Kansas State’s TBT team (Purple and Black) has assembled all the pieces to complete the EMAW Megatron.
Jacob Pullen and Henry (Bill) Walker have been locked in for a while, but Beasley was the final piece. Without him, this team had a chance to advance deep into the tournament, with him, they are one of the favorites (in my humble opinion).
Beasley played hard to get (publicly), but Jacob Pullen, ever the team leader, was on the case.
Yooo @Michael8easley u gone play tbt wit me and bill lol y’all retweet this till he respond— Jacob Pullen (@Jpullz0) June 30, 2022
If Pullen wasn’t enough (he probably was) of a draw, Beasley also received a message from the higher power.
When Coach Martin fired up the Powercat signal and shined it over the Flint Hills, it was a wrap.
As you can see, Beasley sent this tweet out on June 30th, but nothing was official yet (although Beasley giving Coach Martin his word is about as official as it gets if history is any indicator).
The Purple and Black teamed played this like a seasoned wrestling promoter. They built up the suspense, dropped a few hints....
and then just before the opening bell, Michael Beasley emerged from behind the curtain.
What we all have been waiting for!!— Purple & Black 2022 TBT (@PurpleBlack2K21) July 18, 2022
Well the wait is over!!
Our most recent Roster Update!!
Here It is!! pic.twitter.com/faRoHhggPV
Purple and Black Star Power
PG - Jacob Pullen - Kansas State
PG - MoMo Jones - Arizona and Iona
SG - Mike McGuirl - Kansas State
SG - Terrence Joyner - Mississippi Valley State
SG - Justin Edwards - Maine and Kansas State
SF - Michael Beasley - Kansas State
SF - Henry (Bill) Walker - Kansas State
PF/C - Thomas Gipson III - Kansas State
PF/C - Khalid Thomas - Portland State
Head Coach/ GM - Jordan (Jo) Henriquez-Roberts
Assistant Coach - Martavious Irving
Hypothetical Starting Lineup
Guard - Jacob Pullen
Guard - Justin Edwards
Wing - Henry Walker
Wing - Michael Beasley
Post - Thomas Gipson
I didn’t go with traditional positions for this, because for the most part, these guys are interchangeable. This is a team of athletes that can get up and down the court and thrive in transition. Pullen and Edwards can both play on or off the ball. Pullen is in range once he crosses half court and can still get to the rim. Edwards should compliment Pullen’s game nicely and could be on either end of a drive and kick with his backcourt partner.
Walker, Beasley and Gipson are all exceptional athletes who can get up and down the court. One thing I’ve noticed in the TBT is big guys tend to eventually get run off the court. This won’t be a problem for this triumvirate, in fact, they will be the ones running other front court guys off the court. Beasley is the score everywhere, do everything star. Walker is the tough as nails rim punisher. Gipson outworks everyone in the paint and helps clean up anything that doesn’t go in the hoop. These guys mesh will together and shouldn’t be fighting with each other for their preferred spot on the court.
I went with Edwards as the starter because he’s played in the TBT before, but there are no bad choices off the bench. MoMo Jones was good at Arizona and Iona (2003 MAAC Player of the Year) and has been playing overseas for a decade. Joyner is a seasoned overseas vet, and we all know what McGuirl can do when he gets hot.
Khalid Thomas is the front court depth (expect a 3 guard lineup when either Beasley or Walker need a rest). Like McGuirl, he’s a recent graduate, and should be in great shape. He’s 6’10”, 210 and can get up and down the court. He averaged 13 points and 6 rebounds a game last season at Portland State and can play either the 4 or 5 for Purple and Black. He won’t be counted on to score, but should provide solid rim protection and rebounding.
I love this roster for the TBT tournament. Henriquez-Roberts didn’t assemble an all-star team, he assembled a coherent roster that should thrive in the TBT tournament setting. It’s easy to slot guys into their role and there isn’t much overlap in terms of offensive skill sets. There is defensive versatility and plenty of rebounding. Size could be an issue, but size doesn’t tend to stay on the court in the TBT.
After watching a good bit of the TBT last year (and several early round games this year), I’ve come to the conclusion that above all else, this tournament is about bucket-getters. Ball movement is nice, defense is a bonus, rebounding is important, but at the end of the day, this tournament is designed for guys who can put the ball in the hoop.
I don’t need to tell y’all, but Pullen, Walker, and Beasley are all willing and able scorers.
This team has the parts to go all the way. Single elimination tournaments are capricious by nature, but this team’s scoring depth should insulate it from the ups and downs in The Tournament. If Beasley has an off night, Pullen can carry the scoring. If Pullen has an off night, Beasley can carry the scoring. If both Pullen and Beasley are off, Walker is more than capable of stepping up and filling the void. If 2 of the 3 are on, this squad is going to be tough to beat.
If all 3 are on their game, I don’t see them losing.
Charles Koch Arena
(3) Purple and Black vs (6) Lone Star Legends - 6 PM CT
You can get a Kansas Basketball 2-fer on Friday night if you’re in the Wichita area. Not only do you get to jump in a time machine and see some of the best players to ever grace the floor for K-State, but as an added bonus, you can stick around and scout the Aftershocks (Wichita State) in the second game of the session on the same ticket.
You can find ticket at the TBT Tournament Site.