To most, I'm sure Luis Colon is a curious selection to be the subject of a tribute post. Many K-State fans have at least mildly complained about Frank Martin's decision to start Colon over players such as Jamar Samuels and Wally Judge. Fans of other programs undoubtedly wonder why a blogger would take the time to write a post praising a player who averaged 12.0 minutes, 2.6 points, and 2.9 rebounds for his career.
Maybe I have some lingering guilt over a piece I wrote at my old site, advocating that Colon be sent packing after an on-campus incident his freshman season. While I stand by my stance that on-campus violence -- of any level -- is never acceptable, Colon showed the world in subsequent years that he was capable of growing up.
This isn't the story of a young man who is going to be drafted by an NBA team. It's not the story of a player who's going to go play overseas. Colon's days of playing competitive basketball are most likely over. But Colon is exactly the story that we should hope to see out of the 99 percent of college basketball players who won't make their living playing the game. He spent four years at a school. In that time, he experienced two NCAA Championships, once making the second round, the second time making the Regional Finals. Over four years, he changed from a moody teenager who rabbit-punched a Cal player and got into an on-campus altercation to a young man who could keep his emotions in check. According to Martin, he's on track to get his degree this May.
What else can you ask for from the vast majority of your players? Thanks to the recruiting of Martin, Dalonte Hill, and the rest of this staff, K-State now exceeds the national average for players likely to have a future playing basketball. Just in the Martin era, we've seen Michael Beasley and Bill Walker go on to the NBA, and on the current squad it's possible that Jacob Pullen, Wally Judge, and maybe one or two others will have a chance to make a living at some level playing basketball. And still, that leaves the vast majority of the squad to that NCAA ideal of "going pro in something other than sports."
So no, Luis Colon was not the most gifted basketball player ever to set foot on campus in Manhattan. But he worked hard for four years, grew up, got to play on some of the best teams we've had in the last 20 years, and he used his scholarship to change his life for the better. Thank you, and best of luck, Luis.