In offseason filled with transfers, men’s basketball looks toward a fresh season

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Junior guard Mike McGuirl charges the basket during the men’s basketball team's Sunflower Showdown against Kansas in Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 29, 2020. The Jayhawks narrowly beat the Wildcats 62-58. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

After a tumultuous 2019-2020 season, the men’s basketball team lost nine players — six to the transfer portal. Now, head coach Bruce Weber is left with just five returning players for next season.

Along with six transfer players, Kansas State also graduated three seniors this year in forward Xavier Sneed, forward Makol Mawien and forward Pierson McAtee.

Sophomore guard Shaun Williams, redshirt sophomore forward Nigel Shadd and redshirt junior forward James Love III were the first Wildcats to exit the program.

After an early suspension to begin the season, Williams announced his final decision to enter the transfer portal on Dec. 11. Shaad and Love both made their move on March 13. On April 4, Love joined Easter Michigan, and on April 17, Shaad joined Pacific University.

One of the most anticipated transfers came when 6-foot-4 redshirt junior guard Cartier Diarra added his name to the list, entering the transfer portal on March 25. Diarra — one of the Wildcats top scorers — will be playing his senior season at Virginia Tech.

Other big names entered the transfer portal as well, including transfer junior guard David Sloan, who appeared in all 32 games of the 2019-2020 season. Sloan has recently chosen to play his senior year at ETSU. Junior forward Levi Stockard also announced his departure on April 21, making him the most recent player to transfer.

With all of the transfers, as well as the three graduates, K-State is bound to look much different on the court next year, returning just five players from last year’s team.

Luckily for the Wildcats, out of those five players returning, four of them saw plenty of action on the court last year. Junior guard Mike McGuirl led the team in three-point percentage last season, and will be tasked with the leading the young Wildcats this upcoming season.

Aiding McGuirl in the backcourt will be returning freshman guard DaJuan Gordon. He averaged just over six points a game last season. Additionally, freshman forwards Antonio Gordon and Montavious Murphy will be expected to take on larger roles on the court.

K-State also kicked up the recruiting game this year, as the Wildcats currently have one of the highest-rated recruiting classes, — 14th by Rivals, 23rd by 247Sports.com and 24th by ESPN.

The Wildcats are bringing in seven new signees for next year, headlined by three four-star recruits including Nijel Pack, a 5-foot-10, 165-pound point guard that is ranked among the top 125 players in the nation.

Coming from Temple College in Texas, 6-foot-11 forward Carlton Linguard ranked among some of the top shot blockers and rebounders in the NJCAA.

Another new face on the court next year will be Kaosi Ezeagu, a transfer from UTEP that signed a scholarship agreement with the Wildcats in January as a sophomore. He will be eligible in mid-December 2020.

Come November, K-State will have eight new players dressed in purple and white for the 2020-21 season.

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