An apology letter to K-State men’s basketball

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Senior forward D.J. Johnson makes a face at an official during the basketball game between K-State and Oklahoma State in Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 22, 2017. (File Photo by Emily Starkey | The Collegian)

Dear Kansas State men’s basketball team:

I am sorry I gave up on you.

You deserved better from me and the rest of the K-State fans.

Bramlage Coliseum should not have been half empty during the oh-so-important February games. Social media should not have been filled with the attacks on the team.

When you needed us most, we failed you. We students needed head coach Bruce Weber’s bribe of food to attend a game. Half the public were also no-shows.

After the home loss to Oklahoma State, I thought the grass was greener on the other side. I kept the faith, as hard as it was, until the 30-point loss to last-place Oklahoma. At that point, I thought you had given up on yourselves. I stopped expecting a win, let alone putting up a fight.

I gave up on you.

We, the K-State family, gave up on you.

And you proved us wrong.

You won your last two regular-season games, a game in the Big 12 Tournament and a play-in game in the NCAA Tournament’s First Four.

I was sitting in the band at the end of the court during the one-point loss to West Virginia in Kansas City. I thought you had proven me right, that you couldn’t win close games and didn’t care. I thought for sure you would make neither the NCAA Tournament nor the NIT Tournament.

Then you proved me wrong, again. You made a play-in game. And you won.

At the start of the tournament, I remembered Bill Snyder’s goal No. 13: “Expect to Win … and truly believe we will.” I did something I was laughed at for: I filled out my bracket with you going all the way. If I was going to be proven wrong, it would be for having too much faith, not too little.

Could you have played better? Yes. Could you have won more of the close games? Yes. I won’t make excuses for your losses, and neither will you.

Instead of focusing on the negatives of the past seasons, we should focus on the improvements.

Snyder’s goal No. 4: “Improve … every day as a player, person and student,” should be our measuring stick for this year’s team. You made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three years. I’d say that’s a significant improvement.

With three returning sophomore starters and the same head coach, expectations will be higher. I’m glad Weber is returning. Weber coached you to an NCAA Tournament and a play-in game victory.

You only have to look as far as KU’s football program to find an example of what an endless coaching carousel does to a program.

Just remember the real goal is to improve. As long as you do that, you’re doing it right.

And we Wildcat fans should never give up on you. Goal No. 10: “Never Give Up … never … never … never.”

Jason Tidd is a senior in journalism. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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Jason Tidd
Jason Tidd graduated from Kansas State University's Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communication in May 2017. He was the spring 2017 editor-in-chief, fall 2016 news editor and spring 2016 assistant news editor. While at K-State, Jason played baritone in the Pride of Wildcat Land marching band.