Jerome Tang and the Kansas State men’s basketball team received some very welcome news yesterday, when 4-star guard Darren ‘Dai Dai’ Ames announced his commitment to the Wildcats. Ames, a 6’1 point-guard out of Chicago, is the first commit to the 2023 recruiting class, and just the second high school commit landed by Tang and his new staff in Manhattan. Ames is a consensus Top 60 recruit for the class, and the highest rated recruit to commit to the program since Wally Judge. 247’s recruiting analyst compared him to Baylor’s LJ Cryer. Ames picked K-State over serious offers from Illinois, Marquette, Maryland, and Michigan State among a host of others.
The complete schedule is now out, after K-State released the full non-conference slate for the 2022-23 season. The slate includes eight home games, highlighted by the return of Wichita State to the Little Apple for the first time since 2003, as well as a match-up with Nebraska in Kansas City at the T-Mobile Center, and big road games against Cal in early November and Butler as part of the Big 12/Big East Battle series. The game against Cal is part of recently-signed a home-and-home series that starts this season, with the game in Manhattan to come in the 2024-25 season.
Oh, and not to be forgotten, The Purple and Black, the K-State alumni team competing in The TBT Tournament, finalized their star power and look to be favorites now in their region. They start play this weekend in Wichita, with their opening round game on Friday (7/22) at 6pm CDT. You can watch the game on ESPN3 if you can’t make it to Koch Arena.
Three current Wildcats heard their name called in the 2022 MLB Draft earlier this week, headlined by Dylan Phillips 8th round selection by the Los Angeles Angels on Monday. Phillips was a two-time All-Big 12 Second Team selection in his four seasons in Manhattan, and claimed the K-State career home run record this season, knocking 44 homers to pass Scott Peopard’s 37 that had stood since 1997. Phillips becomes the fourth pick in the top 10 rounds for the Wildcats in the past four seasons. The Omaha native was also a strong relief pitcher for K-State, and earned all-tournament recognition as a relief pitcher after collecting two saves in three appearances during the 2022 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship.
On tuesday, two more Cats heard their names called, and in back-to-back picks in the 13th round, Blake Adams and Dominic Johnson were selected by the Colorado Rockies and Detroit Tigers, respectively.
Adams pitched just one season for K-State after transferring from Arkansas, but made 17 appearances with 13 weekend starts, going 6-6 with a 5.07 ERA and lead the team tossing 90 strikeouts (finishing 9th in the Big 12 in strikeouts). During the Cats’ semifinal run at the Big 12 Championship, the right-hander struck out nine over 6 2/3 innings to earn the win against West Virginia in an elimination game.
Johnson also played just one season in Manhattan after transferring from Oklahoma State, but was a 2022 All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection after starting 57 games for K-State and leading the BatCats in all three slash categories, batting .345 with a .419 on-base percentage and a .593 slugging percentage. He was also the team leader in hits (78), doubles (20), runs (45) and stolen bases (12) while ranking second with 12 homers. He also had a hitting streak of 16 games from February 27th to March 27th, marking the longest hitting streak at K-State since 2010.
Since we last saw you for a Slate, K-State football added their 13th commit to the star-studded 2023 class, as offensive lineman Jackson Fullmer pledged his services to the Wildcats. Fullmer, hailing from Meridian, ID, is a 6’5 280lb line prospect that projects at offensive tackle, and chose K-State over offers from Boise State, Colorado, and Washington State among others. Fullmer is the second offensive line commit in the class, joining KC’s Camden Beebe.
Also since we last saw you, the Big 12 Conference held it’s annual Media Days event in Arlington, TX, and you can check out the full coverage from the K-State SID at K-StateSports.com. But for those of you longing for yesterday, and the veiled press conferences of Bill Snyder, we have your hook-up, as Luke Thompson translated Chris Klieman back into Snyder-speak.
Of course Deuce Vaughn is racking up the preseason accolades, would you except any different for the Consensus All-American?
Just this week, Vaughn was named to the Maxwell Award Watch List as one of 85 players to watch for the award given annually to the outstanding player in college football. It’s the second straight season that Vaughn has been up for the award, and the second straight season a Wildcat has been on the watch list to start the season after Skylar Thompson opened the season on the watch list in 2021.
He was also, of course, named as a candidate for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nations top college running back. Vaughn started last season on the watch list and was a semifinalist for the award last season, joining Darren Sproles (finalist, 2003) and Daniel Thomas (semifinalist, 2010) in the late rounds of the selection process after starting the season on the watch list.
Track & Field
A couple K-State alumni had big weekends at the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Janee’ Kassanavoid captured the bronze medal in the women’s hammer throw on Sunday afternoon with a throw of 74.86m/245-7. She was part of the Team USA contingent that won two of three medals in the event, with her teammate taking the gold medal with a toss at darn-near 79 meters.
And while she didn’t place, Beverly Ramos did set the Puerto Rican national record in the women’s marathon on Monday with a time of 2:31.10 for a 20th-place finish (out of 40). It was over 5 minutes better than her previous high mark of the season set back in April, and over 90 seconds faster than her previous career high, set during a race in 2021.