Kansas State University

Observations, highlights and notes from Kansas State’s open basketball scrimmage

The Kansas State basketball team held an open scrimmage on Saturday morning at Bramlage Coliseum.

Here are some observations from the open practice before the Wildcats play their first exhibition game against Emporia State at 8 p.m. on Friday.

Xavier Sneed shows killer instinct

It was easy to tell who Kansas State’s best player was in this public setting. Not surprisingly, it was Xavier Sneed.

The senior wing was the Wildcats’ second-leading scorer with 15 points and delivered some of the most important baskets of the scrimmage, which was broken down into four six-minute mini games.

He opened the scrimmage with a jumper and went on to throw down a dunk, toss a perfect pass to Montavious Murphy for an alley-oop slam and hit game-winning shot.

With the score tied and time winding down at the end of the second portion of the scrimmage, Sneed hit a three-pointer from the wing to give his team a 17-14 victory. He held his shooting form afterward to celebrate.

Cartier Diarra led all K-State players with 19 points. He formed a nice one-two scoring punch with Sneed.

DaJuan Gordon looks good on both ends

Freshman guard DaJuan Gordon showed off his offensive skills by making 5 of 8 outside shots on his way to 15 points, but he was arguably more impressive as a defender.

Gordon continually made life difficult for every ball-handler he guarded and even contested some shots in the paint. At one point, Makol Mawien made a move to the basket after catching a pass on the baseline and Gordon swiped the ball away for a steal.

Growing pains for David Sloan, Shaun Williams

David Sloan and Shaun Williams both had their moments in front of fans on Saturday.

Williams hit some three-pointers and drove the length of the court for a contested layup early in the scrimmage. It looks like the sophomore from St. Louis might be ready for a bigger role at point guard this season. But it might also be a while before Weber trusts him in a meaningful, late-game situation. Coaches barked at him for hoisting an ill-advised three with 12 seconds remaining in one the games while his team trailed by two.

Sloan also made some nice shots for K-State but had a moment he probably would like to have back. During on sequence, his teammates found him open under the basket for an easy layup but he tried to make a pass to the perimeter. The pass was stolen and converted into points on the other end.

Sloan finished with 15 points, six assists and three turnovers.

Williams had 10 points, three assists and two turnovers.

Weber said he was most pleased with K-State’s assists-to-turnover ratio on Saturday. The Wildcats dished out 27 assists compared to 17 turnovers. Weber said K-State has turned the ball over at an alarming rate during recent practices.

Montavious Murphy shows promise

The second best freshman on the court was probably forward Montavious Murphy.

The Houston native had seven points and five rebounds. He scored on a pair of dunks and played solid defense. Weber said he was also pleased with Antonio Gordon, who finished with two points and four rebounds. Weber said he has been turning heads in practice.

Better effort?

Weber threatened to cancel the scrimmage when his players displayed lackadaisical effort leading up to opening tip.

He later told individual players they might get benched if they didn’t start playing harder.

Those complaints can probably be defined as preseason coach speak. Though the Wildcats could always play harder, Weber said effort has not been in an issue in practice.

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Kellis Robinett covers Kansas State athletics for The Wichita Eagle and The Kansas City Star. A winner of more than a dozen national writing awards, he lives in Manhattan with his wife and three children.