Kansas State fans have some passionate thoughts about which former basketball players deserve to have their jerseys retired, and I have heard lots of them over the past 48 hours.
Since writing about the topic earlier this week and mentioning a few names (Jacob Pullen, Michael Beasley, Rodney McGruder, Steve Henson) who are candidates to next receive the honor, my inbox and Twitter mentions have both filled up.
It seems like everyone is in agreement on Pullen. His jersey belongs in the Bramlage Coliseum rafters.
But it gets murky with the other candidates, particularly Beasley. On one hand, he had one of the best (if not THE best) single seasons in school history, averaging 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds on his way to winning Big 12 Player of the Year and consensus All-America honors. Those accomplishments get you an automatic ceremony at some schools. On the other hand, he was only at K-State for one season. Some seem to think that should disqualify him from consideration.
For what it's worth, the responses I have received have been about 70/30 against Beasley.
My take: K-State should retire his jersey. Not only was he excellent with the Wildcats, he was a transformational player. His presence on the roster set up K-State for extended success. He lit the spark. Before he arrived in 2007, K-State had missed the NCAA Tournament in 11 straight seasons. Since then, K-State has made the NCAA Tournament eight times in 11 seasons, advancing to a pair of Elite Eights, and won a Big 12 championship.
You obviously can't credit Beasley for all of that, but does any of it happen without him?
The one-season thing doesn't bother me. I understand why it turns off some. But he was the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft after he left school. Should he be punished for being so good he could turn pro after one year? Texas retired Kevin Durant's jersey. Syracuse retired Carmelo Anthony's jersey. K-State should do the same with Beasley.
I also vote yes for McGruder and Henson. K-State should have already honored Henson. His stats can't be ignored and he played in four NCAA Tournaments. Give it a few years, and they should honor McGruder, too. His individual accomplishments don't compare to Pullen or Beasley, but he was on four really good teams and led the way to the first conference title since 1977.
And if K-State has another good year, it might not be long before Barry Brown and Dean Wade join the conversation.
With that, let's dive into your questions. Thanks, as always, for providing them.
KState needs an event similar to late night at the phog - and this is the perfect year to do it coming off a great Elite Eight run. How can you make this happen?— Ian Wright (@EE_iNNnn) June 28, 2018
This fall would honestly be the perfect time to re-start a Midnight Madness type basketball event. Fan excitement and expectations are both high with Brown and Wade returning as seniors. Host it at Bramlage Coliseum the night before a home football game and the Wildcats could have a good crowd.
Frank Martin went back and forth trying to do this. So has Bruce Weber. If my memory is correct, K-State hasn't had one since 2013.
Weber seemed to lose interest in it because he didn't view it as a recruiting tool. He's had success taking recruits to football games over the years, but maybe it's time to throw a Midnight Madness back into the mix. It all really comes down to recruiting. If Weber thinks it will help, the Wildcats will hold one. If not, they won't.
If you could assemble a basketball team spanning the Frank Martin and Bruce Weber era, what would be your 12 man roster along with your starting 5?— Ryan Humphrey (@theR_train) June 28, 2018
So basically, you're telling me I'm the general manager for Purple and Black and everyone I invite to the team will join the roster. That's a sweet gig!
My starting five:
Jacob Pullen, Rodney McGruder, Wesley Iwundu, Dean Wade and Micheal Beasley.
It's tempting to swap Iwundu for a true point guard like Angel Rodriguez or Denis Clemente or even Barry Brown, but I like this lineup better. Pullen, McGruder and Iwundu can all handle the ball. These five give you so much size, versatility and scoring potential.
Denis Clemente, Barry Brown, Xavier Sneed, Jamar Samuels, Curtis Kelly, Bill Walker and Will Spradling.
Tough calls on the final two slots. Walker was just so talented and I like his size. Most of you will disagree with Spradling, but before you laugh your head off remember that even the Dream Team had Christian Laettner instead of Shaq. Spradling is the best glue guy I've been around. He won't complain about being the 12th man. And he's the go-to guy if you need someone to break Joel Embiid's ankles.
Hopefully, I can keep Shane Southwell on as coach and bring on Mason Schoen as an assistant.
Losing in state talent is very frustrating. How can K-State improve in that area? I realize we will never be able to win all the recruiting battles but Losing Will Honas to the bugeaters stung.— Bruce Bolen (@bruce56BB) June 28, 2018
Not sure I have the answer to that one.
K-State has done a decent job winning recruiting battles for several in-state players recently. Heck, they've gone into Lawrence and pulled out three players in the past few years. The problem seems to be with the high-end recruits who get offers from out-of-state powerhouse programs.
But watching Iowa State swoop in and land Northwest running back Breece Hall had to be unsettling.
I suppose the Wildcats could target those players earlier, but they're already first on a lot of prospects. It's not like Ohio State is offering any Hutchinson players before K-State. The key is probably selling in-state recruits on the value of staying home and making them look up to K-State as their dream school, even over Michigan or Alabama or Nebraska.
Recruit better, recruit harder, win more. Everything factors into those sort of things.
Could anyone on K-State's basketball team beat Tejaswin Shankar in a slam dunk contest?— Ahearn Alley (@AhearnAlley) June 28, 2018
I imagine all of them can.
Yes, Tejaswin Shankar won the national title in the high jump, but there's a difference between leaping over a pole back first and throwing down a windmill dunk.
Shankar would win a high-jump contest. But I don't see him putting up any perfect 10s in a slam-dunk contest.
By the way, give me Xavier Sneed in a K-State dunk contest.
What are the top 3 sandwiches in Manhattan? Bonus points for not delving into hot dog/taco/other alternate categorization because honestly that would be silly.— davegladow (@davegladow) June 28, 2018
1. The Bird at So Long Saloon. This place is famous for burgers, but it also makes an excellent chicken sandwich.
2. Mac 'N Cheese Grilled Cheese at the Varsity Truck. If you're hungry for late-night food in Aggieville this is definitely the best option. Remember to add bacon! John Kurtz, the esteemed voice of KMAN radio, said I wasn't an official Manhattanite until I ate one. And he was probably right.
3. Shrimp BBQ Po Boy at Coco Bolo's. Pretty sure this was the first sandwich I ate after moving to Manhattan nine years ago. It was great then and it is great now. Need to eat another one soon.
What is your preferred median of caffeine consumption in the summer? Does it differ from season to season?— scottwildcat (@scottwildcat) June 28, 2018
Iced tea and Dr Pepper are my only real sources of caffeine. I drink both year round, though I'm always trying to cut back on soda.
I don't like coffee. Never have. Never will.
Next thing you will have to do is compare big 12 stadiums/college towns to different maps in the game. That could be fun!— Alex (@ACB91) June 22, 2018
People seemed to like the Super Smash Bros. comparisons last week. Might as well do them again.
Saffron City = TCU/Fort Worth. You can definitely feel cramped in the Metroplex.
Sector Z = Texas Tech/Lubbock. One of my favorite things to do on this level was run to the far side of the ship and make the camera zoom out as far as possible until all the characters looked like ants. Really annoyed my friends! That view is similar to what you get in the press box in Lubbock.
Hyrule Castle = Texas/Austin. The best level in the game deserves to be compared to the best city and stadium in the Big 12.
Congo Jungle = Baylor/Waco. Football stadium is right next to the Brazos River. Tourists fight to visit the Silo's. Seems kind of like a jungle.
Planet Zebes = Kansas State/Manhattan. If you're not careful, the lava will rise up and get you the same way the crowds at Bill Snyder Family Stadium have hurt opposing teams over the years.
Mushroom Kingdom = Oklahoma/Norman. Tough place to play in the game and in real life.
Yoshi's Island = Iowa State/Ames. Might as well stick with the Yoshi theme.
Dream Land = West Virginia/Morgantown. They serve beer in the stadium (good dream) and burn couches after big wins (nightmare).
Peach's Castle = Oklahoma State/Stillwater. Naming rights! Kind of reminds me of Boone Pickens Stadium.
Tutorial Stage = Kansas/Lawrence. Great town, but the football team is still learning how to play the game.