When Bruce Weber’s Kansas State basketball staff hits the recruiting trail the search is for more than point and rebound averages.
“We look for guys who play hard. Guys have to have a motor and be able to do a lot of different things in our system,” said associate head coach Chris Lowery.
“We feel if you’re willing to play hard, we can help you get better in developing a shot or to become a better ball handler. We want that jack of all trades who we can help get better in the fundamentals of the game.”
While fans get giddy on each and every recruit signed, Lowery understands that “… you never know until they get in your program. Some you think are going to be good right away, but they’re not; others you think you’re going to have to have patience with, but all of a sudden they’re ready to rock-and-roll as freshmen.”
With that in mind, Lowery says, “We think we did,” when asked whether this 2013 recruiting class met all of its goals.
“We like the players we’ve signed, but we’re still looking for others,” said Lowery. “Plus, these new players will be coming into a system where the older players can help in terms of teaching our system.”
Kansas State added the services of Neville Fincher from Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia on Wednesday’s first official spring signing day, to go with three prep talents who signed during the early-period last November.
Fincher is a 6-foot-9, 250-pounder, who Lowery says “… is a big, strong athlete who can get up and down the floor. He plays with a toughness that will allow him to control the lane. He has some work to do offensively, but he’s a high-end dunker, can attack the rim and he plays hard.”
Fincher joins early signees in Marcus Foster from Wichita Falls, Texas; Wesley Iwundu from Houston, Texas; and Jevon Thomas, a product of Northwest Military Academy in Delafield, Wis.
Foster and Iwundu entered their senior season ranked among the Top 30 players in the state of Texas.
Of Foster, a 6-3 shooting guard, Lowery said, “He was the Class 3A State Player of the Year and has the ability to attack the basket with both hands and score in a variety of ways. He just has that knack for scoring the ball. He’s a kid when all else fails, he can go get a basket.”
And of Iwundu, Lowery added, “He’s that long swing athlete that you have to have in the Big 12. He’s very versatile and will be good in transition. He can rebound the ball off the rim and just go. He’s just that high-end athlete at a swing position that we needed in our younger class.”
With Thomas, Lowery scouted, “He’s your jitterbug type guy that you like at the point. We needed to improve our quickness out front and Jevon does that. He can really defend, plus can push the ball hard on offensive possessions. He will really improve our transition game.”
With the entirety of the four-talent class, Lowery said, “They all will allow us to play with a little more up-tempo in our motion offense.”
With the decision of Michael Orris and Adrian Diaz to leave the program since the end of the season, K-State still has two scholarships to give.
“We’re still up in the air on that. You’re always looking, and we’d probably like to sign one more player that has some length and would be an interior guy with some age, but we’ll see,” said Lowery. “We have that option of signing two more, but only having three to give next year, or saving the scholarships and having five to give next year.”
Lowery did say that the staff would like to balance the classes in the near future.
At this time, next year’s scholarship roster would include seniors Shane Southwell, Omari Lawrence and Will Spradling, juniors Nino Williams, Thomas Gipson and Angel Rodriguez, D.J. Johnson as the lone sophomore, plus the four incoming freshmen.
With this 2013 class, and those of the future, coach Bruce Weber said of the Wildcat recruiting bases, “We always want to look for the good kids in Kansas and the Kansas City area, and then I hope Texas will become a good base because of the population and the quality of basketball and the connection to the Big 12.
A third area would be back east with our New York connection and in the prep schools.”