Coach Weber addresses the future of men’s basketball in first press conference of the year

Head coach Bruce Weber gives out instruction during the game against Oklahoma State at Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 23, 2019. (File Photo by Sabrina Cline | Collegian Media Group)

After an 11-21 season showed a lot of promise for the future of the team, men’s basketball head coach Bruce Weber wanted nothing more than to return to the courts. A global pandemic and looming uncertainty soon halted that vision.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Weber discussed some of the struggles COVID-19 caused and what this year might look like for the team.

Weber is hopeful for a full season and is looking forward to seeing how the Wildcats will compete, even though things are “chaotic.”

“Some of the leagues haven’t finalized how many games they’re going to have,” Weber said. “It’s just been very chaotic, to say the least. Our league obviously has one protocol for testing. I know football’s dealt with this; other leagues are going to have other testing protocols, so, hopefully, it all works out. We want to get as many games as possible. It’ll be interesting, to say the least.”

Even though the scheduling for the upcoming season has not been finalized, Weber and his coaching staff want to get to work. While the pandemic limits the amount of practice the team can have, a sense of normalcy should return on Oct 14, when full practices officially begin.

This year’s team is very young and inexperienced, with senior guard Mike McGuirl as the only returning upperclassman. Weber is looking to McGuirl and sophomore guard DaJuan Gordon to step up and lead the team for the Wildcats this year.

“Our young guys are going to have to step up, and they’re going to have to be major factors,” Weber said. “We’re all pleased as a staff with our older guys. Mike McGuirl came back early in May, DaJuan [Gordon] and him, they just said, ‘We’ve got to come back coach’ and they couldn’t get in our facilities, but they worked out on playgrounds, and anywhere they could.”

Since 11 of the 14 players on the team this year are underclassmen, Weber knows this may be a down year for the team, but the future looks bright for K-State. This is the highest-rated recruiting class that Weber has signed in his tenure as head coach.

Incoming freshmen Seryee Lewis, Davion Bradford, Luke Kasubke and Selton Miguel will look to recreate the same magic Dean Wade, Barry Brown and Kamau Stokes made during their time at K-State — and lead the team to another Big 12 Conference title.

“Our young, new players are talented,” Weber said. “They are just going to have a lot to learn as we move forward into practice.”

Unfortunately, Kasubke will be out for quite some time. He sustained a foot injury and had surgery. Weber said he will be out “more months than weeks.”

While Kasubke is out, Weber will look to other incoming freshmen to step up.

“The other guys; Nijel [Pack], Selton [Miguel], Seryee [Lewis] and Davion [Bradford] have all shown signs that they’re going to be really, really good players,” Weber said. “They’re all going to be able to contribute as we move forward. We’re going to need at least two of them — maybe three — to really step up and give us major production if we’re going to be successful.”

While the recruiting went well for Weber this year, there has been no time for rest. The recruiting team worked with K-State to give potential recruits campus tours through Zoom and make videos detailing where they would fit in the program.

The early signing period is just over six weeks away and the recruiting team will work hard to try and improve on an already promising incoming class.