K-State men's hoops relying on experience to further last year's success

By  | 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Kansas State men's basketball team established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the Big XII after a 25-win season that saw them journey into the Elite 8 last year.

But this year, they wield something more dangerous than many of the college basketball teams in the nation: experience.

"Instead of trying to get some guys experience, we've had experience," said Bruce Weber, Wildcats head coach. "Now, it's going to be a challenge every game.

"I said a year ago, getting in the NCAA Tournament and winning one game was a great motivator. And I really believe that's another step that we took."

The Wildcats return All Conference players Dean Wade and Barry Brown, as well as the entirety of last year's starting lineup and most of last year's playing rotation.

On top of that, K-State leads all other collegiate rosters in the nation in Division I points with 4,650.

"When I was a freshman, KU had Perry Ellis, George Niang at Iowa State, all those old guys you look up to and you're like, 'Wow man, those are good players,'" said senior forward Dean Wade "Hopefully we can bring that to the table this year."

Wade said he also hopes to have a more successful conference season than last year, and to "fight for the top spot in the Big XII."

"Having already gone through things definitely gives us a little bit of an advantage," said senior guard Barry Brown. "Just knowing the things we have to do to come out successful, knowing the things we can't do to be successful (and) being able to be those leaders to guide our team in the direction we want to be."

The Wildcats play only one exhibition game before the start of their season, but to Weber, exhibition games aren't quite as important when a team is returning most of its players from an Elite 8 venture.