Tag Archives: Kansas State basketball 2011

Sunday Takeaways from Saturday’s KSU/Texas A&M Game

5 Feb

The Wildcats pulled to .500 in conference play with a 64-53 win in Bramlage Coliseum over Texas A&M yesterday. Kansas State needed that win for confidence going forward. Reflecting on that game, there are several reasons the Wildcats should have that confidence now.

1. Angel Rodriguez can take over a game.

He had one sequence in particular that I found truly impressive. First, He zipped into the lane and drew a shooting foul, then made both his free throws. Immediately after, he caused a Texas A&M turnover while pressuring the inbounds pass. In that possession, he attempted a 3-pointer. He missed, but he got his own rebound and took another shot. That one went in. Then on the next possession, he again drove to the basket, and that time he made the basket and got the foul. Again, he made his free throw.

Basically, this kid was all over the place. Early on, I was wary of comparisons between him and Denis Clemente. Rodriguez is young. He plays ahead of himself sometimes. When he throws up those crazy circus shots, many times I think, ‘That is an awful shot,’ and then the ball usually finds the hoop anyway. He turns the ball over a little more than he should, and he has to watch his fouls.

All that said, when he gets a fire under him, watch out. If he plays assertively and keeps his fouls under control so he can stay in a game, he is as dangerous a player as the Wildcats have. He will be huge for them in the years to come.

2. Will Spradling rediscovered his shot.

The sophomore point guard has been in the gym working on his shot for awhile now. He had been struggling to make baskets in the last few games, but a 4-for-5 effort yesterday from beyond the arc against Texas A&M pretty much sealed the deal that his slump is behind him. Coach Frank Martin told him he just had to keep shooting. If he does not shoot an open shot when he has the opportunity, he hurts his team, Martin said. Yesterday Spradling’s persistence and work on that shot paid off. He led the Wildcats with 19 points.

3. The team still believes.

Every now and then, I listen to sports talk radio. The other day, I heard guys discuss whether maybe the fiery Martin is too hard on his team sometimes. Maybe he pushed the guys too hard and lost them, one suggested after recent Big 12 losses. I don’t think so.

From the way Spradling and Rodriguez looked admiringly at Martin and grinned as he made wisecracks during the press conference yesterday, I would venture to say that is not the case at all. Those guys respect Martin – though they all call him Frank – and believe in what he is doing. As long as there is mutual respect between coaches and players, you can never count a team out of a season.  The Wildcats will be fine.

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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.”

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.”