Saying goodbye to K-State’s three seniors

At 5 p.m. today, Denis Clemente, Luis Colon and Chris Merriewether will play at Bramlage Coliseum for the final time.

Like all Kansas State seniors, they will be honored with pregame festivities and loud applause from the purple-clad faithful.

As a whole, there have been more impressive senior classes at K-State. Denis Clemente is the only all-conference caliber player. Merriewether is a former walk-on. Colon starts but has never produced eye-popping stats. But this class will stick out from others for one big reason: two of its members are the first to have played four years under coach Frank Martin.

Before they say goodbye, here is a look back at their careers:

Denis Clemente

Thoughts on his career: “I’m proud of what I did,” Clemente said. “You don’t understand where I came from. It’s tough. I came from a country and didn’t know the language, don’t know the people out here. All I knew how to do was play basketball.

“Look at where we are now. Ranked fifth in the nation at Kansas State, running the team. I’m proud. It’s going to be emotional a little bit, because I know I’m not going to play here anymore.”

Best game: 44 points at Texas

Best talent: Speed. This guy could lead any fast-break offense in the country.

Plans: Clemente will play professionally at some level next season. He is not projected as a NBA draft pick, but the NBA is his top goal. After that he would prefer playing in Europe and possibly Puerto Rico.

Why he’ll be remembered: His confidence. Earlier this week he was asked what it meant to him to win third-team All-Big 12 honors from Yahoo! Sports. His answer: “I think I can do better than that. That’s all I have to say.”

***

Luis Colon

Thoughts on his career: “I knew we were going to be successful, because that’s what I’ve worked hard for my whole life,” Colon said. “We’ve been ranked all year and in the top five. I’m very proud that we put in work everyday. It’s been a great four years. I love it. I’m really proud of my teammates.”

Best game: 18 points and 11 rebounds against Southern Miss.

Best talent: Colon’s size allows him to bang inside better than anyone on K-State’s roster.

Plans: “My plan after graduation is just to go home and relax with my family for a little while,” Colon said. “I would like to play ball for a little while for money. Maybe in Puerto Rico for sure, and maybe somewhere else.”

Why he’ll be remembered: He was the beginning of a recruiting trend that brought fellow Latin players Denis Clemente and Freddy Asprilla to K-State.

***

Chris Merriewether

Thoughts on his career: “Chris came here as a walk-on because he just wanted to be a part of this program,” Martin said. “He came in from Day One and made himself into a guy who helps us win games. He’s earned that scholarship and he deserves it.”

Best game: Sinking two game-clinching free throws against Nebraska.

Best talent: He is one of the hardest working and strongest players on the team. When K-State holds its annual strong-man competition, he normally wins.

Plans: Basketball is not in his future, but he already has a job lined up after graduation. He will be a financial analyst for ConocoPhillips.

Why he’ll be remembered: Merriewether accomplished the dream of every walk-on. After two good seasons, he became a scholarship player.