Time for doubting Bruce Weber is over

Emily DeShazer | The Collegian Coach Weber yells during the KU game in Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 11.

For a head coach who led his team to a conference championship in his first year, Bruce Weber entered the 2013-14 season with an abnormal amount of criticism from his fan base.

Many were skeptical if Weber would be able to find success without relying on the players that other coaches recruited, like Rodney McGruder and Martavious Irving, that had been critical in obtaining a share of the 2013 Big 12 title. At his previous job with the University of Illinois, Weber’s 2005 squad made it to the national title game of the NCAA tournament, but relied heavily on players recruited by Weber’s predecessor, Kansas head coach Bill Self.

Criticism is nothing new in the Weber era of K-State basketball; critics were most vocal at the time of Weber’s hiring in the spring of 2012. Many seemed bewildered by the fact that their next basketball coach was fired by his previous employer. If Weber couldn’t sustain success at Illinois, he couldn’t be successful here, could he?

As Weber nears the end of his second season at the helm of the K-State basketball program, the questions surrounding his hiring can be now answered with confidence. Every shred of doubt that still lingered with Weber as he entered this season has been debunked.

Yes, he can recruit. Yes, he can be successful here. Yes, he was the right hire.

Yes, he can recruit
Critics questioned his ability to recruit, since neither of his first two recruiting classes seemed to carry much star power.

This season has shown why recruiting ability shouldn’t be measured by a number of stars attributed to players by a website, but by their production on the court. Marcus Foster is the best freshman to wear a K-State uniform since Michael Beasley, and every other member of this year’s class has seen major minutes on the court throughout the season.

The 2013-14 Wildcats weren’t supposed to be the kind of dangerous team that they have become. Picked to finish tied for fifth in the preseason conference rankings, most analysts viewed this season as a rebuilding year for K-State. After seeing three key seniors graduate from last season’s team, and the departures of star point guard Angel Rodriguez and center Adrian Diaz, few experts gave K-State much of a chance of making the NCAA tournament.

Yes, he can be successful
Despite all of the offseason obstacles and early season struggles, the Wildcats now appear to be a solid lock to go to the Big Dance in March. They have notched an impressive list of quality wins, including an 85-82 upset of in-state rival Kansas.

Disagreement and debate amongst fans seem to have overshadowed much of Weber’s tenure at K-State thus far, as pro-Weber and anti-Weber factions took to arguing on Internet message boards over the validity of Weber’s coaching ability.

The body of work that Weber has put together in his short time here has been nothing short of remarkable. Winning a conference title is something the likes of Lon Kruger and Frank Martin were never able to do at K-State. While fans are always entitled to their own opinions, there is one thing that can’t be debated: Weber has earned the unquestioned support of the K-State community.

Yes, he was the right hire
If fans were able to forget Weber’s record at Illinois, he would have been declared the messiah to K-State basketball last season. Previous struggles should not be taken into account when assessing Weber’s tenure at K-State; both of his Wildcat teams have exceeded expectations and have kept the K-State basketball brand as strong as ever.

There is no longer any logical reason for the K-State fan base to be divided between “pro-Weber” or “anti-Weber” opinions. If you support K-State, you support Weber. Period.