K-State basketball had their first open scrimmage on Saturday, giving fans their first look at the 2013-14 team.
It’s early in the year, but freshman guard Marcus Foster already is growing into a very good player. Foster played well on both sides of the floor. On offense, he was able to score and create plays for his teammates. His most exciting play came when he tossed up an alley-oop to fellow freshman guard Nigel Johnson, who slammed the ball home.
With lots of question marks in the lineup following the departure of three seniors and point guard Angel Rodriguez, who transferred to Miami, Foster could be asked to step in and take a significant role quickly.
“That’s always been a part of my game. Coming in right away, and just playing,” Foster said. “I feel like I can do that for this team. I like to play with confidence. I don’t like to sit back and learn all this stuff; I want to be out there playing, learning hands on.”
Freshman forward Wesley Iwundu was another a player who fans were clambering to get a look at. Iwundu played a lot in Saturday’s scrimmage, but didn’t quite stick out like Foster did. Iwundu was a three-star high school prospect, so there’s no doubting his talent. He will benefit from learning under senior Shane Southwell throughout the course of the year.
“Later down the road I might have to follow in his footsteps a little bit, you know take that role,” Iwundu said about Southwell. “I go to Shane for a lot of things. You know, in practice kind of watch after him, see the things he’s doing. He’s just like a mentor.”
Southwell showed his versatility during the scrimmage by playing defense on smaller players on the perimeter, as well as posting up on large forwards in the paint. Southwell was able to shoot from the outside and cut into the lane and create points from himself.
“You got an experienced guy that’s smart, who’s versatile,” said coach Bruce Weber of his senior Southwell. “ There’s no doubt he’s made a lot of strides. You saw him go to the basket, shot fakes, pull-ups, things like that. So he’s expanded his game.”
Freshmen will be a big part of this teams’ success. However, Weber does not want to rely on the young, inexperienced players early in the season. He would prefer seniors like Southwell and guard Will Spradling to do the bulk of the heavy lifting initially for K-State.
“I hope we don’t have to [rely on the younger guys]. Marcus is going to have to play. Wesley is going to have to play. Just body-wise we need them to play,” Weber said. “If we’ve got to depend on them to give us 35 minutes each, then we’ll probably struggle early. That means if we don’t have to depend on them, then the older guys are doing what they are supposed to.”