Jamar Samuels suspended three games

Kansas State fans will have to wait a while to see the new and improved Jamar Samuels in a live game.

The senior forward, who put on more than 30 pounds of muscle this offseason and has earned compliments from Wildcats basketball coach Frank Martin recently, has been suspended three games for a violation of team rules.

He will miss today’s exhibition opener against Fort Hays State, the regular-season opener against Charleston Southern and a Nov. 14 game against Loyola Chicago.

“Jamar understands that student-athletes at K-State have expectations and there are consequences when you don’t live up to those expectations,” Martin said in a release. “However, I have been pleased with how he has handled his obligations since this setback and I expect this to continue.”

Frank Martin challenges Jamar Samuels

Of Kansas State’s seven returning scholarship basketball players, it’s pretty easy to identify who will make up the core of next year’s team.

Rodney McGruder will likely be the best player on the roster. Will Spradling is eager to enter the starting lineup after a promising freshman season. And Jamar Samuels will be a fifth-year senior.

Yes, Shane Southwell and Jordan Henriquez ended last season on upswings, and walk-on Victor Ojeleye could very well be named a captain, but those are the three who (for now, anyway) figure to make the biggest impact for the Wildcats next season — both on and off the court.

I asked K-State coach Frank Martin about all three earlier this week, and it turns out he has a pretty good idea of who his most dependable players will be next season, too.

But instead of a trio, he sees a duo.

He is most confident in McGruder and Spradling.

“Those are the two guys that have shown the willingness to be consistent with who they are, with their approach, with their work ethic,” Martin said. Read More »

A few summer K-State basketball notes

I spoke with Kansas State basketball coach Frank Martin for about 20 minutes earlier today. During that conversation we covered a number of topics, ranging from the similarities he sees between Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea and Wildcats freshman Angel Rodriguez (read all about it in tomorrow’s paper), what he is expecting out of his newest recruits, the promotions on his coaching staff and plenty in between.

I’m planning on passing along all of those tidbits throughout the week right here. Allow me to kick things off now with a few notes.

Feeling Better

Martin is much healthier today than he was last month when he began undergoing treatment for blood clots found in his leg.

“I feel great,” Martin said. “I’m on blood thinners. There are times during the day that makes you feel weird, but I’m good. My doctors are comfortable with my blood and they’re comfortable with the clot. In the back of my mind, I’m always worried. Blood clots are nothing to mess with. So I’m not free and clear. I’m always going to have a concern in the back of my mind, but physically I’m good.”
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Postgame: UNLV 63, K-State 59

UNLV

Kansas State was unable to defeat UNLV without its best two players in the lineup Tuesday at the Sprint Center.

The loss came in front of a raucous sellout crowd, and the shorthanded Wildcats played the Rebels tough before falling 63-59. But it was a painful night for K-State all the same.

“We’re not about losing here,” said an angry Frank Martin. “We’re not about playing hard and coming up close and moral victories. That’s not what we built our program about. We lost, so it wasn’t good enough.”

Martavious Irving and Jamar Samuels later said they also found few positives in the loss. Samuels made a good point about the Wildcats being strong enough to beat Virginia Tech earlier this season with Kelly out of the lineup and Pullen only playing 14 minutes. He thought they should have done the same here.

K-State is certainly a team that should know how to play with members of its roster unavailable. Of the Wildcats’ 16 players, only six (Rodney McGruder, Victor Ojeleye, Nick Russell, Freddy Asprilla, Jordan Henriquez-Roberts and Will Spradling) have seen action in every game this season.

The other 10 have missed anywhere from one game to nine for various reasons. Here is a rundown:
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Postgame: Florida 57, K-State 44

There are many reasons why Kansas State has played less-than-impressive basketball lately, but it’s pretty obvious what the biggest of those reasons is this morning.

The Wildcats aren’t getting enough out of their frontcourt.

During an excruciating 57-44 loss to Florida at BankAtlantic Center on Saturday, starting forwards Freddy Asprilla and Curtis Kelly contributed a measly five points and five rebounds — combined. Jamar Samuels, outside of a few nice shots early and a decent defensive effort, could provide only five points and five rebounds off the bench.

As the game went on, K-State coach Frank Martin was desperate for a spark and sent Jordan Henriquez-Roberts, Wally Judge and Victor Ojeleye onto the court. None of them were effective against the Gators.

Much like their disappointing effort against Loyola Chicago, the Wildcats were outrebounded by Florida and unable to score second-chance points. Seriously, they ended the game with a whopping three. Though that stat does look better than the zero fast-break points they scored.

Martin brought in former banger Luis Colon to help the team and introduce a new level of physical contact to practices earlier in the week, and was at a loss trying to explain why that didn’t properly prepare his big men for Saturday’s game.

“I’ve got no idea,” Martin said. “As long as Rodney McGruder continues to rebound the basketball and our bigs don’t, I don’t know what to tell you. Read More »

Postgame: K-State 89, Alcorn St. 55

A lackluster 89-55 victory over Alcorn State seems like as good a time as any to discuss freshman walk-on Alex Potuzak. So here goes.

Potuzak was sent into the game for two minutes of mop-up duty Monday night, and the 6-foot-11 forward found himself banking in a shot for the first basket of his collegiate career.

The Kansas State fans remaining at Bramlage Coliseum went crazy, and Potuzak (or Sticks, as his teammates call him) became a hot topic in the postgame interview room.

“If there was a Big 12 All-walk-on team,” said Jamar Samuels, “Sticks would be first team.”

“Sticks word hard, man,” added Jacob Pullen. “Sticks is a beast. If people could watch us practice, they’d see how hard Sticks is. He’s the first person on the floor for loose balls. Read More »

Postgame: K-State 73, Va. Tech 57

Anyone who wanted to know what Kansas State looked like without Jacob Pullen or Curtis Kelly got their wish yesterday.

Turns out the Wildcats can hold their own without their two most heralded players.

With Pullen in foul trouble and on the bench for all but two minutes of the first half, and Kelly serving an ongoing suspension, K-State used an assortment of different players against the 22nd-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies. They all did their part. The Wildcats found a way to take a one-point halftime lead and pull away for a 73-57 victory once Pullen returned to the game.

Here’s a look at who contributed most under the unusual circumstances:
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Curtis Kelly doing better in practice, but still may not play against Virginia Tech

Kansas State basketball coach Frank Martin sent a message to Curtis Kelly on Friday when he benched the senior forward in the Wildcats’ season opener against James Madison.

He thought Kelly needed to practice with more energy and be a better teammate.

So far that message has been received. When asked about Kelly’s practice habits over the weekend, Martin said:

“He’s been better. A lot better.”

But that doesn’t necessarily mean Kelly will be back in the starting lineup on Tuesday when Virginia Tech comes to Bramlage Coliseum. Martin said it doesn’t even guarantee he will dress for the game.

“Just because he’s been halfway decent for two days I’m not going to do back flips,” Martin said. “He’s got to do right for an extended period of time. The last couple days he’s been more the way that he needs to be, unlike the way he’s been for the three and four weeks leading into last game.”
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Notes from the Madness

After a year off, Madness in Manhattan was better than ever. Close to 7,000 fans crammed into Bramlage Coliseum on Friday and loudly celebrated the start of college basketball.

They were treated to speeches from players on both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, an extremely funny video featuring Kansas State grad Eric Stonestreet and the cast of Modern Family, dances and all sorts of high-flying plays.

K-State coach Frank Martin loved every moment of it. He says the event is here to stay.

“Let’s have a party now, kickoff the season and then let’s all go work,” Martin said. “It went really well tonight, and our fans and players both deserve it.”
Read More »

Monday K-State links

– Kansas State’s home game against Virginia Tech next season will be part of ESPN’s third-annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. The game will start at 3 p.m. on Nov. 16 and offer Wildcats fans a rare Tuesday afternoon tip.

– John Henderson, of the Denver Post, writes that there is no doubting Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas as he enters his senior season.

– ESPN.com put together a ranking of the nation’s top college super fans, and guess who made the list at No. 12. The Wildcats’ own Robert Lipson. No other super fan of a Big 12 program made the cut.

– Brandon Banks sits down for a video interview with Jocks Talk.

Jamar Samuels and Nick Russell have both finished their tours of Europe with the East Coast All-Stars. They returned to America over the weekend.