During an 80-64 victory over UMKC on Thursday, Rodney McGruder was allowed to spend most of his time playing on the perimeter, and good things happened.
The sophomore small forward stepped outside, made a whopping seven three-pointers on his way to a game-high 24 points and completely opened up Kansas State’s offense.
As he made shot after shot, Wally Judge was inside scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, Jamar Samuels was passing the ball on his way to five assists and Will Spradling was left open enough times to make three three-pointers and score 15 points.
That versatility was a welcome sight for coach Frank Martin with two of his better players — Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly — out of the lineup for much publicized reasons. Notice that I no longer describe them as his “top two players.” Right now, McGruder is making a push for team MVP.
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He has been the Wildcats’ most improved player all season, and has shown a real knack for getting rebounds (he grabbed seven on Thursday) and making outside shots. Against UMKC, he also provided leadership. (more…)