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TODAY'S SPORTS EXTRA

K-State MBB Alums Weigh In on 2017-18 Wildcats After Reunion Weekend

November 14, 2017
By Corbin McGuire


Schyler Thomas looked at K-State sophomore Xavier Sneed’s build and saw Cartier Martin. Then, in K-State’s 83-45 win over American on Friday, Thomas watched Sneed fill the stat sheet like former Wildcat Wesley Iwundu did last year.

“His ceiling is so high and I think he could be a really, really good player,” Thomas, one of nearly 50 men’s basketball alums back in Manhattan last weekend for the program’s reunion, said of Sneed, who recorded eight points, five rebounds, four steals, three assists and one block against American. “I’m excited to see his growth, and you’ve already seen a huge leap from his freshman to sophomore year.”

Thomas (2002-06) also watched a K-State team, which hosts UMKC on Tuesday at 7 p.m., with enough pieces, he believes, to contend near the top of the Big 12 this season.

“I think the sky’s the limit. There are some really good pieces that they have in place. It’s just a matter of putting it together,” he said. “The non-conference is that time to put it together so by the time Big 12 rolls around, hopefully we’ll be clicking on all cylinders.”

Luis Colon (2006-10) watched 6-foot-10 junior Dean Wade bury three treys against the Eagles and could not help to be a “little bit” reminded of his former teammate, 6-foot-10 Darren Kent. Then Wade finished with 17 points on 6-of-7 from the field, so the comparison stopped at their height and style of play.

Colon also applauded how in sync the Wildcats looked in their season opener, evidenced by their 22 assists on 29 made field goals.

“They looked like they know the system very well,” he said, adding that the development of the Wildcat forwards would be key for their season. “I’m excited. Hopefully we get into the (NCAA) Tournament again.”

Bob Chipman (1971-73) took in a K-State team he knows well. Many of the current Wildcats have helped work his youth camps over the years, including junior transfer Amaad Wainright this summer.

“I know these guys and they’re great kids,” said Chipman, in his first season out of coaching after 38 seasons at Washburn. “It’s enabled me to reconnect here with K-State, a school I really love. Bruce has been great, let’s me hang around a little bit, watch some practices. It’s just been a lot of fun.”
 

 

A week earlier in K-State’s exhibition against Emporia State, Chipman brought his basketball knowledge and passion for the Wildcats to the radio as he served as the color analyst for K-State’s broadcast.

“I don’t think Dick Vitale’s in trouble,” Chipman said, with a laugh. “But it was so much fun because I got to share some of my thoughts about Bruce’s coaching. He’s one of the great coaches in college basketball.”

Specifically, Chipman praised to Weber’s ability to teach defense. It certainly showed against American, which scored 19 first-half points and shot 30 percent for the game.

“Bruce is one of the few coaches left in college basketball that’s still a great teacher, that’s still trying to defend,” Chipman said. “He does an unbelievable job teaching man defense and he does it the right way.”

Like Chipman, Thomas also stepped into a broadcast role for the Wildcats’ exhibition against Emporia State. The former Wildcat, based in the Kansas City area, served as the analyst for the FOX Sports Kansas City broadcast. He described the experience as a “dream come true” and a “bucket list item.”

“It was unreal,” said Thomas, who had some previous experience on the radio. “It was a great experience. I may never get to do it again, and I’ll totally be satisfied with that, but I also got a little taste of it and I hope to do it a little more often.”

On top of the chance to reconnect with the program, last weekend’s reunion allowed the Wildcat alums to catch up with each other and make new connections with players from different generations. This included players who played anywhere from 1948, when “Mr. K-State” Ernie Barrett started his standout career, to last season.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with all the K-Staters that went to school during my time and also all the K-Staters who have been around the program for many, many years,” said Rolando Blackman (1977-81), third on K-State’s all-time scoring list. “All of us get a chance to come together.”

“It’s unbelievable. Being at Washburn all of these years, this weekend always conflicted with my schedule, so I haven’t seen a lot of these guys for a lot of years,” Chipman added. “It’s so fantastic, especially for the guys who played for Coach (Jack) Hartman. We have a lot in common. Whenever you can play for Coach (Hartman), it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

As Thomas put it: “Once you leave Manhattan, once you leave the program, you go on with your life but you never quite leave it.”

 

 

We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Corbin McGuire, or K-State Associate AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.

   

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