Kansas State opens practice
With more excitement than the snug Kansas State campus has seen
in years, the Wildcats officially launched its 2010 basketball
season with three things it has never had since the formation of
the Big 12.
The crowd of about 7,000 fans, who tumbled into and filled over
half of Bramlage Coliseum for ”Madness in Manhattan” on Friday
night, were looking at the preseason conference favorite, for one.
That hasn’t happened for Kansas State since the late Jack Hartman
was coaching the Wildcats in the Big Eight about 25 years ago.
Some of the biggest cheers were for senior guard Jacob Pullen,
the preseason pick in the coaches’ poll for Big 12 player of the
year, something else that’s new for Kansas State in the
With almost everyone coming back from last year’s 29-8 team,
which advanced to the round of eight in the NCAA tournament, the
Wildcats joined such traditional heavyweights as Duke, Indiana and
Kentucky on ESPNU’s Midnight Madness.
The student section boasted nearly as many bodies as it does on
game days, and the level of noise was comparable – thanks in part
to ESPN videographers trolling the stands to capture the energy of
the Wildcat faithful.
From getting fans on the court with layup contests to
choreographed dancing between the Classy Cats and the men’s
basketball team to an artist painting a giant revolving portrait of
coach Frank Martin, Kansas State pulled out all the stops. Both the
women’s team and the men’s team scrimmaged for the fans, marking
the start of practice for the 2010 season.
Sophomore forward Wally Judge dominated the dunk contests, with
two thunderous slams that earned straight 10s from three judges.
The guards would win the overall competition, however, thanks to
the shooting of Pullen. He addressed the crowd first by saying
thank you, then said the team was not satisfied with its finish
”We know what we did last year was great and all, it was
exciting, but it wasn’t enough,” Pullen said.
He told fans this season would be even better.
”I know everybody was disappointed we didn’t make it to
Indianapolis last year, but we won’t until we get to Houston this
year,” Pullen said of the Final Four.
Before introducing the teams, Kansas State presented a surprise
to the crowd: plans for a new 50,000-square foot basketball
practice facility, described in a video presentation by university
president Kirk Schulz, athletics director John Currie, Martin and
women’s coach Deb Patterson.