For the second week in a row, the Kansas State Wildcat men’s basketball team lost a player to transfer. Early last week, freshman guard Michael Orris announced he was leaving the program, and this week, sophomore forward Adrian Diaz made his intentions to transfer known.
Orris, who originally chose Illinois out of high school, decided to follow Coach Bruce Weber to Kansas State instead. Orris played very little, only tallying 4 points in 15 games this season. Diaz seemed to get lost in the shuffle of forwards in Manhattan, averaging only 7 minutes a game, and 2.7 points. More importantly, he averaged less than a rebound a game, never a good thing for a big man. After the season, Weber raised the possibility of Diaz red shirting next season while he develops his game. That doesn’t seem like much of a vote of confidence.
There is some speculation that Kansas State may reopen their recruitment of Chicago small forward Alvin Ellis, who had signed with the Minnesota Golden Gophers but has backed out since that university ridiculously fired Tubby Smith, who was subsequently snapped up by the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Even if this proves untrue, the loss of Orris hardly seems damaging and Diaz exiting hardly more so. There is a very good chance K-State can find more immediate help from the list of recruits still available or from the junior college ranks.
The Wildcats are losing some very key components from their successful Big 12 championship squad in All-Big 12 First Team performer Rodney McGruder, Jordan Henriquez-Roberts, and Martavious Irving. The 2013-2014 season will be an important one for Weber. He has to find a way to bring in top talent to Manhattan as the previous two head coaches did. Weber is a fine tactician and strategist but the jury is still out on how well he can recruit. Next season he is bringing in guards Marcus Foster, Javon Thomas, and Wesley Iwundu, and center Neville Fincher has committed. The guards are 3-star recruits and Fincher is a 2-star talent. Alvin Ellis is also a 3-star prospect. Weber is a good enough coach to win with these guys but none grade out as a star. It will be hard to win another conference championship without some top talent. Compare this recruiting class with Kansas’, whose lowest rated incoming recruit is Frank Mason, a 3-star point guard. Every other recruit is a 4-star or higher.
The loss of these Orris and Diaz shouldn’t hurt K-State in the long run but Weber needs to replace them with better players. If he can do that, he has enough talent and experience to finish high in the Big 12 next season. Beyond 2013-2014 is the biggest question for Weber.