K-State coach Bruce Weber talks Barry Brown, NBA Draft potential
Shortly after Barry Brown finished a workout with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, Kansas State basketball coach Bruce Weber called to see how things went.
A giddy Brown responded with a story about meeting Magic Johnson.
"That is a pretty important guy," Weber said Tuesday at a Catbackers event in Wichita. "He took some time to talk with Barry, and any advice or feedback coming from him is great."
That experience highlighted a busy few months for Brown. Ever since he declared for the NBA Draft as an early entrant he has been talking with scouts from various teams and testing the professional waters.
Coming off a strong junior season in which he averaged 15.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists while helping the Wildcats win 25 games and reach the Elite Eight, he received enough interest to land workouts with the Brooklyn Nets and the Lakers.
But Brown hasn't hired an agent, which will allow him to return to Manhattan for his final season of college basketball if he removes his name from the draft process by May 30.
For now, that remains the plan.
"We haven't had any feedback that he would be drafted," Weber said, "so I would think he will be back. But it's been good for him. A guy from the Nets called and told me he outplayed some of the other guys who were there.
"It's just a really tough thing to get drafted, even in the second round. People don't realize how tough it is. This experience just made him realize he has to get better. He has got such a toughness to him and such a drive that he will work at it harder than anybody and that won't be a problem."
Brown has flashed his defensive skills and ability to get to the rim in NBA workouts. Weber thinks he can become a more complete player next season by improving his outside shot. Brown made 31.8 percent of his three-pointers last year.
He has not appeared on any mock drafts as a potential pick, but nbadraft.net projects him as a second-round selection (the 42nd overall pick) in the 2019 NBA Draft.
This experience could help Brown next season, and beyond.
"I am happy for him to get the experience," Weber said. "He went into it with the right mindset. He just wanted to get a couple workouts. Now, next year, it is going to allow him to be prepared for the workouts and what they do. He got some good feedback."
K-State basketball coaches remain on the lookout for a traditional transfer and hope to add one to the roster in June, Weber said.
With the Wildcats expected to return their entire starting lineup and the bulk of their rotation, Weber wants to use the team's lone available scholarship on a recruit who can practice throughout next season and then hit the ground running in 2019 when Dean Wade, Kamau Stokes and Brown graduate.
It seemed like K-State missed out on that possibility when key transfer targets Mark Smith (Missouri), Matthew Moyer (Vanderbilt), Parker Stewart (Tennessee-Martin) and Anthony Tarke (UTEP) landed elsewhere.
But Weber has renewed hope.
"I thought it was kind of done," Weber said. "We had worked on four or five guys and nothing really ended up good for us. I thought it was over, but over the last few days there are a few more on the free agent market."
One name to monitor: Towson guard Zane Martin. He averaged 19.8 points last season and is now looking to transfer. K-State has reportedly reached out to him along with Texas Tech, Auburn, Maryland, Louisville, Cincinnati and Gonzaga.
While speaking to a crowd of K-State fans, Weber was asked if he preferred a specific preseason ranking heading into next year.
Top 10? Top 20? Off the board?
Before he could answer, he was reminded the Wildcats were picked to finish eighth in the Big 12 preseason poll last year and made it to the Elite Eight. That led to a memorable answer.
"Hopefully," Weber said, "they pick us fourth and we make the Final Four."
Dean Wade should be back on the basketball court in June.
Weber said K-State coaches have been "overly cautious" with the star forward this spring as he recovers from a foot injury that limited him to eight minutes in the NCAA Tournament. But he is currently lifting weights and almost ready to participate in practices.