Tuesday brings a little more news than Monday. But we’re still several days away from the men’s basketball team getting back on the floor to try to redeem themselves after whatever that effort was against Texas A&M. In the meantime, Coach Klieman filled two more roster spots and continues to seek players who can help his first Kansas State football team compete in the fall.
Two players announced commitments to K-State yesterday, speedy 5’11 athlete Joshua Youngblood, from Tampa, Florida and Clyde Price, a bruising 6’1 running back from Kansas City. Youngblood had 44 scholarship offers and decommitted from Temple to join the Cats. Price, whose highlight reel shows impressive power, vision and top-end speed, suggested in his social media announcement that he may have some academic work to do in order to qualify. Our own Drew Schneider broke down Price’s skill set, comparing him favorably to last year’s K-State starter at tailback, Alex Barnes.
Both Youngblood and Price fill needs and could contribute immediately. K-State is also working hard to recruit 6-3, 300-pound defensive tackle Matthew Pola-Mao.
The mountainous but mobile prospect has an impressive list of programs after him, including Arizona, Arizona State, Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee, USC and Nebraska, but he is scheduled to visit Manhattan this Friday to see Coach Klieman’s vision for K-State firsthand, suggesting the Wildcats may be seriously in the mix for his services. Pola-Mao is of Polynesian descent and plays in balmy Arizona, so let’s hope the polar vortex leaves Kansas before he arrives on campus.
Many of us expected the Wildcats to re-enter the Top-25 this week after running off five straight victories in the Big 12. Laying an ostrich egg in College Station Saturday scuttled those expectations, though the Cats are still receiving votes. The disappointing loss undid positive progress in the eyes of voters, without a doubt. Fortunately, it did not affect the Wildcats’ position as co-leaders of the Big 12, and the outcome of match-ups between K-State and KU could go a long way toward determining this season’s league champion.
In the grand scheme, maybe failing in a pointless January interruption of league play could help the Wildcats focus on their shortcomings and dial in on what needs to be done to reach more important goals. Dean Wade and Coach Weber cited lack of energy and focus—both in practice and in the game—as reasons the team failed against Texas A&M.
For a little throwback to the past, in preparation for his South Carolina squad’s date with No. 1 Tennessee, Frank Martin recalled the night his former K-State squad took down another No. 1 team led by Coach Rick Barnes, when the No. 9 Wildcats smashed No. 1 Texas on big Monday in January of 2010. That’s the game when Bob Knight chided K-State fans for chanting “overrated.” But the fear-the-beard crowd did not care. The article includes video of that big night on Big Monday in the Little Apple, so you will want to enjoy that nostalgic trip back in time. (Sidebar: Can that really have been nine years ago? Wow.)
Coming off a disastrous performance in which his team scored only 30 points and shot 20 percent from the field, including 0-for-18 from three-point range, Jeff Mittie will try to gather the troops as K-State (13-7, 4-4 Big 12) approaches the season’s mid-point game against TCU (14-5, 4-4). Just like the men’s squad, the women are focused on showing they are not as bad as they looked in their last outing.
Track and Field
After breaking his native New Zealand’s national record for points scored in a heptathlon at the Razorback Invitational last week, Aaron Booth has found new confidence and raised his sights toward loftier expectations than he thought possible before. His first mission might be to surpass the K-State record set by Mantas Silkauskas in 2011. With his 5,819 points in Arkansas, Booth fell only three points shy of tying that record.