Thoughts on men’s basketball 80-42 exhibition win

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K-State freshman guard Karmau Stokes dribbles around ESU senior guard Charles McKinney during the Men's Basketball game between K-State and Emporia State on Oct. 30, 2015 in Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats defeated the Hornets in the exhibition opener 80-42. (Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

Sports editor Tim Everson and lead basketball beat writer Andrew Hammond give their separate takes of K-State’s 80-42 win over Emporia State in the first of two exhibition games.

Tim’s take

Stretching back to this summer, the 2015-16 iteration of this team’s message was clear: “Last season was last season; we’re worried about now.”

This message was the best and only way to start off this year after everything that went on with last year’s problem child of a season. Friday’s 80-42 win over Emporia State, however, was the first time the team had a chance to showcase that mentality.

Keeping in mind that this Hornets team is nowhere near the caliber of a Big 12 basketball team, Friday was encouraging.

Effort was abundant. Young guys who were getting their first experience playing under the lights of Bramlage Coliseum – albeit with a fairly light crowd due to poor weather, a Royals game and a Manhattan High football game – looked confident and seemed to be having fun.

The veteran players seemed to fit their new role of leaders for this very young but extremely promising K-State team.

Defensively, the Wildcats were there holding the Hornets without a field goal for over 13 minutes. Offensively, K-State was throwing up 40 points in the first half for the first time since the 2014-15 season opener versus Southern Utah.

Even with all of that said, the biggest improvement that I saw (keeping in mind that it was just Emporia State … and not a very good Emporia State team) is in the point-guard play.

Freshman guard Kamau Stokes and junior guard Carlbe Ervin II give the Wildcats their first true point guards since the departure of Angel Rodriguez after the 2012 season.

This team is young and they may have only been playing a Division II school but there is plenty of promise being shown.

You’d hope to see improvement next Friday for the second exhibition versus Fort Hays State, especially with the likely return of junior forward D.J. Johnson.

Quote of the Game

“You know, with all of the new guys I felt that guys were nervous, kind of, in the beginning,” junior forward Wesley Iwundu said on his team’s performance. “But as the game went on, I felt it all came together and we just saw what we were capable of as a team. I think guys did a good job sharing the ball with each other and just showing a lot of team skills.”

Andrew’s take

Look, we all kind of figured that this game really wouldn’t give us an indication on how good this team is or can be. It’s the first game of the season, you shouldn’t expect much.

That said, there are a few things you can take away from this one.

First, we knew Emporia State wouldn’t offer the greatest challenge to K-State – but seeing is truly believing. On what could be considered a “garden variety” type of night for the Wildcats, Emporia State was pretty bad. They struggled from the field most of the game, so it was hard to gauge if the Wildcats were clicking just right or if this Emporia State team wasn’t good at all.

For the Wildcats, it was good to see this team get out there and build some confidence as they journey towards a very tough and challenging uphill battle to reach the NCAA Tournament. It’s clear that this team will go through Iwundu, senior point guard Justin Edwards and senior forward Stephen Hurt inside. It was nice, however, to see some of the young guys get in on the action. Junior forward Austin Budke and freshman forward Dean Wade will have to bring a consistent effort each night for this team to have any type of success in 2015-16.

Quote of the Game:

“Oh yeah, there’s no doubt,” head coach Bruce Weber said of his team’s first game of 2015. “The scrimmages are good, it’s just that there’s no emotion in that when you play the scrimmage, there’s no one in there. You play and you play hard; you don’t have this feel and I just thought we needed to play with some lights on and TV and all that stuff, and I thought in the second half they started to get a little more comfortable, especially some of the younger guys.”

Tim Everson is a junior in mass communications.

Andrew Hammond is a sophomore in mass communications.

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Tim Everson was born in Wichita, KS in 1994. Before fifth grade he moved up to Manhattan for one year before settling in Riley, KS where he graduated from Riley County High School in 2012. Tim has worked for the Collegian since spring of 2014 and took over as Sports Editor during the summer of 2015. Tim loves sports, music, movies and good food when he can get it.