Now that the Top 25 has come out, it is time to preview some of the best college teams in the 2010-11 season. The key to having a successful team is having the perfect blend of athleticism, fundamentals and chemistry. Last week, we broke down was the No. 2 ranked team, the Michigan State Spartans. This week’s profile will be on Frank Martin‘s Kansas State Wildcats.
Athleticism has been a trademark for Frank Martin’s teams in recent years. Ever since he landed Michael Beasley in 2007, this team has seen its speedsters (Denis Clemente) and leapers (Wally Judge). Similar to last week’s team, Michigan State, their star player is not freakishly athletic. In fact, Jacob Pullen is about as far as one can get from athletic. He’s not very explosive or quick, but he finds a way to score regardless of his physical limitations. Aside from Pullen, the rest of the team is oozing with athleticism. Between Curtis Kelly, Jamar Samuels and Judge, the Wildcats may have a combination of the most athletic forwards in the country.
With the graduation of Clemente, Kansas State’s main concern is at the point guard position. As of right now, it looks as though Pullen is going to be running the point to start the season. While Pullen is not known as a playmaker, what he does bring to the table is elite scoring. There are few players in the nation that can create their own offense like Pullen does. If either Rodney McGruder can play well alongside Pullen or Juevol Myles can step up and start at the point, Kansas State will be deadly. Not to mention, they’ve added a nice post threat in Freddy Asprilla. Asprilla was the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year at Florida International University. He has great footwork and could provide a nice spark off of the bench.
While this team has lost some leaders and key players, Martin’s teams almost never struggle to get along. It is hard to gauge whether these losses will hurt the team or not, but Pullen looks very capable of leading this team to success. His style of play indicates that he should be a good leader, but it will be interesting to see if he will be the same in the locker room. They have a lot of roles that need to be filled. Many players that were on the end of the bench last year will have an opportunity to step up for the occasion this year.
What is truly going to separate this team from others is whether Pullen can be more than just a scorer. Their lack of a true point guard will really hurt their chances of tournament success, unless Pullen steps up. He needs to prove that he can make players around him better. If he can do this, not only will the entire team benefit, but also Pullen could see his NBA Draft stock soar as well.
In a tough Big 12 conference, Kansas State will need to consistently bring their A game. Coach Martin knows how to get the best out of his talent, so it will just be a matter of whether or not he can find the right combinations of players.
What do you think?
Follow Lucas on Twitter at @LucasTHENBAMan.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.