Mac Stevenson
KU’s season-opening thrashing (92-56) of Tennessee State was satisfactory for Jayhawk fans with one notable exception: the benching of freshman Billy Preston (6-10, 240), who is expected to play a significant role for Kansas this season.
Young Preston has been on the top of the mountain ever since he started high school; as one of the most highly recruited players in the nation, Preston is used to being told what he wanted to hear. It hasn’t worked out that way in his early relationship with Coach Bill Self. Preston spent his first game at KU gathering splinters on the Jayhawks’ bench. KU’s prized freshman missed a curfew and class the week before the game and consequently he didn’t play.
The issue with freshmen is that they’re freshmen who are used to being treated with kid gloves. That doesn’t happen at Kansas. Preston can either straighten up and fly right or spend his freshman year at odds with the coach. Self’s quote after the game was short and to the point: “Just take care of your business . . . everybody needs to be responsible.”
Kansas may soon have a vital reinforcement: recruit Silvio De Sousa ( 6-9, 245) is trying to transfer from IMG Academy at Bradenton, FL to KU during the semester break.
De Sousa wants to make the move and recently said, “Of course I want to play for my team in high school this year, but if I get a chance to go straight to Kansas, I would love to just go to Kansas. That would be something great for me and I will be grateful.”
Whether or not Kansas fans can stand another confrontation with the NCAA (remember Cheick Diallo) is another question. We’ll see.
Wichita State’s basketball team crushed UMKC (109-57) in their opener last Friday. Wichita State had balanced scoring against UMKC, including an astounding 13 of 23 3-pointers (56.9%). From here, there doesn’t appear to be any weakness on this Wichita State team. Freshman center Asbjorn Midtagaard (7-0, 275) could become a meaningful weapon in Marshall’s arsenal; he’s huge and has promising athletic ability. Midtagaard won’t be a starter this season, but what a weapon coming off the bench.
Wichita State will enhance growing prestige with their play at the Maui Invitational in Hawaii. Coach Gregg Marshall’s team opens the tournament against California (4:00 p.m. on ESPN2) on Monday, November 20. Cal is rebuilding and the Shockers should handle the Golden Bears
Before the season began, preseason prognosticators observed that the state of Kansas had two superb basketball teams. They were mistaken. The Sunflower State has three excellent teams—it’s time to include Kansas State.
Coach Bruce Weber’s team played well while whipping American University, 83-45. And most important, K-State’s frontline played above expectations.
Junior forward Dean Wade (6-10, 230) scored 17 points and had four rebounds; his play was effective, but Wade still doesn’t rebound like he should. What was really encouraging for Weber was the excellent play of his forwards, sophomore Makol Mawien (6-9, 215) and senior Mawdo Sallah (6-8, 210). Mawien scored 12 points and had 9 rebounds in 19 minutes.
Freshmen Levi Stockard (6-8, 250) and Nigel Shadd (6-9, 236) showed their athletic ability and potential. The four newcomers give K-State talent and depth at the forward positions. Kansas State has the potential to be much better than last season.
The Kansas State football team’s uphill climb toward a bowl game became much steeper after the 28-23 loss to West Virginia. The Wildcats play at Oklahoma State this coming Saturday, Nov. 18 and then close the regular season at home with Iowa State on Saturday, Nov. 25. They need one more win for a bowl game.
Coach Bill Snyder realized that the Wildcats blew a chance for the vital win against West Virginia and said, “Take nothing away from West Virginia whatsoever. West Virginia has proven to be a very fine football team, but it was in our hands. It was ours to win or lose. We so easily could have won the ballgame and won it handily.”
The offensive coaches have to take responsibility for the loss; the always-present disorder of taking too much time to get the plays in was obvious to all. Sophomore QB Skylar Thompson was making his first start and the coaches made his debut much harder than it needed to be. The frustrated crowd started chanting (“four-three-two . . .”) every time the play clock was running down. That had to be upsetting to the young QB and the coaches were to blame.
Regardless of whether or not the Wildcats make a bowl game, necessary changes must come soon for the Kansas State football program.