The only two returners to K-State’s roster helped on the recruiting trail

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 11:43 PM CDT
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GREENSBORO, NC. (WIBW) - When Jerome Tang first took over the Kansas State men’s basketball program, he had only two returning players, Markquis Nowell and Ismael Massoud.

Flash forward to March 2023, K-State finished 3rd in the Big 12, and is a 3-seed in March Madness. Coach Tang has said all season that he wouldn’t have the roster he has without the recruiting help from Massoud and Nowell.

“I got some no’s and I got some yes’s,” Nowell said when 13 Sports asked him what it was like reaching out to players in the transfer portal. “But it’s just part of the process that I just trusted in and enjoyed.”

“It was a new experience because just a year ago before that me and ‘Quis were the ones that were new to K-State and Manhattan,” Massoud said. “For us to be put in that position, it was a great experience because the coaching staff looked at us to kinda help them around as well.”

They both said it was important to them to build a roster that was going to feel like a family.

“At the end of the day players gotta play with players. Coaches can’t play with players. so I just did anything possible to get teammates here, good quality teammates,” Nowell said.

They’re ecstatic to be at this position after all their hard work.

“We imagined it, we hoped it, we prayed for it. But you never know what’s gonna happen until everything happens,” Massoud said. “So me and ‘Quis are just trying to soak in every second of it. We worked for it, we deserve this, and now let’s just make the most out of it.”

Both of them being New York natives helped them connect with some of the newcomers like Nae’Qwan Tomlin and Tykei Greene.

“When all the coaches was like recruiting me and stuff like that, Ish and Markquis those were the two guys, they were the only two guys, but they hit me up and were like ‘Hey man like you should come here’ and I was like ‘Yeah I’m thinking about it.’ Both of those guys being from Harlem is like family,” said Tomlin.

“It made it more comfortable for me when I first got here just knowing they’re from New York,” said Greene. “Just having them around me just makes it feel like home. Because I’m big on family so having my brothers like those just means a lot to me.”

Now as two of the team’s most vocal leaders, Ish and Markquis are ready to lead them into the NCAA Tournament.

Tipoff with Montana State is set for 8:40 on WIBW/CBS.