K-State Basketball Team Meets The Press

By: K-State Sports Information (posted by J.B. Bauersfeld)
By: K-State Sports Information (posted by J.B. Bauersfeld)
Bruce Weber and players talked to reporters on Thursday.

Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber calls out a play during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against TCU, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in Fort Worth, Texas. Kansas State won 67-54. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

ADAM SUDERMAN, Associated Press

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) _ An earlier start to practice sounded just fine to Kansas State coach Bruce Weber.

The Wildcats, who won a share of the Big 12 title last season, have to replace their top two scorers in graduated senior Rodney McGruder and point guard Angel Rodriguez, who transferred this past offseason to Miami. So it's safe to say that Weber will take every minute he can get.

In the past, practice began roughly four weeks before the season. Now, men's basketball teams get to conduct 30 days of practice in the six weeks prior to their first regular-season game.

Weber hopes he's able to ease the duration of the practice schedule prior to the season in order to keep his players fresh.

Transcript from today’s media session to preview the start of men’s basketball practice at Kansas State.

September 26, 2013

Head Coach Bruce Weber
On getting underway so soon…
“Obviously they changed the rule. Women’s basketball has had it, I believe, the last two years. It is something that I have been part of fighting for us to have for many years. We went from two hours of basketball to 20 hours of basketball in a week over night. The injuries, the fatigue, the bad play early in the season – we just kept asking, ‘Why can we not do something different?’ And I am not sure who came up with the idea, but it’s great to finally be able to have it. I like it. I think it is a question mark – it is like anything. Change is hard and new. Everywhere I went this summer that was the first thing coaches asked, ‘What are you going to do? How are you going to handle it?’ I am not sure there is a right or wrong, but the whole point is to ease the guys into it and not kill them or go twice a day for two weeks and try to play an exhibition game, then the third week try to play a game like we did last year. My goal is to go a couple days then a day off or three days then a day off. You have to give them 12 days off before the start of it, and if we have a little stretch where we get some injuries or something, I will give them two days off in a row. We just have to be a little flexible and see what happens, but I am excited for it and I do not think there could be, for us, a better timing of it. I looked at it and I think we have seven extra days of practice than we did a year ago, so with a young team with half our team being new people, we can use all the days we can get especially with the tough schedule early. For us, I hope it ends up being a benefit, obviously I think it depends on how we use it and how the guys adjust to it.”

On Shane Southwell’s role this season…
“Last year, we never went to him, per say – well, I should not say that because at the end of the year we had a couple little actions where we knew we could use him if they had big guys on him, we could run him off some screens and do some things that we had not done earlier in the season until he gotten more and more confidence. We have been watching how we can use him, little looks and different things, reviewing our actions from last year, our motion concepts. He can score and if he can shoot 42 percent from three again we have to go to him and make sure he gets shots. We have to get Will (Spradling) some shots. Early it is going to be a little tough for Will because he is going to have to be the point guard. We are going to use Nigel (Johnson) a little bit and then when Jevon (Thomas) becomes eligible, it will change a little bit. I know this summer Will played point guard overseas and I got calls from the coaches saying how valuable he was and how great he was, but he only had four or five shots every game. They won all of their games and the other team that played the same teams did not win all of their games. I have said it many times how valuable Will is, but as it goes on we have to find him ways to get some shots also.”

On a specific newcomer showing major progression thus far…
“Marcus Foster is good. He is strong, he is solid, works very hard and is very consistent. We were very fortunate to get him. He was the 3A player of the year in Texas, an MVP of one of their all-star games and the leading scorer in, I think, both of their all-star games he played in. And you know there are some players down there, some good players going all over the country. Wesley (Iwundu) is kind of a hidden gem. He grew late. Coach (Alvin) Brooks is from Houston and his dad said we might want to check this guy out because he just grew five inches. He played with the Harrison twins in summer basketball, so he did not always get a lot of looks, but he is very athletic and can do a lot of things. Nigel (Johnson) is a little tougher than I had thought. We still do not know if he is a point guard, a two or combo. He can make some shots. And then Jevon (Thomas), we cannot really be around him, but he is good. There is no doubt. With his situation, probably not being eligible until the holidays, it is going to be a little tougher with him to blend in. And Jack (Karapetyan), he really has not played since he got here. He broke his foot in the summer and had it operated on. We are just kind of waiting and I know he is very anxious to get going. I know we are way more athletic. Those guys are way more athletic. We are a lot quicker than we were, we definitely replaced that. We did not replace [Jordan Henriquez’s] height and length and that is one thing we are a little bit leery about, there is no doubt. But for the other two newcomers (Brandon Bolden and Justin Edwards), obviously there are going to be valuable members of practice, but they need to have a good year, so they are ready a year from now. Justin is super athletic as far as jumping ability, it is just amazing. Brandon is long and maybe would give you a little bit of what Jordan did – he is long and athletic, runs and blocks some shots. He’s just got to put some weight on, there is no doubt about that.”

On the importance of Nino Williams and Omari Lawrence this season…
“I have said this to other people before, but they are probably the ‘X-factors’ – Omari (Lawrence) and Nino (Williams). Omari has not played a lot. He has had a couple of good games, one against Texas here last year and a couple moments where he helped us. But now it is up to him, he is a senior. Go beat the freshman out. Do not even make it a choice for us, but he has got to do it. He has to earn it. It just is not given to you. Nino has lost some weight. We need him to play smarter, have a little better motor, and be that undersized mismatch guy. Nino has taken the challenge and we have been on him pretty hard. Obviously the end of the season was not real stellar for him, but those two guys can be difference makers for us. I think Shane was your ‘X-factor’ last year all of a sudden and now if we can have those two guys do that, it would be helpful.”

On Marcus Foster’s potential…
“Well, he is a quiet kid, a lot like [Rodney McGruder]. He has a lot of similarities to Rodney. He can really score, he loves to score and score in a lot of ways. He shoots it better than we thought. He has a good body and he is pretty athletic. But we did not know, and that is the question mark when you talk about learning the game and concepts, things they never even thought about in high school. They did not have to. They just went and beat somebody and dunked on them. That was what their concept was. Now, [Marcus] has picked up some ball screen action and some different things like that. He has been pretty good and he is taking the challenge of being a good defender. He has the physical ability, the physicality to do it. He is good. I would be surprised if he is not on the court quite a few minutes, but if he is not then I will be honest, we are probably in some trouble because he is the one that can give us some scoring that maybe the other guys could not.”

Senior Will Spradling

On being a leader…

“I like the leadership role. Obviously, we had 3 seniors last year that did a great leadership job. This year, Shane and Omar have really stepped up and taken a big leadership role. Thomas has stepped in too, he is kind of more of our vocal leader; the three seniors last season were pretty quiet.”

On his role as the team’s point guard…

“Yeah, I mean I played point guard early on in college and I am used to the position. It should not be a big difference from the past, so I will be alright.”

On working on his point guard skills this summer…

“Yeah, the biggest thing that I did overseas was play all point guard over there and that helped out a lot and kind of got me ready for the season.”

On getting shots while playing the point…

“With the motion offense, you can get off of the ball and still get in the shooting guard position. The motion offense opens up for everybody, so I will be fine.”

On his comfort level with the motion offense…

“By the end of the season, we were really flowing well and we looked good in it. The biggest thing now is getting the younger guys into the offense and flowing with it also.”

On who is going to step up…

“We have a lot of weapons. We have Thomas inside, we have Shane at the 3 and 4 spots, and they will look to me to score a bunch. We can also look at some of our younger guys to step up a lot.”

On the freshmen…

“They are all looking great, and they are all going to have to play a lot to. I mean, we are not very deep right now. And they will get a lot of playing time.”

On Marcus Foster…

“He is tough, he has got a good feel to the motion offense; he has kind of fit in pretty well. He should fit right in to the offense.”

On this being the most athletic K-State he has been a part of…

“By far, we have not had athletes like this since I have been here. My freshman year, we had some good athletes, but not like this.”

On surprising some teams…

“Yeah, I mean that is normally what we do. We are usually picked in the bottom half of the Big 12 and we normally come out and earn respect by the end of the year. That is something we will just have to do again this year.”

On the role of the upperclassmen…

“We just really have to keep the team together especially when times get hard. I mean, the freshmen have not been through college, or a college season like this. When times get hard, you tend to break away and tend to kind of do you own thing. We have got to make sure to keep everyone together.”

Senior Shane Southwell

On the excitement for the start of the season…

“I’m very excited, I do not know anyone who would not be excited. We have a big chance to prove ourselves; people are doubting us.”

On the extra practice time…

“It is extremely big. We have Will coming back to play point guard, so that is big for him to get used to it. And also a good chance for the new guys to get used to more game situations. Hopefully, it can get them more accustomed, unlike last year when you only had two weeks to practice (before the first exhibition game). It should be a positive for us.”

On his role this season…

“It is obvious that I will be more relied on to score. I think I am ready for that. I could have been a lot more aggressive last year, but the team’s success did not really allow me to be that person. I know that they are going to look at me to score more and I am okay with that.”

Junior Thomas Gipson

On his weight loss…

“I am light on my feet, I jump quicker, I am jumping higher. I am not as winded as I used to be running up and down the court. I feel lighter and a lot better about myself, and it is just boosting my confidence.”

On starting the season…

“I am really excited. I am ready to practice and everyone else is ready to practice. We are all on the same page for everything. We have totally new different players, and a different team, so we are ready to see how we are going to come together.”

On the chemistry with this team…

“It is always a work in progress, we can always get better. Right now, we are pretty good; everybody has a good understanding of everybody else. We are going to come together as a team as soon as practice rolls around.”

On the new players…

“I like all the freshmen, but I think Marcus Foster has stood out the most to me. He is really good, I mean I am not comparing him to Kobe (Bryant) but his style of playing is similar to him. He is electrifying, they are all good I am not trying to knock any of the other freshmen, I like them all. I do not have a problem with any of them, they are all good. They have all made great strides so far.”

On being a leader…

“It is a lot of pressure; I was just talking to my coaches about that. They just keep telling me to try and be a leader and stay on the right path and do the right thing. I have always been a leader, in high school I was a leader. Last year, Rodney (McGruder) was a leader; he has always been a leader. I think it is about time that I do step in and try to be a leader for this team.”

On having more stamina with the weight loss…

“Yes, it is always better with more stamina with basketball, but I mean I will always have my strength and my size that never went away.”

On feeling pressure with the graduation of Jordan Henriquez…

“Yes, it does. J.O was a great key to our team, he was long. We are undersized but, we are all just going to have to play hard and we will be fine.”

On the team’s athleticism…

“Everybody can dunk, everybody is quick, and everybody is fast. I think this is the most athletic team I have had been a part of since high school. It is really fun, you do not know who is going to get dunked on, and you do not know who is going to dunk. But when it happens, it happens and it is really cool.”

On the team’s best dunker…

“Justin Edwards, he is not playing this year but I mean you will probably see him at practices. It is pretty crazy. He probably has a 45 inch vertical, so he can do whatever he wants.”

On the importance of the two transfers…

“They are really important. I mean they have an entire year to watch and learn to see what they need to do and not to do before they actually even play. So they can use that to their advantage and we can be really good next year if they focus and pay attention to the little things that we need them to do.”

On D.J. Johnson…

“He always plays hard. I think he improved most with touch around the rim. The fact that he always plays hard is going to be good for him. Getting touches around the rim is going to be really good for him.”

On the biggest challenges…

“The biggest challenge would probably be staying together. I mean, we are always going to be together, but just always staying focused and not worrying about the little things on the outside. No matter what we are picked, we are always going to come out and play hard. I do not think there is a big major focus on what we need to do. As long as we are together and we are doing the right things on the court and off of the court we will be fine.”

On the upperclassmen leading this team…

“It is really important because we have to show the freshman the ropes, how to overcome adversity, and show them how to do things right on the court and off of the court. I think that all three of us are really good leaders, so I think we will be good at that.”


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email: feedback@wibw.com
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 225430232 - wibw.com/a?a=225430232
Gray Television, Inc.