Category Archives: Q&A with Sunflower Slate

Sunflower Slate Q&A with Barton guard Colin Beatty aka How to Make It in America


Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.  – John Wooden

Big brother, big brother/don’t worry a bit/your flame has not faded/since the day it was lit. -The Black Keys

We’ve had some pretty good Q&A sessions at Sunflower Slate over the last three years. Tuesday’s talk with Barton Community College sophomore guard Colin Beatty might be the best yet. Beatty, a 6-foot-5 combo guard, signed with Loyola-Chicago in November. He’s averaging 14.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists for Barton this season and has led his team to a 15-5 start, including an upset of No. 4 Hutchinson last Thursday.

And away we go …

Read More »

Sunflower Slate Q&A: Washburn CB Pierre Desir



I caught up with Washburn defensive back Pierre Desir on Monday evening — he’s in Topeka for the rest of the summer getting ready for the Ichabods’ Aug. 28 opener against Colorado School of Mines. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound All-American and St. Charles, Mo., native  opened up about a lot of things, including expectations for his upcoming sophomore season, his pro prospects and his family coming to the U.S. from Haiti when he was 4 years old. He also talked about the impact that the January earthquake in Haiti had on his family that still lives there. I’m not about to mince words: This was one of our best Q&As yet.

Here you go:

Read More »

Sunflower Slate Q&A: KCAC commissioner Scott Crawford



I sat down with fourth-year KCAC commissioner Scott Crawford for an in-depth interview Friday afternoon in downtown Wichita and we discussed what the future might hold for the KCAC regarding a lot of different things, including possible expansion, giving the league’s schools  more autonomy in their spending for scholarships and, most importantly, the immediate changes that are being made regarding the KCAC’s Sports Regulations Initiative (SRI), which received final approval from the KCAC Board of Presidents last week. What’s the SRI? Only the biggest step forward towards being more competitive on the national level that the league has made in my lifetime — expanding the schedules to fit the maximum allotment from the NAIA where, in the past, the KCAC has played less games than were allowed.

The biggest impact, in my opinion, will be seen in football, where teams get an 11th regular-season game and a SPRING GAME. You’ll probably be able to see results in basketball pretty quickly, too, as teams will get to play the maximum 32 games instead of 30 in the upcoming season. Trust me, that’s all a big deal.

Here’s the portion of the interview Crawford did exclusively for Sunflower Slate:

Read More »

Sunflower Slate Q&A with Washburn LB Zach Watkins



I caught up with Washburn senior linebacker Zach Watkins on Wednesday afternoon and came away extremely impressed — and ready to dole out some serious Sunflower Slate karma.

Here’s the skinny on Watkins — the 6-foot, 235-pound linebacker from Independence, Mo. (hometown of Harry Truman) is only the second player in Washburn history to go over 400 tackles, with 403, and could break the career mark of 459 this season. He’s had 100 tackles in each of his first three seasons; 100 in 2006, 143 in 2007 and 119 in 2008 and has led the Ichabods to a No. 17 ranking and 4-1 record this season.

Dude didn’t really want to give himself too much credit — but that’s what we’re here for. Gotta love when your linebackers wanna talk more about their defensive line than themselves. And his pregame music? Killswitch Engage. The Ichabods have got Fort Hays State coming to town on Saturday in Topeka.

Here’s our talk:

Sunflower Slate: You’re in your final year at Washburn and closing in on a pretty lofty record in the career tackles mark. In the middle of all of it do you ever catch yourself thinking about your accomplishments?

Zach Watkins: I really haven’t because I’ve been so focused on trying to help this team win games and be a leader out on the field. I get so wrapped up in the day-to-day stuff that all the personal stuff … I just never think about it.

SS: Did you think you’d have this type of impact coming out of high school?

ZW: You can’t go into college football thinking you’re going to be the best player, but once I got on the field I felt like I could definitely make an impact. As the years progressed I feel like I’ve become more of a leader and a player that the other teams need to prepare for.

SS: You’ve been on some teams that have come really close to being great but couldn’t seem to quite get over the hump when it came to the heart of MIAA play. What is it about this group that you think is different?

ZW: My sophomore year we made the playoffs, but we do feel like we’ve fallen short a couple of times. We feel like we’ve got a special group this year … we’re excited about keeping up what we’ve started this season.



SS: We’ve all got the idea  — well at least I do — of the stereotypical middle linebacker who is kind of the frothing at the mouth, always ready for battle type of guy. Do you fit into that role? What are you like before games?

ZW: I feel like I’m pretty laid-back, and I’m not against pulling a prank … but when it comes to practice and to games I definitely am able to get that really intense focus and put everything else aside. I feel like I’m a hard-nosed player and to have any type of success I’ve got to be able to get into that mode. And it doesn’t hurt to have a great d-line.

SS: Nice. Giving the d-line props is never bad.

ZW: Without them I’m not going to get where I need to be. They play the way they do and it makes my job a lot easier.

SS: So what are you listening to before a game? Anything in particular?



ZW: (Laughing) That’s easy. Killswitch Engage.

I show my age and have him repeat the name of the band several times.

SS: What about away from football? What do you do for fun?

ZW: Play a lot of basketball, a lot of golf. We’ve got a group of seniors who have been together for four or five years and we’re pretty close. Just typical college-kid stuff … anything competitive usually catches our attention.

SS: Are you any good at golf?

ZW: Consistent low 80s.

SS: Last question. Biggest hit ever? College, high school, pee-wee football … what’s the biggest?

ZW: Mo-Kan All-Star game, senior year of high school. Tight end came right across the middle.

SS: Thanks for doing our Q&A. Best of luck this year.

I’m out. TA

Sunflower Slate Q&A: ESU’s Kellen Lane



Sunflower Slate hustled and got ESU hero Kellen Lane on the phone Thursday night (thanks to a little help from Josh Slaughter) after his dramatic, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth sent the Hornets to Saturday’s NCAA Division II College World Series title game in Cary, N.C. Lane, a senior from Borger, Texas, played junior-college ball at Odessa (Texas) College before coming to Emporia.

Read More »

Q&A with Sunflower Slate: Newman AD Vic Trilli

Newly-minted Newman University athletic director Vic Trilli was kind enough to sit down with Sunflower Slate for a Q&A last week, and while he’s adjusting to his move from Garden City — where he was the Garden City Community College AD since 2005 — to Wichita just fine, there’s still a few loose ends that needed to be tied up in Western Kansas before he can set up roots here. I had the opportunity to cover a Trilli-led athletic department for the better part of two seasons when I was with the Garden City Telegram, so there’s a little history there between us, which of course makes him a Sunflower Slate favorite. He’s also got big-time experience; he was the men’s basketball coach at North Texas and an assistant at the University of Texas before getting into an administration role.

Vic Trilli, Newman AD

Vic Trilli, Newman AD

Here’s some excerpts from our interview:

Read More »

Q&A with Butler’s Demetria Williams

Butler Community College volleyball player Demetria Williams was nice enough to sit down and chat with me before the Grizzlies’ match against Neosho County on Wednesday in El Dorado, just hours after she learned her team had jumped from No. 19 all the way up to No. 3 in the latest NJCAA.

Williams, a 6-foot-2 freshman from Wichita Southeast, is 10th in the nation in blocks per game, and came to Butler to play for coach Rick Younger after originally making an oral commitment to the University of Alabama-Birmingham last season but deciding, along with her her parents, that she wasn’t ready to make the jump to a four-year school quite yet.

Read More »