Mac Stevenson
This is how it looks from here: Kansas University’s academic administration has supervised the Billy Preston (KU’s 6-10, 240 freshman forward) problem in much the same way as they have governed the football program. Right from the beginning, no one seems to have a clue as to what is going on.
The only information that’s been released to the public is that Preston was driving a car and had a one-car accident that hurt no one. That’s when the people in charge of the university put Preston on the bench and instigated an investigation concerning the ownership of the car. Com’ on—there has to be more to it than that. Where there’s smoke there’s some fire.
After a long period of typical procrastination, the issue was turned over to the NCAA just before Christmas. Did KU’s top dogs think the NCAA was going act quickly on their request to clear Preston to play? Dream on. Billy Preston has now missed 15 games while this fiasco has been going on. Coach Bill Self has tried being low key with the NCAA, but his frustration showed when he said after the win at TCU, “We were expecting something . . . I thought we’d at least get a direction, even if it’s not positive. We got nothing. We got absolutely nothing.”
Before the season started, Kansas had a chance to break the all-time record for consecutive conference championships. That opportunity still exists; however, it isn’t going to happen unless Preston is cleared to play. In addition, all of this is unfair to Preston and KU’s fans unless there’s some wrongdoing that’s been covered up.
Maybe what’s needed to break the logjam is an angry mother; Preston’s mother, Nicole Parker, recently said on Twitter, “I’m tired of being quiet. I don’t think they understand. Billy is six-foot ten and 240 pounds . . . I could’ve sent him overseas in November when this started. He would’ve been an instant millionaire and a first-round pick. I allowed the NCAA into my personal life for Kansas. Guilty people don’t do that.”
No matter how this turns out, it’s been very poorly handled by KU’s administration. It almost seems like they are trying to put Coach Bill Self’s basketball program on the same level as KU football.
Last week many Kansas State football fans felt like children who had recently torn through their Christmas packages and—with sudden despondency—realized that it was all over; there were no more presents to open. K-State followers had been full of anticipation that something big was going to happen, even though they had no clue as to what it would be. And then Coach Bill Snyder announced he would be back for the 2018 season.
Snyder ended all conjecture and said, “As I have stated many times—as long as I remain in good health, am wanted and have a positive impact on the young people in our program—I will continue to be the head coach at Kansas State.”
Snyder is 78 years old and will be coaching his 27th season at K-State this coming fall. Snyder has an opening at offensive coordinator to fill; it will be interesting to observe whether or not Snyder continues with the same offense he has used for so many years. The main problem with his quarterback-run-oriented offense is the increased potential for injury to the QBs.
K-State will have most of their key players back on offense, but the Wildcats lose a number of defensive stalwarts that won’t be easy to replace.
In any event, the head coaching situation is set for another season and Wildcat fans can focus on their team with no controversy interfering.
Kansas City’s early exit from the playoffs simplified what the Chiefs need in the next NFL draft. KC needs at least three offensive- and three defensive linemen. Kansas City was dominated by Tennessee—at the line of scrimmage—during the second half on both offense and defense. It’s what’s up front that counts.
Wichita State’s basketball team has solidified their top ten ranking in the national polls. And forward Markis McDuffie (6-8, 212) has returned to the lineup. All is well in the Shockers’ camp.
Coach Gregg Marshall has a deep and talented ballclub that certainly has Final Four potential. Marshall’s team has improved during the semester break and they were a stellar ballclub before that.
With McDuffie back, he and point guard Landry Shamet form a Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside combination to go with guards Zach Brown, Conner Frankamp, Austin Reaves, Samajae Haynes-Jones and inside players Rashard Kelly, Shaquille Morris, Darral Willis Jr., and Rauno Nurger. That’s a solid roster that will continue to improve.
Greg Marshall has created a big-time basketball program at Wichita State.