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Kansas State Basketball: Desi Sills Commits!

The Wildcats plucked an experienced guard from the transfer portal today!

Arkansas v Baylor Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Kansas State added a transfer to 2022-2023 basketball roster today when former Arkansas player and current Arkansas State transfer Desi Sills announced his intentions to play for Coach Tang and the Wildcats next season.

Much like Mark Smith last season, Sills will use his Covid impact year in order to head to Manhattan and play ball, and there should be plenty of ball for him to play.

As a Recruit

According to Rivals, Sills was a 3* point guard from Jonesboro, Arkansas who was a member of Arkansas’s 2018 recruiting class. He signed with Arkansas over offers from Arkansas-Little Rock, Missouri, Southern Methodist and UAB. He led Jonesboro High School to back-to-back State Championships.

At Arkansas/Arkansas State

*Stats Courtesy of Sports Reference

Desi Sills Stats

Season Team Games Played Games Started Minutes FG% 2P% 3P% FT% Rebounds Assists Steals Turnovers Points
Season Team Games Played Games Started Minutes FG% 2P% 3P% FT% Rebounds Assists Steals Turnovers Points
18-19 Arkansas 34 8 17.1 44 42 46 70 1.3 1.7 0.6 1.6 5.3
19-20 Arkansas 32 24 31.2 43 53 33 65 3 1.2 0.9 1.4 10.6
20-21 Arkansas 32 15 20.7 43 52 32 66 2.7 1.6 1 1.1 7.5
21-22 Arkansas St. 28 27 29.7 45 55 26 73 3.6 2.8 1.8 2.5 12.6

Sills ran hot and cold during his 3 seasons at Arkansas, and that’s sort of who he is on the court. When he’s on, he’s really on, and when he’s off, he’s really off. He looked like a budding star for the Razorbacks down the stretch of the 2019-2020 season, hitting double digits in 9 of his last 11 games, including a 21 point outburst against Georgia followed by a 20 point in 25 minute annihilation of Vanderbilt in the SEC Conference Tournament (then Covid hit).

He struggled to find that same form in the 20-21 season. He started hot, scoring in double digits in 7 of his first 9 games, including 23 points against Auburn, but then the bottom fell out. He would only hit double figures in 3 games the rest of the way, and his minutes were cut substantially. His best game was a 22 point outing against Auburn, who I recommend Coach Tang schedule ASAP because Sills goes off when he sees orange and blue on the opposite side of the court.

He played significant minutes (I’m assuming because of injury, I don’t remember) in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 for Arkansas, but only scored 7 points total in the tournament.

He intended to transfer to Auburn after the 20-21 season, but some wires got crossed in terms of academics and he ended up going home and playing for Arkansas State.

He was the second leading scorer for an 18-11 Red Wolves squad that saw their season end in a defeat to Georgia State in the Conference USA tournament. Overall, his season for Arkansas State was more up than down. He broke 20 points twice, and scored in double digits in 18/28 games. He played against 2 power conference teams, putting up 8 against Illinois and 3 against Texas Tech (although he did have 9 assists vs the Red Raiders). All-in-all, his return home was productive, but not spectacular.

Scouting Report

I watched the Arkansas State play both Coastal Carolina and Louisiana. These are my initial impressions.

Pro

Solid on ball defender

Good court vision off the drive

Extremely left handed, but uses that to lull defenders to sleep before driving left

Aggressive in the open court

Plays with energy

Con

Will get caught ball watching off the ball and will gamble for steals

Not explosive at the rim, struggles to finish over height

Extremely left handed around the rim, will do whatever it takes to get the ball to his left hand.

Does not want to catch and shoot, turned down multiple open looks

Overall

Good, not great player. He didn’t stand out on the film I watched as high-major guy playing on a mid-major team. He blended in well with Arkansas State and didn’t force things, but sometimes Arkansas State was in desperate need of someone to force things. Looked to be an engaged teammate and will play hard. His jumper, or lack thereof, is a serious concern. He’s going to have to take open 3s when they present themselves in the Big12, and he had no interest in doing so in the games I watched for Arkansas State.

How He Fits at Kansas State

First and foremost, he’s an experienced basketball player. He’ll be a starter from day 1. He played off the ball at Arkansas State, but initiated a good bit of their offense from the wing. He’s listed as a combo guard, but he strikes me more as a point guard. When he’s off the ball, he’s not looking to get in position to score, he’s looking to get the ball back.

He gives the Wildcat’s another option to run pick and roll. I like him more as a passer than a finisher at the rim. He was able to drop a few impressive dimes to big guys off the dribble in the games I watched. He’s also a willing post entry passer, and does a good job of putting his pass in the proper location for the big.

I’m not sure how he fits with Nowell in the backcourt. They have similar games, although Nowell is the significantly better shooter. I can see Sills running pick and roll with Nowell creating space, but from what I’ve seen, it won’t work the other way around. This team is still in desperate need of shooting.

He’s a solid on ball defender but will gamble and get burned on occasion. He doesn’t have the height of a normal wing, and K-State will run into the same problem it had last year with the Nowell and Pack back court. He does play hard and will hit the floor in pursuit of a lose ball, which is always a positive.

He has an established floor, and I expect him to meet that level of production for the Wildcats, but I don’t see huge upside unless he gets his jumper straightened out. Based on last year, he’ll be a solid 2nd or 3rd scoring option. Overall a solid and much needed acquisition, but doesn’t move the needle much in terms of the overall potential of the team. This team still needs shooters and size inside. Hopefully a few more options open up over the next few months.