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SLATE: Preseason nominations continue to pile up for the Wildcats

Ayoka Lee got a big nomination, and some football players not-named Deuce Vaughn in being recognized this week.

Kansas State v Washington State Photo by Scott Taetsch/NCAA Photos via Getty Images


Kansas State all-star and All-American center Ayoka Lee has been nominated for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year award coming off a season that saw her set the NCAA women’s basketball single-game scoring record, and leading her squad to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Lee, who has elected to use her extra Covid-year to return to K-State for one more go-round, was selected by the Big 12 Senior Women’s Administrators for consideration for the honor and is among 53 nominees from conference offices at the Division I level. There is a long process now after the nomination, with the winner finally announced this coming January at the NCAA Convention.

Team Purple & Black, the K-State alumni group in The Basketball Tournament (TBT), advanced out of the first round on, what else, a game-winning shot from Jacob Pullen, but fell in game two after losing starter Justin Edwards early to an injury. Pullen’s game-winning shot evoked many great memories for K-State fans, and led to at least one Gus Johnson over-dub of the shot. Despite being listed on the roster, Michael Beasley was never actually able to make it to Wichita for the games, and that, along with a couple of other pre-tournament scratches, forced P&B to play both games with a tight roster. The Wichita State alumni group, the Aftershocks, won the Wichita regional and will play the Gutter Cat Gang this evening at Koch Arena in the TBT quarterfinals.


This week opened with a bang for Chris Klieman and the Wildcats, as on Monday they picked up a commitment from 3-star defensive end Ran Davis out of Glendale, AZ. Davis, listed at 6’5” 240lbs, continues the Arizona pipeline for the Wildcats, who have had at least one recruit from The Grand Canyon State in every class except 2020 since Klieman arrived in Manhattan.

Also on Monday, Julius Brents was named to the watch list for the Jim Thorpe award, present annually to the best defensive back in college football. Brents becomes the first Wildcat on the preseason watch list since D.J. Reed made it on before the start of the 2017 season. Brents was one of three defensive backs from the Big 12 to make the preseason list this year, and will look to become the first Cats since 2013 to make it to at least the semifinal round. K-State has had three semi finalists (Jaime Mendez (1993), Nigel Malone (2011 and 2012), and Ty Zimmerman (2013)), one finalist (Chris Canty (1995 and 1996)), and of course Terence Newman won the award at the end of his incredible 2002 season.

Then two more preseason watch lists came out yesterday with Wildcats on the list, as Felix Anudike-Uzomah was one of 85 players named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list, while offensive lineman Cooper Beebe was named one of 89 players on the Outland Trophy watch list. The Nagurski Trophy is presented to the nation’s most outstanding defensive player, while the Outland Trophy goes to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman on either side of the ball. King Felix’s inclusion on the Nagurski preseason list marks the 11th time in the last 12 years a Wildcat has been up for the award, with 2021 being the lone year missing from the run. For the Outland, Beebe is the first Wildcat since Dalton Risner in 2018 to garner preseason consideration.