Kansas State University

How K-State coach Bruce Weber recruited one of the nation’s top-rated basketball classes

Log on to your favorite recruiting website and check out its team basketball rankings for 2020.

It won’t take you long to find Kansas State.

The Wildcats currently boast the nation’s 11th-rated recruiting class at 247Sports and the nation’s 12th-best group at Rivals. Bruce Weber lined up commitments from four prized prospects, which makes this group the finest on-paper recruiting class of his eight-year tenure at K-State and one of the best in school history.

“I am very excited,” said 7-foot St. Louis center Davion Bradford after he committed to K-State on Friday. “The pieces we have coming in are all really good, and the pieces that are already there are really good, too. We are going to have great success. I feel really good about the future of Kansas State basketball.”

So do many others. This is the first time the Wildcats have ever assembled a group of four recruits that are all members of the Rivals top 150. Weber and his coaching staff won legitimate recruiting battles for Nijel Pack, Selton Miguel, Luke Kasubke and Davion Bradford.

They could do something special together.

“We had some guys we knew we wanted and we focused on those guys,” Weber said in a phone interview. “Our coaches did a great job with them, and our players did a good job helping out when the kids came to campus. You feel good, obviously, but until they get here and prove it that really doesn’t mean a whole lot. But, on paper, it is a good class and it really fits all our needs.”

K-State will lose three seniors after the conclusion of the upcoming season, and Weber thinks the four recruits he has coming in will be ready to replace Xavier Sneed, Makol Mawien and Pierson McAtee.

There is certainly much to like about K-State’s 2020 recruiting class.

Pack is a four-star point guard from Indianapolis who committed to K-State over the summer and urged the others to follow in his footsteps. Miguel is a four-star wing from Orlando who chose the Wildcats over Iowa State and Texas A&M. Kasubke is a versatile wing from St. Louis with good upside. And Bradford could have gone just about anywhere as one of the best pure centers of this recruiting cycle.

The group lacks a blue-chip prospect like the five-star recruits you find at Duke and Kentucky, and it is likely to drop in the national rankings as more teams fill out their classes.

Still, it features more depth and versatility than any group K-State has recruited since at least 2009 when the Wildcats landed Wally Judge, Rodney McGruder, Jordan Henriquez, Nick Russell and Martavious Irving.

Combined with K-State’s strong recruiting efforts in 2019, which brought four-star guard DaJuan Gordon and three other promising newcomers to campus, Bruce Weber seems to be hitting his stride when it comes to recruiting in Manhattan.

What’s his secret?

“I have to give credit to our coaches,” Weber said. “They have done a great job of getting out and creating positive relationships. We have always felt like if we could get kids to campus we have a chance. We have great facilities and a great basketball family. It’s not always easy to get the kids to come to campus, but we have been able to focus on the right guys and get them here and we have had success.”

K-State’s recent victories on the basketball court, which include a run to the Elite Eight in 2018 and a shared Big 12 championship last season, have also helped. More players are suddenly considering K-State.

“We have gotten some nice exposure,” Weber said. “I wouldn’t say we are a household name, but I think we have some respect now.”

Weber is careful to boast too much about K-State’s recent good fortune, because it hasn’t worked with every recruit. He said he tried to win over a promising player from Kansas City a few weeks ago by asking him which team won the Big 12 last season. The recruit responded with three guesses, and none of them were the Wildcats.

“We obviously weren’t a household name with him,” Weber said.

Still, there’s no doubt K-State is trending in the right direction. The team’s recent success helped Weber line up steady recruiting visits during the first few weeks of football season and then land commitments from four priority recruits before the arrival of early signing day.

Weber can now start focusing on future recruiting classes. He can’t recall the last time he was able to do that in October.

K-State’s 2020 recruiting class is already making an impact.

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