2007 Kansas State Wildcats Basketball Preview
Under first-year coach Bob Huggins, The Kansas State Wildcats (27- 7 overall, 13- 3 Big 12) notched their best season in almost two decades, finishing fourth in the Big 12 and earning a NIT bid. The team’s new coach, Frank Martin, was Huggins’ assistant. With Huggins, Martin managed to recruit an astounding 2007 class. Martin, who has never been the main man, will coach an arsenal of young players who may finally get the Wildcats into March Madness coverage for the first time since 1996.
After winning an average of 15 games per season over the past four seasons, last year the Wildcats earned 23 victories and several of our NCAA basketball picks. The club’s stats were good but not astounding, as they were eighth in scoring with 70.5 PPG and fifth in scoring defense with 65.1 PPG. The team was fourth in both rebounding margin (plus-2.6) and turnovers (13.7 TPG). Their 15.6 APG made them third in the Big 12 in that category.
With forwards Cartier Martin and Akeem Wright and their combined 16.9 PPG and 10.7 RPG gone, incoming freshman Michael Beasley needs to be a major factor. Beasley can run the court, shoot, rebound and play inside and out. Forward Bill Walker (11.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 40.0 FG%), who played six games last season, hit double figures in four. He’s a frosh to watch. Senior forward David Hoskins (14.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 45.1 FG%) returns as the team’s high scorer and contributed to the college basketball lines.
Freshman guard Dominique Sutton, who tends to play mistake free, is a top-100 player, showing solid dependability. Senior point guard Clent Stewart (6.5 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 39.3 FG%) has over 300 assists in his college career. Another freshman, Jacob Pullen, will be a factor at point.
With the nation’s top recruit in the frontcourt, a few other fine freshmen and two strong starters returning, this could finally be the year that Kansas State gets back into March Madness. There may be a limited window of opportunity here since Walker and Beasley may both go to the pros after this season. This is a team that holds a whole lot of promise.