GoPowercat.com (K-State’s 247 site) is reporting that Nijel Pack will see his first action in over 20 days against Baylor on Wednesday.
Pack was stricken with this damnable plague after putting up 17 points against Texas Tech on January 5th. He is now recovered and ready to get back after it (on a minutes count) against the Baylor Bears on Wednesday.
Will it turn the tide for the Wildcats?
Short of bringing in Lebron and Zion, this is going to be a slaughter, but as tough as it is to say, the score doesn’t matter. Getting Pack and the rest of the freshman and sophomores as many minutes as possible down the stretch is the stretch is the only goal left on the table. My hope is that the young guys are taking copious notes while opponents turn the last 10-15 minutes of every game into a impromptu dunk contest for the deep reserves and go on a revenge tour in a few seasons...but enough about my revenge fantasies.
Before getting sick, Pack was a shimmering point of light in an otherwise ink black sky for the Wildcats. He’s second on the team in points per game at 10.7, but that’s not what impresses me the most about Nijel. He’s averaging 32.3 minutes a game as a true freshman and currently has 1 less steal (15) than he has turnovers (16). At the same time, he leads the team in assists per game with 3.6 (43 total). That’s an otherworldly 2.6/1 assist to turnover ratio for a guy that was playing high school basketball this time last year.
To put his assist/turnover ration into perspective, as a senior, Kamau Stokes had a 1.89/1 assist to turnover ratio. As a senior Barry Brown had a 1.47/1 assist to turnover ratio. Then take into consideration the Stokes and Brown were feeding the ball to guys like Dean Wade, Xavier Sneed and each other, while Pack is passing the ball to...well...whoever managed to get healthy enough to play. You’ve got to think his assist numbers would be significantly higher with a better supporting cast finishing off his passes.
Pack is quietly having one of the better freshman point guard seasons, in terms of both distributing and taking care of the ball, in the nation, and he’s also the most accurate 3 point shooter on the team at 37.7%. Also keep in mind that he’ll be a freshman again next year and has the looks of a 4 (or 5 in this case) year player for the Wildcats.
If you’re looking for some hope, I’d pin it on the future of #24 in purple. It’ll be nice to see him back on the court Wednesday.