Semi Ojeleye creates buzz after big game

If you didn’t know Semi Ojeleye scored 50 points in a high school basketball game earlier this week, you need to pay closer attention. Seriously, it was all over the Internet.

But if this is the first you’re hearing about it, here’s the skinny: Ojeleye, a 6-foot-6 junior small forward out of Ottawa who is the brother of Kansas State senior Victor Ojeleye, hit eight three-pointers, made all 10 of his free throws and scored a career-high 50 points during a 103-70 win over Spring Hill.

“I started off the game making my first three or four shots,” Ojeleye said. “My teammates did a good job of finding me. We moved the ball really well. I got into a good rhythm and everything just came together for me.”

Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith was reportedly in attendance for Ojeleye’s big game, but college coaches everywhere heard about it. They were already paying attention. Ojeleye says he has scholarship offers from K-State, Wisconsin, UCLA, Oklahoma State, Northwestern, Nebraska, Marquette and Missouri.

With more 50-point efforts, that list will surely grow. But he’s trying not to think about that at the moment.

“A lot of people have been telling me, ‘Good game’ lately,” Ojeleye said. “I’m just trying to stay humble, be positive and stay thankful.”
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Postgame: K-State 31, UCLA 22

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It was a big day for Daniel Thomas and a big win for Kansas State.

After rushing for 234 yards and two touchdowns, Thomas was singled out all over the place. A few writers threw the word “Heisman” around, and ESPN analysts awarded him a helmet sticker on their late night college football show. He deserved the recognition.

Thomas was an absolute workhorse Saturday, and lived up to all the hype he created for himself by leading the Big 12 in rushing a year ago. Only Oklahoma State’s Kendall Hunter did better on opening day.

And because of Thomas’ efforts, K-State is off to a 1-0 start. With other teams across the Big 12 struggling with opponents they were expected to easily defeat, the Wildcats’ win over UCLA carries some weight.
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Gameday Preview: UCLA at Kansas State

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It’s been a while since Kansas State opened the season at home against a name opponent. Fourteen years to be exact.

Back then the Wildcats kicked off their first Big 12 season against Texas Tech. They won 21-14 and went on to a strong year that didn’t end until the Cotton Bowl.

K-State is trying to duplicate that kind of success Saturday against UCLA, and Manhattan is buzzing over the chance to watch. The game is officially sold out, and ABC will be in town to broadcast it to a national audience.

UCLA broke open a close game against K-State last year in Los Angeles to win 23-9, and the rematch should be even better. Stakes are high for both teams. In season-openers like this one, they always are. Read More »

Carson Coffman ready to prove himself

For the second straight year, Carson Coffman will start the season as Kansas State’s quarterback.

For the second straight year, he won a multi-player competition during training camp to earn his playing time.

For the second straight year, he will need to prove the doubters wrong.

On the surface, it appears nothing has changed about Coffman in the past 365 days. But he is different.

He has used his past failures as motivation. He has earned the respect of his teammates. He has shown off his funny side. He has a new attitude.

Ask if he is bothered by those who say he will once again lose his starting status midway through the season, and he responds: “They don’t really know what’s going on. To those people out there who are saying that, it gives me motivation to prove them wrong.” Read More »

This week’s player to watch: Kai Forbath

KaiForbath The place kicker is normally one of the most overlooked players on any football team, but it’s impossible not to notice UCLA’s Kai Forbath.

The senior won the 2009 Lou Groza Award, was a consensus All-American last season and could have jumped to the NFL early if he wanted to. He connected on 28 of 31 field goal attempts, and the three he missed came from beyond 50 yards. At the 50-plus range he went three for six.

Basically, that means every time the Bruins’ offense gets to the 33-yard line, they’re assured three points. At his weekly news conference, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder was asked about Forbath’s consistency, and the name Martin Gramatica came up. Read More »

Wednesday K-State links

– For the second straight year, Kansas State will be featured on ESPN’s “College Gameday” basketball program.

Rece Davis, Digger Phelps and Jay Bilas previewed the Sunflower Showdown in front of a huge crowd at Bramlage Coliseum last season. The Wildcats and Jayhawks played an overtime thriller, and the game got big ratings. This year, ESPN will head to Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 29 to preview the rematch.

Gameday will also appear at Baylor (did I really just write that?) later in the season when the Bears host Texas.

– It’s been hard to keep up with all the injuries coming out of UCLA football practices, but the Bruins finally appear to be getting some good news. The Los Angeles Times reports sophomore quarterback Kevin Prince, barring a setback, should be good to go against Kansas State.

– Speaking of UCLA, this guy predicts K-State to beat the Bruins 17-7.
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Monday K-State links

– My talented colleague Sam Mellinger caught up with former Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman while he was in Tampa, Fla., watching the Chiefs play a preseason game.

His column goes into good detail about how Freeman is working toward his dream of staying in the NFL for 15 years, going to a few Pro Bowls and then retiring on the beach.

– Will Kevin Prince be ready to quarterback UCLA against Kansas State on Sept. 4? That is the question the Los Angeles Times examines in this blog.

– Prince’s backup Richard Brehaut played so-so in UCLA’s recent fall scrimmage, reports the Daily Bruin.
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Friday K-State links

– Sports Illustrated came out with its Big 12 season preview, and it predicts Kansas State to go 7-5 with a 4-4 conference record. It also says Daniel Thomas could turn into a darkhorse Heisman candidate.

– The Big Red Network asks, “what’s scary about Kansas State?” Its main answer? Thomas.

– Looking for a in-depth preview of UCLA, who the Wildcats will play in their season-opener on Sept. 4? Here is a good look at the Bruins.

A quote in the story from safety Rahim Moore: “This is our chance to show ourselves on the biggest state against great teams like Kansas State, Texas and Houston.”

– College Sports Matchups compiled this list of the Big 12′s must-watch games this season. Kansas State vs. UCLA and the Sunflower showdown both made the cut.

– ESPN.com has this story about the NCAA questioning Bryce Brown on some of Tennessee’s recruiting practices under former coach Lane Kiffin.

– In case you missed it yesterday, here is a link to my story on K-State’s offensive line. Even though it will be without former standout Nick Stringer, it returns four starters from last year. And those starters have formed quite the bond.

More bad news for UCLA

The UCLA football team may have to use a makeshift offensive line against Kansas State.

News out of Bruins land today is that Jeff Baca, a left guard who started every game last season, has been ruled academically ineligible pending an appeal with the NCAA.

Baca told reporters there was a chance his ineligibility could be overturned before the season opener in Manhattan.

“I’m working on an appeal and there’s just no telling what the timetable is,” said Baca, a 6-foot-4, 305-pound junior from Mission Viejo High School. “Things happen like this and it’s unfortunate.”

If the ineligibility stands, K-State’s defensive line will be going up against a depleted unit. Read More »

UCLA starting lineman to miss K-State game

UCLA will be without the services of one of its starters when it opens its season against Kansas State on Sept. 4 at Snyder Family Stadium.

Reports out of Los Angeles indicate junior offensive lineman Mike Harris, who started all 13 games for the Bruins a season ago and shared the team’s most improved offensive player award, has been suspended from the game because of a violation of team rules.

In last year’s 23-9 victory over K-State at the Rose Bowl, Harris helped the Bruins rush for 173 yards and a touchdown.