1. FIRST 2024 COMMIT IN HOOPS IS EXPECTED ON TUESDAY
Most know by now, but most who cover and follow recruiting (including myself) are projecting David Castillo to commit to Jerome Tang and his staff on Tuesday at 3:00 PM when he announces his decision at Bartlesville High School.
Castillo is a monster get for the Wildcats as he checks a few boxes. Number one, he starts off the 2024 class with a bang, which is trying to better last season’s 23rd-ranked class nationally. Number two, he is the highest-rated recruit that K-State has landed since Wally Judge in 2009, who was No. 18 overall and a five-star. Castillo is No. 35 overall and will be in five-star consideration through his senior season, with ESPN already giving Castillo five-star status.
Don’t let the Kansas propaganda machine confuse you, K-State beat Kansas and Oklahoma State for Castillo. It is a significant win for the Wildcats on the recruiting trail, including Rodney Perry who helped facilitate the growth and a rapid pace to make it possible for this staff beat out staffs that had been in place for the entirety of Castillo’s recruitment.
2. MAX ABMAS’ VISIT TO MANHATTAN
One of the best transfers in the portal is Oral Roberts guard Max Abmas. Despite some suggestions by different parties during the week that some teams were involved or that Texas was the front-runner, I think those were all just guesses or assumptions. Abmas made his visit to K-State after a real shaky start with travel.
Weather prevented Abmas from arriving directly in Manhattan, and after delays, he was sent to Omaha first before finally arriving in the Little Apple on Saturday around lunchtime.
I think K-State is still very much in play for Abmas and after this past week, I feel better about their chances. It does appear to be a two-horse race between K-State and Texas, no Wichita State like some maybe thought.
K-State is going to be able to sell its program and success, as well as its staff pretty easily to Abmas. What Texas will have in its favor is similar success, proximity to home for Abmas, and more NIL backing. At the moment it is not known if Abmas has a visit date set with Texas.
3. AARON ESTRADA IS NEXT UP ON THE VISIT LIST
Aaron Estrada from Hofstra will make his visit to K-State later this week as well. As the portal started to unfold more, it became clear that Abmas and Estrada were probably the No. 1 and No. 2 players on K-State’s target list. Estrada had cut his list down to four schools: Alabama, Cincinnati, Florida State and K-State. The Seminoles are now out of the mix it would seem, as Estrada has decided not to take his visit to Florida State.
K-State is going to get their chance to make a strong impression and see if they can secure his commitment on April 29th when he plans to make a decision. Cincinnati has been rumored to be the front-runner over the last few weeks, but I think the tide is turning in K-State’s favor. If we did FutureCasts for the transfer portal, I would predict Estrada to K-State at this point in time.
4. TYLOR PERRY & RAEQUAN BATTLE UPDATE
Tylor Perry from North Texas is another recruit that seems to have some K-State interest, although not highly publicized. His involvement with K-State is being kept on the low down by both parties it would seem, but at this moment his visit to K-State is still on and the Wildcats are very much in his sights. One way or the other, Perry and K-State are handling his recruitment this way for a reason and I still feel good about where K-State sits for his services if they can’t get both of Abmas and Estrada.
I do expect K-State to have a fourth scholarship come open soon, but even then I think K-State would probably only take two guards. Essentially there will be a ladder to how K-State adds guards.
I throw Raequan Battle into the mix because the Montana State guard that scored over 20 points against K-State in the NCAA Tournament did enter the transfer portal this past week and has received some interest from the Wildcats. At the moment I would expect him to slot in as the fourth guard target that the Wildcats have in their order.
5. ISH MASSOUD LOOKING FOR HIS NEW SCHOOL
Ish Massoud’s departure opened up the third scholarship for the Wildcats to work with this offseason. Jerome Tang said afterward that there would be a situation where Massoud could return to K-State, but for now the grad transfer will look for a new spot where he can have an expanded role and play more minutes in his final season.
Jon Rothstein reported on Sunday that the list is becoming more and more clear for Massoud, with visits scheduled to Fordham and New Mexico. Other notable schools that have reached out are Ole Miss, Penn State, Seton Hall, Cal, and Memphis.
6. FOOTBALL FUTURECASTS
Basketball isn’t the only program having some fun in the recruiting game right now, K-State football had their final spring practice on Saturday and welcomed in more visitors. One of which was Michael Boganowski, the top-ranked player in the state of Kansas who made his fifth visit to the Wildcats. That is enough for me to consider him a K-State lean and I placed my FutureCast for Boganowski to the Wildcats.
Initially, it seemed like K-State and Nebraska would be the two schools duking it out for his services, and I think that is still the case. But even with family ties to the Nebraska area, staying local and the heavy interest in K-State can’t be denied. Even though Junction City is an easy jaunt to and from Manhattan, Lincoln isn’t that crazy of a drive to make many times if the interest level is high.
There isn’t a timeline on Boganowski’s commitment date yet, but K-State is in the lead as it stands right now.
7. NEW TURF IS GOING DOWN AT THE BILL
We knew it was coming as Gene Taylor had alluded to it a couple of times, but one final contribution from Alec Busse to the site was the image above. Wagner Field is getting its new playing surface prepared right now. The last surface lasted around five seasons as it was put down in 2018.
Taylor also confirmed on the recent “Ask the AD” that the basketball court in Bramlage Coliseum will be brand new and replaced for the upcoming season. He also hinted at some lavender being involved in the court.
8. A TRIP TO BEAVERTON TO MEET WITH NIKE
The K-State Collegian had a great read this week about K-State’s upcoming negotiations with Nike to renew the contract that they currently have in place. You can read the full story here. The key points include Taylor, Tang and Klieman all going to Nike’s headquarters in Oregon this week to begin the negotiations for the next contract.
K-State is happy with Nike (so am I), but Taylor says this next step is looking at if they can get a better deal. That could range from more fan gear options, uniforms, and some cash for the university.
K-State should stay with Nike, they are still clearly the best at what they do, it’s just time for Nike to cater to K-State a little bit more than they have. I would probably burn my degree if K-State ever went somewhere other than Nike, not hyperbole.
9. NBA PLAYOFFS BEGIN WITH BIG 12 PLAYERS ON THE FLOOR
Let’s go back to 2019, Lindy Waters III and Oklahoma State got smacked around twice by K-State in the season that the Wildcats won the Big 12 title. Dean Wade dominated the Cowboys in Stillwater with 24 points on 9/9 shooting from the field.
Wade, I expected to see him in the NBA, but I didn’t anticipate him having a rotation role for a playoff team like he has gotten with the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. I certainly did not expect Waters to be playing real minutes in an NBA Playoff (play-in technically) game. Just wanted to note that, because that is about all my attention span for the NBA Playoffs will be. Unless I have some bets on a game or player here or there.
This doesn’t even include former Wichita State and Oklahoma guard Austin Reaves who has somehow turned into a legitimate threat on an NBA floor. Reaves scored 23 points and helped the Lakers beat the Grizzlies in Game 1 of their playoff series over the weekend.
10. BAT CATS SWEEP KU WITH OFFENSE
I was already planning on giving a shoutout to Pete Hughes and company for their series win over the Jayhawks, the second straight year that Hughes has accomplished that feat. Then came Sunday’s game which led to a sweep for the Wildcats. 21-18 was the final score.
K-State took an early 13-0 lead after striking for 13 runs in the top of the second inning, but an inning later they allowed KU to get some life by allowing seven runs of their own. 13-7 with just three innings gone by. In total, the 39 runs is the most runs ever scored in the Sunflower Showdown series. That doesn’t even include the first two games that K-State won 5-4 and 6-1. K-State has the most wins in the Big 12 now with a 9-6 conference record and is a half-game behind Texas (8-4) for first place in the league.
K-State will close out their regular season with all three remaining Big 12 series against top 25 schools Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and TCU. K-State’s off weekend for Big 12 play is this coming week, so they will be at home on Tuesday to face Wichita State, before going to California for three games with UC Irvine and one game with UC Riverside.