Latavious Williams

Don’t underestimate the effect of Michael Beasley on Kansas State recruiting.

You’ve likely read about how Starkville, Miss., forward Latavious Williams is interested in K-State because of Beasley, his favorite college basketball player during the past season.

Largely because of Beasley, the Wildcats were deemed must-see television – at least they were in Starkville.

“There is definitely a buzz,” Starkville coach Greg Carter said. “When you get a player like Beasley, and you win, and you’re on national television… People notice. And their kids get a lot of freedom. K-State plays the way a lot of kids like to play…

“But they have to continue to get those type of kids in there.”

Which is where Williams, who averaged 18.9 points, 14.5 rebounds and 5.0 blocks as a senior at Starkville, comes into play.

Entering April, he was regarded by Rivals as a three-star recruit. But then came his standout showing for the Brandon Bass Elite at the Kingwood Classic, an AAU event in Houston, and suddenly, the 6-foot-8 Williams – already coveted by K-State, Clemson, Mississippi State, Xavier, Clemson and West Virginia – is in even more demand.

Williams is now at Progressive Christian Academy in Camp Springs, Md., where he will focus on his classwork in a fifth year in order to be NCAA-eligible in 2009. This weekend, though, Tay – his nickname – will be back in Mississippi, which is where members of the K-State coaching staff are expected to be.

But be warned – Williams has no intentions of committing any time soon.

“He has people in his ear, telling him to sign, but we told everyone he wasn’t going to do it,” Carter said. “He’s taking a wait-and-see attitude. The schools that are recruiting him now have a pretty good shot at signing him. They’ll have a longer relationship.”

Here are the Cliff’s Notes on Williams:

Incredibly athletic with long arms. Runs extremely well. Can handle, and his jump shot is emerging. Blocks shots with either hand. According to Dave Telep, Scout.com’s national recruiting coordinator, Williams is a live body whose offense is quite polished.

“You might have to wait with him,” Telep said.

If K-State is fortunate enough to land Williams, Carter believes he’ll be used in the same capacity Beasley was used this season.

“They have similar games,” Carter said. “Beasley is bigger, but they do the same things.”

And there’s that name again – Beasley.

Despite being in Manhattan for just one season, his presence continues to be felt.

He’s the reason a kid from Mississippi is considering K-State.

“They can recruit nationally because of the success they had with Beasley,” Carter said. “He helped put them on the map.”