MANHATTAN — Jamar Samuels compares playing a new position to moving across the country.
For somebody who until recently didn't know how to get to the Manhattan mall — but scored 16 points in his first Kansas State game as a small forward — that might be a bit of an exaggeration.
But even if transitioning from power forward — where he played last season and averaged 8.3 points and 4.7 rebounds off the bench — isn't as big a change as moving to Kansas from Washington, D.C., he insists there are similarities.
"It's like moving," he said. "You've gotta adjust to it, and I'm still adjusting to Manhattan. I just found out downtown is where the mall is, and I've been here for three years. I'm starting to learn more about both every day."
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Samuels came to Manhattan hoping to play small forward, and was thrust into the paint on a full-time basis only because the redshirt sophomore's 6-foot-7 frame made him one of the tallest players on the team.
This year, with newcomers Wally Judge, Jordan Henriquez and Curtis Kelly fighting for minutes in the paint with Luis Colon, Samuels will be able to step outside and showcase a different set of skills — his natural ones.
"I'm loving it," Samuels said of his new role. "I actually get to shoot the ball like I want to. It's taken some practice, because I didn't get to shoot much last year. But I'm starting to shoot very well and I'm very confident."
Coach Frank Martin said he was pleased with the way Samuels played in K-State's exhibition opener against Pittsburg State.
"Jamar has worked at it," Martin said. "He's been pretty good in practice and in practice he's going up against Dominique (Sutton), so he's going up against a pretty darn good player every day. That's helped him to become a pretty good player."
Samuels said he thanks Sutton on a daily basis for helping him improve.
"I consider Dominique one of the best defensive players in the Big 12," Samuels said. "If I can do some good things against him, that shows I can show it in the game, too."
The hardest thing about changing positions, Samuels said, is facing more ball pressure on offense and keeping up with smaller, quicker players on defense.
The competition gets tougher, starting tonight against Loyola-Chicago. Samuels looks forward to the challenge.
"I like how things are going," he said. "I'm still learning, but I'm working hard every day to make sure I'm getting better, and I think I am."