Kansas State basketball adds two, loses two

The signing period for basketball ended Wednesday, but Kansas State men’s basketball coach Frank Martin may not be done yet.

The Wildcats announced the signing of two players before the spring period concluded, 6-8 power forward Jamar Samuels of The Patterson School in Lenoir, N.C., and 6-7 small forward Andre Gilbert from Mount San Jacinto College in California.

Those two replace two that are leaving.

Jason Bennett, a 7-foot-3 center, is leaving the program. Bennett was not granted a release from his scholarship due to academic issues, and he will have to sit out 2007-08 wherever he transfers. Bennett, who was a freshman, set the school single-game record for blocked shots with eight and finished with 50 overall.

“Unfortunately, Jason put himself in a spot, according to NCAA guidelines, not where he needed to be academically,” Martin said by phone Thursday. “We hope he can land somewhere that’s going to be comfortable for him.”

Also, sophomore small forward Deilvez Yearby is transferring. Yearby, who played sparingly, was granted a release because he was in good academic standing.

“He battled (with his decision to leave) because he liked it here,” Martin said. “He came to K-State because his high school coach (Ben Kelso) was on staff here (in 2005-06). He just had a desire to get closer to his home in Detroit.”

The two additions and two subtractions leave the Wildcats at 12 scholarships, one short of the NCAA maximum of 13. Martin said he is still scouring the country for players for the 2007 class and beyond. If K-State gets another recruit for the 2007-08 season, he would have to sign a financial aid agreement, which is non-binding until he attends the first day of class Aug. 20.

“If there is someone we think is the right fit for the university as a person and a player, we’ll bring them on board,” said Martin, who added he isn’t opposed to not filling the last available scholarship.

One player who said he was going to K-State was Victor Dubovitsky, who was released from his scholarship to Texas A&M after coach Billy Gillispie left the Aggies’ program for Kentucky. Dubovitsky, a 6-7 forward who played last season at Chipola Junior College in Florida, recently told The Star he intended on signing with the Wildcats.

“We’re still recruiting,” Martin said when asked about Dubovitsky. “I’m not free to comment about 2007 recruits we haven’t signed.”

As for the incoming players, Martin said Samuels is a “relentless rebounder.” Gilbert, who was acquitted by a South Dakota jury in 2006 on two counts of second-degree rape and one count of burglary after a female South Dakota State student accused him and another man of sexual assault, can play multiple positions, Martin said.

Samuels and Gilbert will compliment a recruiting class already dubbed No. 1 by (the class includes top-rated power forward Michael Beasley).

Martin said he “gets a chuckle” when he reads or hears about Beasley’s academic standing. Martin said Beasley is “fine” in terms of the needed requirements to attend K-State.

Also, Martin said Josh Oppenheimer is not yet an official member of his staff as one of his assistants. “We’re still trying to figure out if he can overcome some family issues,” Martin said of Oppenheimer, who has been an assistant at Kent State.

Martin said he is “still interviewing folks” for the assistant job.