With a No. 2 BCS ranking, a Heisman Trophy leading candidate and a legendary head coach, it’s pretty easy to see how someone could get caught up in the excitement that surrounds K-State football. However, there’s another sport that has recently tipped off that deserves it’s own fair share of enthusiasm.
Basketball. You know, that other game we’re kind of good at.
Maybe it’s just these early games against inferior opponents or the result of having a championship caliber football season, but hoops chatter around campus has been deader than Geno Smith’s Heisman campaign lately.
But we’re chasing championships in football. We can’t be expected to show excitement for two sports at the same time, right? Wrong.
While other schools may see the relationship between basketball and football as mutually exclusive, K-State has been able to find balance in both.
Sure, basketball enthusiasm won’t be a problem come mid-January when the football season ends, but fans need to show support for both programs in this current period of overlapping seasons. They need to appreciate the fact that our athletic department has found success in multiple sports, because for a lot of schools that isn’t the case.
It can be easy to forget about that game with the bouncing ball and hoops when we’re in the thick of a national title hunt for football. So here’s a friendly reminder for those who have forgotten: it’s a pretty good time for K-State basketball as well.
Fresh off of a trip to their third consecutive NCAA tournament, this team returns four out of five starters from last year’s squad, including the program’s all-time shot-blocking leader in Jordan Henriquez and preseason first team all-Big 12 player Rodney McGruder. It doesn’t take a college basketball expert to see a recipe for success here.
Recent achievements aren’t the only reasons to be excited about the return of basketball; how about the program’s history? With 25 NCAA tournament appearances, 19 conference championships and 4 final four berths, Wildcat basketball has a tradition of winning that’s been established since before the days games were played in Ahearn Field House.
So why has the student section looked so deserted in the first two exhibition games? It couldn’t have been more than half way filled in either of the contests. I know that these early season games against the likes of Emporia State and Washburn aren’t exactly headliners, but it’s still worth coming out and seeing how the team looks under new head coach Bruce Weber.
Some fans seem to think that basketball season doesn’t begin until the football season ends, which is definitely not the case. Granted, the meat of the hoops season isn’t seen until conference play starts up in January, but the apparent mindset that only one sport can be supported at a time is both shallow and confusing. Why wouldn’t anyone want to keep up with how their traditionally successful basketball team is doing for the first two months of the season?
Wildcat fans should continue cherishing this year’s football season; it’s been a whirlwind of excitement within the K-State community, and rightfully so. But remember to spread that enthusiasm around to another sport that has been a staple of K-State athletics not only in recent years, but for decades. Basketball season has begun, and for some fan bases that means everything or nothing, but for K-State fans, it just means another opportunity to support a quality and successful program.
Donald Pepoon is a sophomore in business administration. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.