That was a weird team to figure. I think I wrote that in the in-game notes, and I was talking to my father about that late last night. Man, he and my mother have gotten into this team. They have tickets to the March 1 throwdown in Lawrence, so that should be fun. If anyone is there and wants to meet up, let me know.
Anyway, here’s what I liked: Mike, of course; Jake’s aggressiveness early (Mike said it helps so much with the early double-teams he faces); Bill’s athleticism (he had his hops yesterday – in some games, it looks as if he doesn’t); the inspired play of the backup bigs (Colon and Ron Anderson); Fred Brown’s three-point stroke (which will be needed in the coming weeks); Frank’s control of the game (gripe about his substitution patterns if you want, but do you really think the guy doesn’t know what he’s doing? Or that he’s stubborn? C’mon…); the absurd rebounding margin (Sean Sutton should be embarrassed); the contributions of James Franklin and CMW (do you realize Frank played everybody at his disposal yesterday? And they all played well?); and a smiling Clent Stewart.
This team is soaring with confidence, and all of the adversity has only brought them closer. I know that sounds like a cliche, but man, it’s true. You have to like what Kansas State basketball looks like right now. There is a sense of purpose, direction that hasn’t been seen for a while.
Here’s what I didn’t like: Low shooting percentage (I’ve never been one of those who complains about K-State’s offense because I know there are going to be nights when shots fall, but I just wonder about the quality of some of those shots Saturday); DK and Sutton stalled on offense (DK hasn’t been the same since Iowa State, and ‘Nique isn’t effective outside of five feet – something has to give); Andre Gilbert still in street clothes (I talked to him briefly – true story, me and GPC’s Robert Cassidy saw him out at Tubby’s the night of his dust-up. He said last night that when we saw him, he wanted to go home, but he didn’t – and that’s when the trouble ensued); the opponent (I’m not a Sean Sutton defender, but that’s an oddly constructed collection of talent – did you know there are two McDonald’s All-Americans on that team in Byron Eaton and James Anderson? They’ve got a bunch of 6-foot-5, 6-foot-6 guys who only shoot jumpers, a chubby, vertically-challenged point guard who can’t penetrate, a 6-foot-11 post project who looks more comfortable on the perimeter… none of it makes sense.)
One last thought – how tough is Blake Young? He might be my favorite Wildcat to watch. Nothing he does is pretty or particularly graceful, but he plays with such effort. No, he’s not the 20-point scorer he was in junior college, but remember what Matt Figger said in his classic “Five”? Not many junior college stars project as stars in Division I basketball. Instead, with his skill set, Young has turned into a fine defensive player and a serviceable offensive component, someone who doesn’t turn the ball over and is capable of getting to the rim. And he might be the best rebounder in the Big 12 under 6-foot-3.
My dad just called. He’s obsessed, by the way. He said KU’s Achilles’ heel is dribble penetration. High BBIQ, by the way.