how we do our jobs _ guys being on the same page, how you go out and play.”

275-pound freshman force Thomas Gipson led the team with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Jamar Samuels, Will Spradling and Rodney McGruder also scored in double figures. For the Ospreys, Jimmy Williams and Parker Smith scored 13 each, while Jeron Granberry got 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point range.

Kansas State had led the entire game when Williams scored back-to-back fast break baskets to put North Florida up 40-37 with 12:37 left to play. A few minutes and consecutive three-pointers by Granberry later, it was 49-40 Ospreys.

The Wildcats would not regain the lead until under three minutes remained, when they pulled ahead 57-55 on free throws from Samuels.

When Spradling drilled a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left in regulation, it looked like it would ice the game 60-58. Williams made sure it did not, scoring a 2-point basket to send it to overtime, where the Wildcats eventually won by double-digits.

Kansas State got off to a 12-4 start but let the Ospreys back into the game. Spradling said the Wildcats cannot do that down the road.

“When we get up like that, we need to just bury teams,” Spradling said. “Once we get leads, we like to relax and let teams back in the game. We can’t be doing that, especially when Big 12 comes, because if we do, we’re going to be the team getting buried.”

Wildcats beat Colonials, move to 4-0

1 Dec

Kansas State put away George Washington 69-56 behind double-doubles from Thomas Gipson and Jamar Samuels. Neither team’s coach, however, seemed pleased after the game.

George Washington coach Mike Lonergan said his team’s performance disappointed him.

“We came out ready to play in the first half, and unfortunately our horrendous free throw shooting kept us from having a lead at the half,” he said, “and then in the second half, a lot of open threes we missed. Give credit to Kansas State – they’re a very good defensive team.”

Kansas State coach Frank Martin agreed about the defense, but the lack of movement on offense had him yelling and gesturing in frustration throughout the game.

“Right now I’m worried because we’re playing selfishly on offense, and that cannot happen,” he said.

Gipson had 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Samuels added 10 and 10. Jordan Henriquez contributed 6 points and 11 rebounds.

“Gipson just was a man amongst boys out there tonight and dominated the game,” Lonergan said, “and Samuels had a great second half, so they killed us inside.”

For the Colonials, Tony Taylor had 14 points. No one else scored in double figures for George Washington.

The Colonials stayed close early on the strength of their three-point shooting, a category in which it led the nation coming into the game. The team converted on 4 of 8 from beyond the arc in the first half while the Wildcats hit on only 1 of 10 from there.

Kansas State pulled away some on an 8-0 sparked by an Henriquez basket, but then the Colonials skirted away on their own 7-0 streak. They took the lead 28-26 before a 3-pointer by Martavious Irving – his team’s first of the game – put the Wildcats back in front 28-26 with 4:22 to go in the first half.

At halftime, the Wildcats led 32-29. The size of Gipson, Samuels and Henriquez proved problematic for the Colonials as the trio amassed 19 points and 18 rebounds in the first 20 minutes. By the game’s end, Kansas State had 25 second chance points, while the Colonials got just 8.

After four minutes of back-and-forth scoring, Kansas State’s Shane Southwell hit a 3-pointer to put the Wildcats up 42-37. Two charges taken by Wildcats and a technical foul on the George Washington bench later, point guard Will Spradling went off for 9 straight points in a 15-1 run by his team.

“We were running offense, and that opened up a lot of shots, opened up a lot of lanes,” Spradling said. “We were making the second pass, which we weren’t doing in the first half.”

The teams traded baskets for a while again as players battled in the post. Ultimately, the paint belonged to the Wildcats, especially Gipson. The game slowed as it progressed and included lots of foul shooting toward the end.

“We decided to do what we practiced, built a lead, and then reverted right back to playing how we did the whole first half – just everyone be selfish and no one run what we practice,” Martin said.

The Wildcats travel to play Virginia Tech on Sunday. It will be the team’s first road test of the season. Martin said he would like to have had one more game on the schedule at this point just because the team is young and needs the practice.

“We’ve got to learn how to play offense the way we play defense, which is unselfish and disciplined,” Martin said. “The way we played today is totally unacceptable.”

Preview: Kansas State vs. George Washington

1 Dec

Who are the guys to watch in this game? It should not be difficult to keep track of the guys to watch for George Washington: two of the most interesting ones have alliterations – #3 Tony Taylor and #5 Bryan Bynes. Taylor, a senior point guard, leads the team in scoring (nearly 16 ppg), assists (nearly 5 per game) and steals (a little over 1 per game), according to the team’s website. As you can imagine, he is not on the bench much – only about 5 minutes each game. Oh, by the way, he’s shooting a scathing 63 percent (12 of 19) from beyond the arc. Bynes is one it will be interesting to watch because he and Kansas State’s Martavious Irving have been friends since they were little kids and played on the same high school team and AAU team. For the Wildcats, look for Jamar Samuels to have loosened up and be finishing on some of those looks he missed last game. Also, Will Spradling and Rodney McGruder should hit some outside shots early so they can keep defenders honest and have opportunities to slash to the rim as well. Maybe the most fun to watch will be Thomas Gipson, the beastly freshman who has been converting at the rim and earning and-ones like nobody’s business.

What will this game tell us about the Wildcats? Coach Frank Martin said the Colonels are all about controlling the tempo of the game – that’s their coach’s modus operandi, or “schtick,” as Martin says. To combat this, either the Wildcats will have to get steals and defensive rebounds and push a faster tempo, or they will have to play in a much more disciplined manner than they have been doing lately – actually running plays, setting picks and passing. Obviously, a faster tempo would probably be better for Kansas State.

How might this game impact Kansas State going forward? This is a team that’s 4-1. Eastern Maryland Shore, the only game so far the Wildcats have won by a significant margin, was 1-3 heading into Bramlage Coliseum. Kansas State has definitely been going through its growing pains even with nominally easier opponents, and now it hits a stretch of much more challenging ones: George Washington tonight, Virginia Tech on Dec. 4, and West Virginia in Wichita on Dec. 8. Tonight’s game could set the tone for this stretch. A strong performance is going to provide some confidence going into those, so win or lose, the Wildcats need that tonight.

When was the last time these teams played? These teams last met in December of 1940 in Washington D.C. In that game, George Washington defeated Kansas State 48-25.

Where is George Washington University? George Washington University is in Washington, D.C., along with Georgetown University and George Mason University, in case you were wondering.

Why is this particular game on the schedule? Martin said he wants to try to get his players back home to be able to play in front of their families and friends as much as possible. The team accomplished that by playing Loyola in Chicago – where Jacob Pullen is from – last season, and an encore of tomorrow night’s game in Washington D.C. would get Rodney McGruder back to his home.


Putting on a Show: The Exhibition Game

6 Nov

I’ll later be transcribing Frank Martin’s postgame press conference as well as the comments of Jordan Henriquez and Martavious Irving. For now, though, here are the quick hits of what to take away from Kansas State’s 90-60 exhibition victory over Fort Hays State.

Most of the veterans look solid. This may seem ironic with the announcement that senior Jamar Samuels is suspended for the first three games, but Jordan Henriquez, Martavious Irving and Will Spradling played well. All scored in double figures, and Henriquez even recorded a double-double. More than numbers, though, they looked like they understood what was going on, and they played in a fairly disciplined way most of the time. To me, it’s incredible to see how far these guys – Henriquez and Irving in particular – have come in just a few years. They seem more comfortable talking to the media, just more at ease in general. I think that sense of confidence will really play into their leadership this season. They know they have earned their spots, and they can help the younger guys learn how to do that too.

Several of the new guys have potential to contribute. The main ones I’m talking about here are Angel Rodriguez and Thomas Gipson. Rodriguez has speed and a sweet shot. Plus, as Martin said, Rodriguez understands the game and what it means to be a point guard. It seems that he has acquired a decent understanding of the offense. Gipson has a huge body, but he can catch the ball, and he knows how to temper the strength of his shot when he is close to the rim. In addition to that soft touch, he has some nice back-to-the-basket moves. He also does not hesitate. When he gets the ball at the basket, he goes up instead of dribbling once out of compulsion. It’s good to see. Adrian Diaz is another one to keep an eye on. His response to missed shots and such reminds me of Jordan Henriquez. He looks so regretful after a missed opportunity, but he doesn’t seem to let that linger. Also, Diaz seems fairly agile despite his size, and Martin said he is more developed offensively than Henriquez was when he came in as a freshman. Obviously, all the new guys need work. They could be very good, though, and I think Rodriguez and Gipson – and perhaps Diaz as well – will be getting some serious minutes down the road.

Jamar Samuels suspended for first three games

6 Nov

Kansas State issued a press release that senior forward Jamar Samuels has been suspended for the first three games of the season for violating team rules. The suspension will encompass the exhibition game against Fort Hays State on Nov. 6, the season opener against Charleston Southern on Nov. 11, and the second regular season game against Loyola on Nov. 14.

Here is coach Frank Martin’s statement from the press release:

“Jamar understands that student-athletes at K-State have expectations and that there are consequences when you don’t live up to those expectations. However, I have been pleased with how he has handled his obligations since this setback and I expect this to continue.”

Looking Ahead at Next Year’s Roster: The Seniors

6 May

Now that we know who isn’t going to be returning from the 2010-2011 men’s basketball team, let’s take a look at who is. With a just slightly bigger senior class and a half-dozen new guys, it has all the potential to be another year of constantly-changing lineups and major minutes for multiple players.

The senior class will consist of forwards Jamar Samuels and Victor Ojeleye and guard Devon Peterson.

Last season, Samuels had by far the most playing time of the trio, although he did not follow up on his 2009-2010 Sixth Man of the Year Award with the every-game consistency that K-State fans had hoped to see from him. However, he certainly contributed greatly to the team and matured throughout the season, stepping into a leadership role when Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly were suspended, and deciding to take a hiatus from Twitter, along with the rest of the team.

Samuels, a product of the Patterson School in North Carolina, has been in Manhattan for the duration of his college career. Ever the jokester, journalist grew accustomed to getting the most interesting quotes from him as he hammed it up at every opportunity during his sophomore season (2009-2010). Last season, however, Samuels was much more even-keel, both in press conferences and in games. The more serious, grown-up version of Samuels could be just what the Wildcats need with so many young players and newcomers on the roster.

Ojeleye will also be a guiding force for the team, as his hard work and diligence in practice earned him playing time in numerous games from the “equal opportunity” head coach Frank Martin. Also one who is dedicated in school and strong in his faith, Ojeleye has been the heart and soul of the team, a source of encouragement at all times. (That’s the report from Martin and Ojeleye’s teammates; you’d better believe he’s the one giving the credit to his coaches and teammates.)

Peterson has a single year of K-State basketball under his belt, as he transferred from Broward (Fla.) College after one year there. While he played sparingly throughout the season, he looked to have some good natural speed and a knack for slashing to the basket.

Soon to come: a review of the six newcomers. Stay tuned!

Thrice as Nice: Three Reasons Why the Wildcats Will Win (or Won’t)

28 Feb

While predictions aren’t my favorite form of journalism, they certainly aren’t unheard of. I don’t pretend to know who is going to win this evening, but here are three factors that favor each team going into tonight’s game. Feel free to take them into consideration for your pre-game discussions with friends and foes alike.

“We Own Texas” – Why the Wildcats Will Win

1) In the same way that Texas has nearly always found a way to beat Nebraska, K-State often pulls out the upset over the Longhorns. Whether that’s psychological or just coincidental in recent years, it’s definitely been a trend. Either way, the Wildcats aren’t going to be walking into this game intimidated. They’re on a four-game winning streak that included two top-25 teams.

As head coach Frank Martin said, this team has been through every possible emotion over the course of this season. It’s been rattled by all sorts of surprises, but players say the locker room is more united than ever. Bottom line: I’ve got to think K-State’s confidence gives the team an edge here.

2) The Wildcats’ senior point guard is averaging almost 30 points per game since the epic victory over Kansas in Bramlage Coliseum, but he is not the only offensive weapon for K-State. Sophomore Rodney McGruder has been Mr. Consistent (apologies if that is already a title for someone else) and leads the team in rebounding as a guard.

Losing forwards Wally Judge and Freddy Asprilla necessitated a change in the offense, and that change has worked well so far. As assistant coach Brad Underwood explained it, instead of attacking the rim with a big guy parked in the paint, the Wildcats are doing it by drawing defenders out away from the basket and then sending players cutting toward the hoop. Statistical evidence of success? “Our assist numbers are through the roof … That means that there’s ball movement, players cutting, players playing together,” Martin said. Bottom line: The Wildcats have a chance because their new offense allows better ball movement.

3) Hustle and work ethic have not really been an issue for this team – mainly because Martin yanks from the lineup anyone who is slacking off. I’m sure the Longhorns have plenty of desire as well, but right now, the Wildcats need this win more. There was talk of them not even getting into the NCAA tournament, where Texas has been in first place in the Big 12 all season long. K-State has to have a win to bolster their resume for good seeds in the Big 12 tournament and NCAA tournament. If the Wildcats can stay in the game, where it comes down to who wants it more, I think they have the advantage.

“Don’t Mess with Texas” – Why the Wildcats Won’t Win

1) Martin said Texas is the most physical team on the Wildcats’ schedule. Depending on what area of the court that physicality takes place, it could be difficult for K-State to contend with some of the bigger bodies on the Longhorns’ roster. If it comes down to banging and bruising in the paint, that scenario favors Texas. Really, K-State only has three forwards – Curtis Kelly, Jamar Samuels, and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts. (Victor Ojeleye hasn’t played much recently, and Nino Williams is out after some concussions early on this season.) Because of that limited supply of big guys, the Wildcats don’t have many fouls to give, and mentally it’s tougher to be aggressive when you know it’ll be hard for your team to replace you if you foul out or have to go to the bench.

2) After K-State played Kansas in Lawrence, right after the Jayhawks had lost to Texas, Martin joked that he asked Bill Self to stop losing before K-State played the Jayhawks because the Wildcats always seem to encounter “the pissed-off version” of the team. Now, Texas is in a situation similar to what Kansas was at that point: had been dominant thus far, had lost to a team it could have beaten, and was returning to its home court. Martin said this season that he’d rather play teams when they’re “fat and comfortable” than when they’re on a bit of a skid. So, although this applies to K-State some too, the redemption factor goes to Texas.

3) The game is in Austin. It’s as simple as that. The Wildcats have struggled on the road this season, as eight of the team’s nine losses have come outside the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum. While giving a home court advantage to the home team seems ridiculously redundant, I think it’s appropriate to mention considering K-State’s away-from-home troubles over the last few months.