Men’s basketball team prepares for new roster, unusual season

Then-junior guard Mike McGuirl scans the court for an open play during K-State’s 64-59 loss to Oklahoma State earlier during the spring 2020 season in Bramlage Coliseum. (File Photo by Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

The upcoming college basketball season is expected to look different than any year before because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The team had the end of their season canceled last March, their originally scheduled non-conference tournament for this year canceled and they are only returning four players who saw the floor last year.

The uncertainty and challenges this season presents can be hard to handle, head coach Bruce Weber said in Wednesday’s press conference.

“Every day is a new adventure,” Weber said. “Every day is a new challenge … it’s stressful. There’s no doubt about it. I’ve had a couple of sleepless nights.”

This K-State team is showing up and trying to improve every day, despite the things going on all around them.

“We come every day to compete, have fun, learn and listen,” senior guard Mike McGuirl said.

Not only McGuirl is the lone senior on this year’s squad, but he’s the only one who has more than one year in a Kansas State jersey under his belt.

“Now it’s, ‘Can [McGuirl] be the guy and can he be consistent?'” Weber said. “I think he’s shown that so far in practice.”

Other returners are sophomore’s DaJuan Gordon, Montavious Murphy, Antonio Gordon and redshirt sophomore Joe Petrakis.

Last year’s team finished last in the Big 12 Conference with a record of 11-21 overall and 3-15 in conference play.

“Last year is in the past — we learn from it,” McGuirl said. “It’s a new team, new group. And we’re just coming every day to work hard and get better.”

Both Weber and McGuirl pointed out DaJuan Gordon emerged as a leader, despite only going into his second year with the program. DuJuan Gordon says he’s ready for whatever role he can play to help the team win.

“I want everybody to score, I want to score,” DaJuan Gordon said. “I just want to win, so if I have to score two points to win, then so be it.”

He averaged 6.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per game in his freshman season.

Bramlage Coliseum will also see many new faces this year.

The list of incoming freshman on the roster is long and the team is excited about a number of these young players. K-State’s freshmen this year are Davion Bradford, Luke Kasubke, Seryee Lewis, Selton Miguel and Nijel Pack.

DuJuan Gordon said he thinks a number of guys will be able to contribute this year.

“It can be anybody’s night every night,” DuJuan Gordon said. “We’ve got multiple guys that can do everything. We got a good team of guys who just want to win.”