Toby’s Take: Be patient, transfers will come

Kansas State head coach Jerome Tang reacts to the action on the court during the Texas Christian University at Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 7, 2023. K-State won 82-61. (Archive photo by Nichole Maryse Harris | Collegian Media Group)

Throughout the early months of the transfer portal, Kansas State men’s basketball has been in the mix for several players, only coming away with one: guard Tylor Perry. Olivier Nkamhoua’s commitment to Michigan marks the latest K-State target going elsewhere, joining the likes of Max Abmas, LJ Cryer, David Jones and Aaron Estrada. 

You can speculate that K-State hasn’t seen much portal success because of the importance of NIL and the Wildcats’ potential shortcomings, but the argument is fruitless. Plenty of time remains for the Wildcats to make a splash with its three remaining scholarship openings. 

Last season, head coach Jerome Tang didn’t land his most impactful transfer, Keyontae Johnson, until August. Players will be available — players that could play a pivotal role for K-State and its postseason aspirations. 

One target to keep an eye on is Creighton’s Arthur Kaluma, the second-best transfer available per 247Sports. K-State is expected to host the junior-to-be on a campus visit.

Last season, Kaluma averaged 11.8 points per game with six rebounds. He’s looking for a bigger role, which K-State has to offer with Johnson departing for the NBA.

Kaluma’s decision is impacted greatly by North Dakota State transfer Grant Nelson. Alabama is a finalist for both players; should Nelson commit to the Crimson Tide, the role Kaluma is seeking becomes less apparent at Alabama. Kaluma would look closer at K-State, as well as Texas Tech and Kentucky.

Previously Tang mentioned a priority to add two veteran guards from the transfer portal. Perry became the first with his commitment to K-State in May, but remains the Wildcats’ only addition. 

Kentucky’s Antonio Reeves hasn’t entered the transfer portal yet, but has been rumored to look elsewhere. The guard hasn’t been connected to K-State, but his 39.8% three-point percentage could attract Tang and his staff.

Perhaps K-State has its second guard in the house already. 

“Look forward to Cam Carter this year,” Perry said to KSNT’s Glenn Kinley. “I think he’s going to make one of the biggest leaps in college basketball.” 

As it stands now, I’d expect Tang to use a starting lineup similar to this: Tylor Perry at point guard, Carter at shooting guard, a transfer such as Kaluma at the 3 with Nae’Qwan Tomlin and David N’Guessan rounding out as the bigs.

However, like late last season, K-State could look to turn to a three-guard lineup. Freshman guards Dai Dai Ames, RJ Jones and Macaleab Rich will compete for that spot, in addition to another guard from the portal.

The depth doesn’t stop there for Tang. Both Taj Manning and Jerrell Colbert will be coming off redshirt seasons, ready to contribute. 

“I think at some point in time Taj Manning is going to be an all-conference player,” Tang said this past season. “He is going to score in a ton of basketball games, and every year he is just going to continue to get better and better.”

Before redshirting, Colbert put on a highlight reel in just nine minutes of gametime against Washburn, collecting five points and five blocks. The matchup was an exhibition but nonetheless gave Wildcat fans a sneak peak into his potential. 

K-State has “dudes” already and more are on the way, just remember patience is key as the transfer portal runs its course.