KANSAS CITY, MO. (KSNT) – The K-State men’s basketball team is brand new, but Jerome Tang’s Sunday dinners have turned this group of strangers into a team.
“If the only time you spend together is on the basketball court, then you’re not really a family,” Tang said. “Our guys won’t just know where the bathrooms are. They’ll know where the forks and knives and cups are.”
It takes a long time to build a bond between new coaches, new players and just two returning players.
“Just Marquis and Ish [Massoud] are the same two that came back, so it’s like we’re all in,” Florida transfer Keyontae Johnson said. “When I came in for my visit, we all talked about our goals and everyone had the same amount of goals that they were trying to to come.”
Tang brings key experience to a rebuilding team like K-State.
“He knows what he’s talking about,” guard Markquis Nowell said. “He’s got a national title behind him. He coaches pros, multiple pros. At the end of the day, you know he loves you and wants the best for you.”
A common word the Wildcats use to describe Tang’s coaching: tough.
“I heard every day that there are no days off at this conference,” Johnson said. “Every game, you have to give it your all. Through my recruiting process, I’ve been told the Big 12 is the best conference. I’ve played against three: West Virginia twice and Baylor once. I know how it feels to play against teams like that.”
Now that the team has been in practice for a few months, Tang’s plan is falling into place. He sticks with one of his veterans, Nowell, to handle the ball.
“Cam Carter will handle the ball and Desi [Sills]And he’s going to handle the ball,” Tang said. “Nae’Qwan is 6’10” and Keyonte is 6’5″/6’6″. things.”
Tang is excited for game day, when he sees the student section throw newspapers in the air and sees his players compete.