When Dean Wade took an official visit to Kansas State earlier this fall, players told Bruce Weber to skip the campus tour that is standard for most recruits.
The St. John forward had already seen everything there was to see and was on a first-name basis with most the people there were to meet.
“All of western Kansas knows him,” Weber said. “… He has been around a lot, so people know him. They can identify with him.”
That makes Wade, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound big man with a smooth jump shot, the most recognizable high school senior to sign with K-State on Wednesday. Though Weber is also high on St. Petersburg, Fla., guard Barry Brown and Arlington, Texas, center Dante Williams, it was the addition of Wade that brought the biggest smile to Weber’s face when asked about the three-man recruiting class.
As the nation’s 108th-ranked prospect according to Rivals, Wade will be expected to contribute early at the “stretch forward” position in Weber’s motion offense.
More than that, though, he is the first in-state player Weber has signed since taking over in 2012. Wade will bring a love for the program that no out-of-state recruit can match. He has put up big numbers while leading to St. John to a pair of 2A state championships and his father played receiver for the Wildcats in 1985.
“You have a young man who really wants to be here and has a good attitude about it,” Weber said. “He’s a K-State fan and has been probably since birth. When you get kids like that … (Football) Coach (Bill) Snyder has done it with quite a few guys. They seem to overachieve.”
Brown will help Wade on the perimeter next season. A 6-foot-2, 180-pounder, he impressed Weber during the recruiting process by playing both guard positions and embracing different roles when he made the switch from high school competition to AAU games. He was the leading scorer on his high school team, and the sixth man for his AAU squad.
His intensity was strong in both situations.
“The best thing about him is his versatility,” Weber said. “He defends both ends of the court and really takes pride on the defensive end.”
Williams will help solidify K-State’s front court. Weber compared the 6-foot-10, 215-pounder to former K-State center Jordan Henriquez, calling him a shot-blocker. Once he adds muscle, Weber sees a complete player.
“He has good hands and a nice touch,” Weber said.
Weber traveled coast to coast in search of the trio, but he’s glad one of them is home grown.
“We are everywhere, you have to be,” Weber said. “ That is one of the positives about Dean, a guy that has won two state championships and is a leading candidate for Mr. Basketball. To get somebody from Kansas is a positive.”