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SLATE: Awards abound for K-State basketball

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Three Wildcats pick up awards, plus a new football coach.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Women’s Basketball

After her “NCAA D1 women’s basketball record-breaking” 61-point performance in K-State’s 94-65 blowout win over Oklahoma on Sunday, Ayoka Lee was of course named Big 12 Player of the Week as well as ESPN.com National Player of the Week. Lee is on pace to shatter a bunch of K-State records for efficiency and effectiveness (like double-doubles and points per game average), but somewhat surprisingly is behind pace to take over spots in career points and rebounds. And just because you needed it, from NCAA.com, here’s 20 things to know about K-State’s all-star. Oh, and if you were worried, Lee isn’t planning on leaving early for the WNBA (though she should be a first-round pick), and wants to complete her master’s degree at K-State.

But it wasn’t just Ayoka Lee that was honored by the Big 12, as Jaelyn Glenn took home the Big 12 Freshman of the Week honor, her first of the season, after stuffing the stat sheet in both of K-State’s victories this past week. Jaelyn is the third Wildcat to pick up the FotW honor, joining Serena Sundell (3x) and her twin sister Brylee Glenn (2x). The Glenn’s also became the first sisters to both earn Big 12 Freshman of the Week honors in the history of the league. It’s been an outstanding start to their K-State careers for the trio from Missouri.

On the heels of the record-setting performance, K-State Athletics has announced a series of ticket promotions for women’s basketball that went on sale at 6:10pm yesterday. All the deals revolve around the number 61, and include $1 tickets, season ticket packages, and packs for upcoming games.

Oh, and the Wildcats have cracked back into the AP Top 25, again settling in at No. 25 this week. Now the goal will be to hold on to that spot (and keep moving up), and they’ll have a great opportunity to turn heads with a visit to Austin on Wednesday to face the No. 15/14 Longhorns.

Men’s Basketball

While the women were able to knock off KU in Bramlage back on Wednesday night (and sweep through their week), the men were unable to duplicate the feat, coming from ahead to lose 78-75 (again) to KU on Saturday, despite a career performance from Nijel Pack. Pack’s 35-point outburst against KU was enough to get him tabbed as co-Big 12 Player of the Week, the first such honor of his career; and he becomes the first Wildcat to get the award since Cartier Diarra earned the honor on December 30th, 2019. Pack’s partner for the Big 12 award was KU guard Ochai Abaji, and the two combined for 64 points on Saturday, the second-most points by opposing players in the series. Pack’s 8 3pt makes tied for the K-State record in a conference game, matching Steve Henson’s mark against Iowa State in 1990. Bill Self had high praise for Pack in his post game comments, as did Nijel’s teammates.

There’s no rest for the weary in the Big 12, and the Wildcats are back in action tonight against their fourth-straight ranked foe, as they are in Waco to face the No. 4/4 Baylor Bears. Tonight’s game tips at 7pm and can be seen on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ (because ESPN is blatantly trying to screw over the Big 12 at this point).

Former Wildcat All-American Michael Beasley is making one more attempt at a return to the NBA, and had a great interview with HoopsHype (a part of the USA Today network) about his life and future goals.

Also, be sure and check back later today for the latest edition of Bring on the PodCats!

Football

Back on Sunday, the Kansas State football team picked up the verbal commitment of a quarterback for the 2022 class, Adryan Lara of Goodyear, Arizona. The 6’1” 170lbs signal-caller is listed as a “pro-style” QB, and is a consensus 3-star recruit. Lara was originally committed to Washington State when Nick Rolovich was still coach, but decommitted not long before the early signing period opened due to the staff turnover in Pullman. He’s a development pickup with a strong arm, and shouldn’t be expected to play anytime soon.

Yesterday, Chris Klieman announced that Brian Lepak, who had been on the staff as a senior offensive quality control coach (and assistant director of recruiting), will become a full-time assistant for the 2022 season coaching tight ends and fullbacks. Lepak became the interim coach at the position in December, replacing Courtney Messingham for the bowl prep and game, and drew rave reviews from coaches and players from that period. Lepak, and Oklahoma native, played at Colorado State and Oklahoma as an offensive lineman, and was on the Sooners 2010 Big 12 Title team. He’s a man of all trades, with degrees in Accounting and Finance from OU, as well as a law degree from OU and was admitted to the Oklahoma Bar Association in 2014. He spent the 2014-16 seasons as a grad assistant on Indiana’s staff before going back to OU to spend three years as a grad assistant there. Before coming to K-State for this past season, he was the offensive line coach and running game coordinator at Southern.