MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State head men's basketball coach Bruce Weber met with members of the media via Zoom on Wednesday afternoon (April 28) to discuss the Wildcats' latest additions as well as the progress made by the returning players during spring workouts, which will end this week.
One of the nation's youngest teams, K-State (9-20, 4-14 Big 12) finished the 2020-21 season on a high note by winning 4 of its last 6 games, including battling eventual national champion Baylor, 74-68, in the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in Kansas City. Due to injuries and COVID-19 protocols, the Wildcats had just one player start all 29 games (senior Mike McGuirl), while it started three true freshmen (Davion Bradford, Selton Miguel and Nijel Pack) in 17 games, including 12 in Big 12 play.
The 71 combined starts by true freshmen ranked second nationally to Kentucky's 72, while the 17 games with at least three true freshman starts trailed just Duke (19) and Kentucky (18). The trio combined to average 25.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.0 steals this season.
The positive momentum continued on March 22 when McGuirl, an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection in 2020-21, announced that he was utilizing his extra season of eligibility and returning to the Wildcats. McGuirl is one of 10 players, including four with starting experience, expected to return in 2021-22.
Weber and his coaching staff built on that foundation by adding four players in the last four weeks, including three transfers (Ismael Massoud, Markquis Nowell and Mark Smith) and an incoming freshman (Maximus Edwards). The quartet joins Wisconsin high school big man Logan Landers, who inked with the team in November.
Smith was the first spring addition on March 31, as he transferred to K-State after spending the last three seasons at Missouri, where he averaged 10.3 points on 39.8 percent shooting, including 37.5 percent from 3-point range, in 69 games with 61 starts. He was followed by another set of transfers in Nowell, who averaged 14.4 points on 39.5 percent shooting, including 36.9 percent from long range, in 68 games with 51 starts at Little Rock, and Massoud, who averaged 6.2 points on 36 percent shooting, including 36.3 percent from long range, in 53 games with 8 starts at Wake Forest. A commit since January, Edwards signed on April 15 after two standout seasons at Our Saviour Lutheran School in the Bronx, N.Y., where he averaged a team-best 19.9 points per game in 2020-21.