Monthly Archives: January 2013

Neville Fincher rounds out recruiting class

The Kansas State basketball team rounded out its 2013 recruiting class on Monday, picking up a verbal commitment from Neville Fincher.

The 6-foot-9, 240-pound power forward who currently plays at Hargrave Military Academy (Chatham, Va.) is exactly the type of player the Wildcats’ coaching staff wanted to get with its fourth, and final, available scholarship.

Fincher describes himself as a defensive-minded player that also has “a few moves on the block. I can score and get the ball in the hoop.”

“I’m long, I block shots, I grab rebounds and I try to dunk everything when I’m down low,” Fincher said Monday by phone. “I’m quick off my feet and I run the floor really well … At Kansas State, I want to develop a little with my mid-range game and get to the point where I can shoot a few jumpers.”

Fincher said he was also recruited by Marshall, Seton Hall, Duquesne, Western Kentucky and Houston. Read More »

Fiesta Bowl Countdown: John Hubert could make a big difference in the Fiesta Bowl

The countdown is coming to an end. It’s sad, I know. This is my final blog before the Fiesta Bowl starts at 7:30 tonight at University of Phoenix Stadium. Before I get to it, though, I want to thank everyone who sent blog ideas my way. Your suggestions were a big help.

I think the key matchup in tonight’s Fiesta Bowl will be John Hubert vs. Kenjon Barner.

Even though the running backs won’t face each other directly, the ball-carrier who gains the most yards will give his team a big advantage.

Of all the weird stats that came out of Oregon’s lone loss to Stanford, Barner’s 66 rushing yards sticks out most. He averaged more than 135 yards this season, and basically beat USC all by himself, but on that night the Cardinal held him to pedestrian yardage on 21 carries.

Marcus Mariota ran pretty well, finishing with 89 yards, but it didn’t matter. Without Barner churning out yards, Oregon’s offense struggled. It scored 14 points and lost in overtime. Stopping him should be K-State’s top priority on defense.

If the Wildcats hold to him fewer than 100 yards, they will take their chances. But they will also need Hubert to get going in their own backfield.

When you look back at K-State’s season, the Wildcats were often at their best when Hubert was running strong. He had 130 yards and a touchdown in a crucial victory at Oklahoma. He rushed for more than 100 yards in easy wins over Kansas and Miami. And he scored three touchdowns while rushing for 66 yards against Texas.

But when he was less effective, so was K-State. The Wildcats’ worst two offensive performances came against TCU, when Hubert ran for 23 yards, and at Baylor, when he ran for 43 yards.

He hasn’t hit the 100-yard mark since early October, but he did look good against the Longhorns. With a month between games, he has had plenty of time to rest and is eager to make a run at a 1,000-yard season. He needs 108 yards to get there.

If he does, he might help K-State win the Fiesta Bowl.

Five things to watch – Oregon

It’s finally gameday here in the Valley of the Sun – here’s my article from yesterday about Kansas State’s amazing turnout to Wednesday’s pep rally at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. Wildcat fans turned out 25,000 strong at the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Hopefully you’ve already gone here to take a look at the coverage of today’s game from Bob Lutz, Kellis Robinett, Travis Heying and myself, and if you’re Wichita you’ve probably grabbed a copy of our Fiesta Bowl special edition.

I’ve been heavy on the Oregon stuff this week – here’s 5 things to watch for the Ducks tonight:

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Fiesta Bowl Countdown: Hartman, Lamur inspire K-State’s current NFL hopefuls

At this time last year, Tysyn Hartman and Emmanuel Lamur were in the same position as Nigel Malone, Jarell Childs and Meshak Williams.

The former Kansas State defenders were coming off productive seasons with the Wildcats, and hoping for a chance to play at the next level.

Both players had an outside shot at being drafted, but their more likely routes to the NFL were through free agency. Sure enough, both players got picked up after going undrafted and went on to have solid rookie seasons.

Hartman, a safety, made 24 tackles while playing in nine games (starting two) with the Kansas City Chiefs. Lamur, a linebacker, made 19 tackles while playing in nine games for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Malone (cornerback), Childs (linebacker) and Williams (defensive end) have each done big things for K-State this year. But their NFL hopes aren’t as clear as Arthur Brown’s. He will get drafted in the first few rounds. Malone, Childs and Williams need to further prove themselves at K-State’s pro day and in private workouts with NFL teams.

Just like Hartman and Lamur did.

“Obviously, we came from the same system under the same coach,” Childs said. “Those guys are great players. If they can do it, I will always think there is a chance for me and the other defensive players on our team.”
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Fiesta Bowl Countdown: Kyle Klein impressing coaches during bowl practices

Throughout his time at Kansas State, Kyle Klein has been known best as Collin’s younger brother.

That may always be the case, but Klein will be able to make a name for himself starting next year. Older brother will be gone, pursuing a career in the NFL. Klein will be a sophomore receiver, pursuing a starting spot.

With only Chris Harper and Zach McFall leaving the program, he will face strong competition. But he will be in the mix for playing time behind Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson along with Curry Sexton, Torell Miller, and Deante Burton.

Klein saw playing time this season, but didn’t receive many targets. He didn’t catch a single pass.

At the least, that will change next season. Klein was still adjusting to the position this season. Since joining the K-State program, he has spent time at defensive end, tight end and receiver. He played practically every position, including quarterback, for his high school football team and prides himself on being versatile. Still, he needed time to fully grasp K-State’s offense as a receiver.

Now that he feels more comfortable, his coaches are expecting big things.

“He is having a great bowl prep,” co-offensive coordinator Dana Dimel said. “He is really starting to make some strides. I’m paying a lot of attention to what the young guys are doing. Kyle has made a lot of nice plays. He’s just like Collin. He is learning how to play his position. He is getting a lot better. He brings length to that position. We want to throw the ball downfield and he allows us to do that.”
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