Earlier this week we learned “Bruce Weber” and “contract extension” make for a volatile combination for Kansas State fans on social media.
Now that the mushroom cloud has cleared, let’s examine the pros and cons of university president Richard Myers expressing confidence in Weber and saying that Weber will engage in extension talks with new athletic director Gene Taylor after he officially starts May 1.
The cons are obvious. Weber is unpopular with a good chunk of K-State basketball fans and he was thought to be on the hot seat until the Wildcats finished the season with victories over TCU, Texas Tech and Baylor and then defeated Wake Forest in a NCAA Tournament play-in game to finish 21-14.
But there are pros, too. Weber will be back as K-State’s basketball coach next season. That’s not changing. Might as well give him the best possible chance to succeed. A contract extension could help in that regard, particularly in recruiting. A coach with four or five years remaining on his deal tends to have better luck than a coach with one or two.
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Weber has two years remaining on a contract that will pay him $2.15 million next season and features a buyout of $2.5 million. At this time next year, his buyout drops to $2.25 million. If he remains on the job until April 30, 2019, K-State owes him a retention bonus of $500,000.
As long as K-State doesn’t add guaranteed money or increase his buyout, a short extension could provide Weber a recruiting boost without making it any more costly for K-State to part ways with him down the road. When people hear the words “contract extenstion” their minds naturally jump to big raises that lock up a coach for years to come. But I can’t imagine that’s what Myers or Taylor have in mind here.
Something as simple as a two-year continuation of Weber’s current deal (similar to the extension K-State gave soccer coach Mike Dibbini this week) seems more likely and reasonable. Or maybe Weber agrees to more years in exchange for a lower buyout. I could see that. Weber’s overall record in five seasons at K-State is 100-68 with three NCAA Tournaments and a shared Big 12 championship. Not bad. He’s the fifth-winningest coach in school history and could pass Frank Martin next season. If the Wildcats make the postseason again next year, but Weber fails to win over the fans, maybe he would like to explore other options without a big buyout attached to his name. If he does win over the fans, K-State will already have an extension in place.
There are lots of possibilities. Maybe Taylor and Weber talk about an extension but can’t agree on a deal, setting up this debate for another day.
Now, let’s move onto your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them.
Jordan Willis will get selected early on, maybe late in the first round. More likely early in the second round.
Elijah Lee will probably get picked in the later rounds. It’s hard to tell exactly where, anywhere from the fourth round to the seventh.
I doubt anyone else gets picked. But some teams may consider Dante Barnett and Charmeachealle Moore. Look for them and a few others like Donnie Starks and Deante Burton to get looks as undrafted free agents.
Jesse Ertz will be K-State’s starting quarterback next season. I am confident of that, even if it’s not a 100 percent certainty.
Ertz led K-State to a 9-4 record last season and is set to return with a surgically repaired throwing shoulder. K-State quarterbacks tend to make huge jumps in Year 2, and that’s what will be expected of Ertz. Alex Delton and Skylar Thompson lack the experience to truly challenge him. In my mind, only an injury could prevent Ertz from retaining the job.
Bill Snyder promotes competition at every position in practice. That’s all he’s doing when he says Delton appears ready to compete with Ertz.
The way K-State football players talk about Skylar Thompson, the better question might be: Do you think Alex Delton will actually challenge Skylar Thompson for the starting QB spot in two years?
From what I’ve seen, Thompson has the best arm (by far) on the team. He truly seems like K-State’s quarterback of the future.
But he still needs to add more muscle, learn the playbook, get comfortable in the system and prove he can take the beating that comes along with playing quarterback at K-State.
Delton and Thompson both seem to have a lot of potential. I am eager to see how they both play on Saturday. And, yes, I expect them to have a good competition for the starting job after Jesse Ertz departs.
1. Carlos Strickland: The Cal transfer seems ready to play in most three-receiver sets next season.
2. Da’Quan Patton: Has the talent to start at linebacker, but he’s behind Trent Tanking, Sam Sizelove and Jayd Kirby at the moment.
3. Mike McCoy: Hard to get many carries in the same backfield as Alex Barnes and Justin Silmon.
Byron Pringle should be one of the better receivers in the Big 12 this season. Dominique Heath is rock solid in the slot. After that, we’ll see.
Carlos Strickland has potential. Isaiah Zuber, Isaiah Harris and Corey Sutton all showed promise as young receivers last season. What kind of jump can they make this year? That’s what this position will all come down to. But they should all be better than they were a year ago, especially playing with Ertz.
You have set the O/U well. K-State had 30 combined wins in football and men’s basketball last season and should probably come in at about the same number next season.
Tough call, but give me the over.
Great and greatest are my only two options?
I guess I’m going with great, because I’m not the biggest fan of the purple blazer. I get that it’s neat to wear at your introductory news conference, but very few coaches and administrators seem to pull them out for games. If they’re so cool, they should be worn all the time.
Personally, I would like to see K-State shift to a lavender blazer. That bad boy would look good.
I don’t know that any sporting event is “excruciating” to cover. I haven’t covered chess, cricket or NASCAR, so maybe those would fall in that category. But not K-State’s spring football game or exhibition basketball games.
Now, some K-State sporting events are certainly more exciting to cover than others. The two options you list are on the low end of the excitement scale, but they have some things going for them. You get to see a lot of different players at the spring game. The first half, at least for me, is always entertaining. It’s the second half that gets you. The basketball exhibition games are good, because you get to see basketball for the first time in months. But, much like the spring game, the first exhibition is a lot better than the second.
From the standpoint of the entire weekend, I would try to milk the spring game for all its worth. More tailgating, a family fun zone outside the stadium, a movie at the stadium that night, a meet-and-greet with basketball players, a home baseball series across the parking lot. Maybe coincide K-State’s open house with this weekend? I don’t know, something along those lines.
As for the game itself, I would certainly try to make it more entertaining. Nobody wants to watch a full game that lasts three hours. Use a running clock. Shorten the quarters. Anything. The game should last no longer than two hours.
I would also like to see some gimmicks. Maybe a few skills competitions at halftime, letting lucky fans call some plays or draft the teams fantasy style. That could be fun. A series in which Bill Snyder plays quarterback?
The spring game is different from a regulation game. Might as well have some fun with it.
You should change your Twitter handle to @Nostradamus with those kind of predictions.
College basketball is quite a bit different from the NBA. People in this part of the country tend to watch so much college hoops that when they switch on the NBA maybe they don’t like what they see even though the game is being played at a higher level. That’s my guess, anyway.
I don’t love the NBA. But I don’t hate it, either. The games are a bit long for my taste. The regular season goes on forever, and the playoffs don’t exactly move fast, either. I do like watching the playoffs, but it’s hard to attach too much meaning to any one game.
That being said, I would like to see Kansas City get a team.
They landed junior-college guard Amaad Wainright on Thursday. The 6-foot-4 wing averaged 14.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists for a good juco team last season. His older brother (Ishmail) played at Baylor. His grandfather (Maurice King) played at Kansas. He’s originally from Kansas City.
You never know what to expect from junior-college guys, but Wainright seems like a decent addition this late in the recruiting process. He could help Xavier Sneed and K-State’s backcourt on the wing next season.
Now, Weber will turn his attention entirely to recruiting a big man. Kyle McKinley, a 6-10 forward at Northeast Community College, is on his radar. So are many others. Given K-State’s roster makeup, a grad transfer would make a lot of sense. We’ll see what happens.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett