Getting to know: Kansas State basketball recruits
Editor’s note: With the Kansas Jayhawks past the halfway point of the Big 12 slate, this blog will take a look ahead at the future of Kansas State. If you missed it the first time around: Get to know Kansas State basketball.
The Sunflower Showdown received a jolt in January, when the Kansas Jayhawks walked away with a 90-88 victory over Kansas State last month on a buzzer-beating layup by Svi Mykhailiuk.
That should make tonight’s rivalry clash one of the more anticipated games in recent seasons when the two teams tip off at 8 p.m. (ESPN).
In that game earlier this month, the Wildcats shot 51 percent from the floor and had all five starters in double figures. Dean Wade broke out with a 20-point performance while Wesley Iwundu had 17 points and seven rebounds.
Since the first matchup, the Wildcats have a 4-4 record, which includes a two-point road win over Baylor on Saturday. That ended a three-game losing streak (at Iowa State, at Tennessee, vs. TCU in OT).
“We just need to go with the right mind to K-State,” Mykhailiuk said. “They’re a really good team, capable of beating anyone and it’s gonna be really fun.”
The biggest key for the Wildcats is on the defensive end. During Big 12 play, Kansas State is allowing 68.6 points in its five wins and 77.8 points in its five losses.
And if you missed it earlier Monday, Matt Tait reported that Carlton Bragg Jr. will suit up tonight for the first time since he began an indefinite suspension.
Interesting note: Kansas State is 8-12 all-time on Big Monday, including 4-6 against Kansas.
Series history: Kansas leads 192-93. Jayhawks have a 24-4 record at Bramlage Coliseum.
Vegas says: Kansas by 3.
The Wildcats signed three players during the early signing period — one guard and two forwards. One of the forwards, Levi Stockard, traveled to Topeka for a high school basketball tournament last month.
Kansas State have one remaining scholarship available, but coach Bruce Weber said he was going to keep it open until at least later in the spring. The Wildcats will lose starters Wesley Iwundu and D.J. Johnson to graduation.
G Mike McGuirl | 6-2, 175
A three-star prospect by Rivals, McGuirl chose the Wildcats over offers from Quinnipiac, Brown and NJIT.
The Ellington, Connecticut native was an all-state selection last year, averaging 19 points, six rebounds, four assists and four blocks per game, helping his team to a state title.
He played most of last season with a mask after sustaining multiple facial fractures while being fouled on a layup attempt. After sitting out a few games, McGuirl said it helped him "appreciate the game more. I missed it more than I realized."
Known as a shooter who can fire away from anywhere on the court, McGuirl said he first received interest from the Wildcats when he had a good AAU game in July.
QUOTE: “As a staff we are always on the lookout for that up-and-coming player and Mike is someone who caught our attention this summer. He really had a nice summer and played with a lot of confidence,” KSU coach Bruce Weber said. “He is a versatile, physical guard who can play both positions. He can score in a lot of different ways.”
F Levi Stockard III | 6-8, 240
A forward from Vashon High in St. Louis, Stockard became the school’s first player to sign with a Div. I program in a decade. He chose the Wildcats over Xavier, mostly recruited by associate head coach Chris Lowery.
Stockard, a three-star recruit by Rivals, averaged 10 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game as a junior. He helped his team to a Class 4 title in Missouri.
A quiet personality, Stockard played three games at the Topeka Invitational Tournament in January. Weber was in attendance for the first round game, watching Stockard score 16 points over Topeka High. Stockard’s team eventually won the title.
He’s the latest player from the St. Louis pipeline. The Wildcats have two St. Louis-area players on their team: Johnson and Xavier Sneed. Stockard was a tight end and defensive end in football.
QUOTE: “Levi is a versatile combo big man with great hands and great feet,” Weber said. “He has skills to be out on the perimeter and has a very nice shooting touch with the ability to score with both his right and left hands. He is also a great passer. We like the fact that he played football which will only add to his physicality on the court.”
PF Nigel Shadd | 6-9, 238
Committed to the Wildcats after Weber traveled to Arizona to watch Shadd in a workout during September. Shadd made an official visit about a week later and committed immediately afterward.
A three-star recruit by Rivals from Tri City Christian Academy in Chandler, Ariz., Shadd chose the Wildcats over offers from Northern Colorado and Weber State.
This season, he’s led his high school to an 18-1 record. He’s averaging 18.3 points, 13.7 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game while shooting 70 percent from the floor. He’s already set a school record for blocked shots.
He plays in a gym that is in a building that also includes a K-12 school, a church, a preschool and Chandler School of Fine Arts.
QUOTE: “We feel like Nigel is a perfect replacement for D.J. (Johnson) with a similar body,” Weber said. “He is very strong and athletic and will give us a tremendous presence on the inside. He is very physical in the post and a big-time rebounder. He just loves to rebound. He also plays very hard. We feel like his best basketball is ahead of him.”