“On if Skylar Thompson will be available... ’I would say not likely this week.’”
Not exactly the words Kansas State Wildcats fans wanted to hear from head coach Chris Klieman at his weekly press conference. Of course, that could still be some gamesmanship on the part of Klieman, but it’s still a blow to K-State fans who were hoping for a quicker return for the super-senior. And it’s not just Thompson that’s questionable, Will Howard and TJ Smith are still recovering from the injuries they sustained this past weekend, Daniel Imatorbhebhe is likely to miss his second game, but at least Reggie Stubblefield looks to be back this week.
Nearly lost in the shuffle from the start of the season, K-State and Nike quietly agreed to a three-year extension. The deal was needed as the old contract expired back in August, but AD Gene Taylor was not ready to commit at this time to a larger extension with Nike or a search for a new apparel vendor due to all the disruptions in the apparel market due to COVID. The new deal, with details still being finalized, will allow K-State some time to begin exploring long-term options with Nike, or explore partnerships with one of the other major vendors (Under Armor, Adidas, etc). But the contract is not what’s stopping the football team from getting new uniforms (heck, the basketball team has had several new things the last few years), it’s more of an issue with timing related to the pandemic as well as supply chain issues and staffing issues within the athletic department (and maybe just a bit of superstition).
The Wildcats men’s golf team had a strong final round, enough to move up one spot on the day to finish in 6th place at the Old Town Club Collegiate Invitational (and just one stroke shy of 5th in the 15-team field). A 5-under 275 in the final round pushed them ahead of Penn State and Wake Forest, but it wasn’t enough to keep ahead of SMU’s blistering 12-under 268 that pushed them up four spots to 5th place. The Wildcats were paced by Cooper Schultz who shot a 7-under 203 to finish in a tie for 7th, and he was joined in the top 20 by Tim Tillmans and Will Hopkins, who both shot a 3-under 207 to finish in a tie for 19th.
Next up is a trip to Sugar Grove, Illinois, to compete in the Rich Harvest Farms Intercollegiate this Saturday through Monday, and golf fans will recognize the course as the home of the 2021 Arnold Palmer Cup.
After a few days off, the Wildcats get back to action this week, as they will head east to face KU in Lawrence on Thursday. The Wildcats (5-6-0, 0-2-0) and the Jayhawks (5-6-1, 0-2-0) sports very similar records, and both will be looking for the first Big 12 victory (or at least non-loss) of the season. Last year, the Cats and the Jayhawks squared off a rare three times, though only once in Big 12 play, with KU taking both games in Manhattan, while the teams played to a scoreless tie at the game in Lawrence (that was just back in March). The match will be available on Big 12 Now on ESPN+, but will run by the crew in Lawrence, so expect a heavy KU tilt if you decide to stream the match.