Kansas State University

K-State Q&A: Bruce Weber, John Currie, D.J. Johnson, baseball and pizza toppings

K-State coach Bruce Weber watches as K-State guard Carlbe Ervin II battles with Oklahoma State defenders. K-State took on Oklahoma State in Bramlage Coliseum Wednesday night in Manhattan.(February 22, 2017)
K-State coach Bruce Weber watches as K-State guard Carlbe Ervin II battles with Oklahoma State defenders. K-State took on Oklahoma State in Bramlage Coliseum Wednesday night in Manhattan.(February 22, 2017) The Wichita Eagle

It’s time for another K-State Q&A.

Let’s dive right into your questions this week. Thanks, as always, for asking them.

It takes an exceptional level of losing to be shown the door before the end of a basketball season. K-State and Bruce Weber haven’t reached that point.

Even after four consecutive home losses, the Wildcats remain on the NCAA Tournament bubble. Scrap together three more wins, and they stand a good chance at making the bracket.

It’s still too early to definitively say anything about Weber’s future.

The last three seasons have been a struggle, no doubt.

Weber was exceptional in his first season at K-State, pretty good in his second and then on par with Tom Asbury and Jim Wooldridge ever since. It’s why he is on the hot seat.

That Wooldridge had the best winning percentage of all three in his final three seasons (54.1 compared to 52.7 for Weber and 51.1 for Asbury) is telling. Then again, he beat Kansas in Lawrence on his way out the door.

It’s called K-State Q&A, not K-State Truth or Dare. But I will play along.

The case obviously starts with the next three games. If he wins all three and finishes the regular season 20-11, 9-9 then the uproar about his future becomes moot. K-State will finish sixth in the Big 12 and be in the NCAA Tournament. And he will probably be back.

In the history of the Big 12, only one coach has been fired coming off a season in which he won 18 or more games -- Rick Barnes. He got the ax after winning 20 games and making the NCAA Tournament because he wasn’t living up to the standards he set early on his tenure. And even then, it was reported he was given the option to return if he made staff changes. Other than that, most Big 12 coaches have been fired for truly disastrous seasons.

So every win will help Weber’s case.

If he falls short of the NCAA Tournament, you can only trumpet two things: his conference championship in 2013 (the first in a generation for K-State) and this team’s young core (Barry Brown, Xavier Sneed, Kamau Stokes and Dean Wade could accomplish better things as they mature).

Other than that, I suppose you could use the Dana Altman argument. K-State fans ran him off after going 68-54 in four seasons, and that turned out to be a colossal mistake. Altman went on to win at Creighton and is now winning big at Oregon. K-State replaced him with Asbury and then Wooldridge and the basketball team slumped for the next 12 years.

Over the course of his career, Weber has proven he will make the NCAA Tournament a little more than half the time and average about 20 wins, with the occasional great and lousy teams sprinkled in. There is always a chance a coaching change would lead to worse results, too. Heck, Texas replaced Barnes with Shaka Smart and got worse. Didn’t see that coming.

I guess that’s the argument for him. But, again, he could use some wins down the stretch to make people consider it.

If K-State can get to 20 wins by the end of the Big 12 Tournament, no matter how it happens, odds are good Weber will return for another season. I have long viewed 20 to be the magic number for K-State’s NCAA Tournament hopes. No way the Wildcats miss the bracket with 20 wins and this soft bubble.

Weber has been to the NCAA Tournament twice in four years. Another trip would make it three in five. That’s not usually grounds for termination.

Without a win in the NCAA Tournament (he doesn’t have one yet) that won’t be enough to satisfy disgruntled fans. But it will probably be enough for him to satisfy his bosses.

There are fans that will never let him live it down, but I don’t get the sense he is in any real hot water with his K-State superiors because he hired Weber.

Let’s keep things in perspective here. Weber got it done in his first two years and is 31 games over .500 at 96-65 as K-State’s coach, despite the past three seasons. Fans want more, and I get that, but he isn’t the worst coach to stroll the sidelines at Bramlage Coliseum, as some try to make him out to be. K-State has been coached by 24 men, and Weber ranks fifth among them in victories.

Bob Huggins and Frank Martin were better. Asbury and Wooldridge were worse. He’s right in the middle of K-State’s recent hires, which is what I think drives people nuts.

If Weber gets fired in a few weeks, that will leave a permanent stain on Currie’s resume, but it won’t cost him his own job.

He says he thinks about it every single day, so I would hope he has a plan in place that he has confidence in.

How will it work out? No idea.

All you can really do is look at the coaches he has hired thus far.

Weber probably rates as an average hire. A lot of success early, not much success lately. Letting Brad Underwood go to Oklahoma State is what may compound things there.

Jeff Mittie rates as a great hire, at least in my eyes. He has the women’s program headed in the right direction.

I think Grant Robbins is doing a good job with the men’s golf team, though that’s a tougher sport to grade as geography puts K-State at a major disadvantage to warm-weather schools.

But none of those hires carry the same weight as football, so we’ll see. I totally understand the fear of a coaching change. The last time K-State tried to replace Bill Snyder it went with Ron Prince. Pressure will be on to get it right this time.

If K-State embarks on a coaching search (still an if, I remind you) I’m not sure there is a realistic hot board, whatever that is. Personally, I prefer a cold board. Less chance of catching on fire.

There are no obvious names like there were last year with Brad Underwood, and he wouldn’t be a realistic option this time around ($6 million buyout and he has a promising roster returning at OSU). Did anyone see Bruce Weber coming five years ago?

I don’t think it’s fair to anyone to speculate too much about a job that isn’t open. Steve Henson (UTSA), Tim Jankovich (SMU) and Mark Fox (Georgia) all have K-State ties and their names would be thrown around by fans. I assume Doug Gottlieb’s name would resurface, as well, for no good reason.

All I can really say is this: if Currie parts ways with Weber you can probably rule out retreads, as he will look to go in an opposite direction from Weber.

Ask this question again if Weber can’t turn things around and I will give you some better names.

Anything is possible, I suppose, but no probably not.

Shooting from a seated position was always one of my go-to shots in H-O-R-S-E, but now that I reflect on things I don’t remember shooting a very percentage on them. The only trick shot I could pull off with any regularity was the behind-the-backboard shot, where you throw the ball almost straight up and pray it falls through the hoop.

To get back to your question, though, I think I could nail a shot from a comfortable recliner if given three tries.

We in the media should try to obtain the recliner and have a competition after the Texas Tech game.

I probably should not admit this, but I love pineapple on my pizza. Absolutely love it. Let me build my own pizza and I am including pineapple every single time.

Hard to get much better as a runner, but I expect him to make big strides as a passer. Not only will he be a year older and have better knowledge of the system with Collin Klein coaching him, but his throwing shoulder will be back at 100 percent following offseason surgery. It will no longer be a surprise when he completes a deep pass.

Give me Elijah Walker at safety, for now. Answer may be different after the spring game.

I think so.

If the NCAA allows teams to add an extra assistant coach next season, my guess is K-State would once again go with a younger option. Young, energetic coaches tend to get the best recruiting results, and Collin Klein should boost K-State in that area. That he is a smart, accomplished former K-State quarterback who really knows his stuff made him the obvious choice. Few coaches fit that mold perfectly, but here’s guessing Snyder will continue looking for something similar when openings occur.

The Bat Cats are 4-1 with wins over Ohio State, Pittsburgh and South Carolina, so there is already optimism they will exceed expectations in the Big 12 (they were picked to finish eighth). If they can win some more games at their weekend tournament they will be in fantastic shape coming home for the start of games at Tointon.

Last week, I said it would surprise me if the team reached a regional, but if they can beat a top five team on the road then it’s certainly a possibility.

Wish I had a good answer for you.

This baffles me.

D.J. Johnson scored K-State’s first five points and was making life hard on Oklahoma State’s bigs the other night, but he didn’t get many touches the rest of the way. Weber said Thursday he wished they had gone more to Johnson. But he says that a lot. I’m not sure there is a good explanation, other than poor coaching/player execution.

Johnson is good in pick-and-roll situations, but his teammates seem unwilling to pass him the ball as he cuts to the basket. His sprained ankle might also have something to do with it. He twisted it awkwardly against Oklahoma State and was never really the same. Still, he should be a bigger factor.

I’m not sure what is going on there. Patrick had made 8 of 9 three-pointers in K-State’s three games leading up Oklahoma State, and then he sees one minute of action against the Cowboys.

Very puzzling.

Oklahoma State is a unique matchup in that you need someone to try and defend Jawun Evans and Jeffrey Carroll and Phil Forte. You can’t just concede points to them. At the same time, this team needs offensive weapons. And Patrick is one of them. I wouldn’t mind seeing him get 10 minutes a game.

K-State coach Bruce Weber talks about Monday's loss to Kansas. (Feb. 6, 2017)

KSU players and alums share memories, praise and gratitude for Coach Bill Snyder on the final game of the regular season, a 24-23 victory over West Virginia. (Dec. 7, 2015)

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett

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