K-State basketball looking for this year’s go-to guy

05/11/2014 1:13 PM

05/11/2014 1:13 PM

In the rebirth of Kansas State basketball, starting with Bob Huggins’ tenure in 2007 through last season’s Big 12 championship season, the Wildcats have had a go-to source.

Cartier Martin, Michael Beasley, Jacob Pullen, Rodney McGruder.

Who’s that player this season?

Coach Bruce Weber looks to his most experienced players, like swing Shane Southwell, guard Will Spradling and frontliner Thomas Gipson.

Especially Southwell and Gipson, with Spradling growing more accustomed to point guard duties early.

“I’m not sure it will take away from his scoring a little bit, so that means Southwell and Gipson have to be the guys that really step up,” Weber said during Big 12 men’s basketball media day Tuesday at the Sprint Center.

Kansas State’s top scorers from last season, Rodney McGruder (15.6 points per game) and Angel Rodriguez (11.4) have moved on.

Southwell averaged 8.4 points, Gipson 7.9 and Spradling 7.4 in the Wildcats’ 27-8 season.

More Weber thoughts ...

How will the new rules chances will impact Spradling’s defense:

“There is no doubt. Almost every day Will takes a charge we’re like: Go back and watch. Is it going to be a charge with the new rules?”

How did the team buy into your philosophy in your debut season?

“Well, it was — a lot was made of it. I think it was a lot easier. The beginning was hard because we had to re-recruit everybody, from Rodney to Angel, whoever it might have been. Just one, selling yourself, selling your staff, your system.

“We really tried to be hands on, one-on-one with them as much as we could, be around them. I think slowly but surely they started to appreciate what we were about. Then the system, it was different, but it wasn’t totally different. This year has been a lot tougher, to be honest, with so many new players. Last year everyone was new, but they were older guys. When I did a drill, I said we’re going to do shell drill, they knew what shell drill was. Now the terminology and teaching points are different. Now I do shell drill and it might take 20 minutes because we have to stop so much with the new players.”

Is it fair to say that Marcus (Foster) is the most ready to contribute right away?

“Scoring-wise, there’s no doubt. He just is very dedicated. He’s worked at his game. Jumps up and shoots the basketball very confident-wise. The All-Star games in Texas, he was the leading scorer in both of them. We had a scrimmage before the last football game. Right away, first shot of the game, boom, Marcus three. So he doesn’t seem to hesitate.

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