SAMUELS TO MAKE RETURN TO COURT

MANHATTAN, Kan. - After serving a three-game suspension, K-State senior Jamar Samuels will be back in his No. 32 Wildcat jersey on Tuesday when the Wildcats try to climb to 3-0 in a 7 p.m. start against Maryland-Eastern Shore. Both player, and coach Frank Martin, are more than ready for the return.

Jamar Samuels has addressed the media, and now it's time to play.

Speaking in an informal press conference setting, the Wildcat senior made the following opening statement: "I want to apologize to the whole K-State community, my team and my family. My actions that I did are behind me now. I just want for the people of K-State to be behind me and this team. The guys mean so much to me, and I am so glad to be back now and put all of this stuff behind me."

Due to breaking unspecified team rules, coach Frank Martin suspended his 6-foot-7, 230-pound senior for the exhibition game, plus the first two regular season contests.

On the discipline of his three-year contributor, Martin said, "It is his senior year. No one wants to miss games because you only have so many in the tank, especially when it's your senior season. He's handled it real well."

Throughout the last two weeks, Martin has called Samuels K-State's "best player in practices."

Now he'll have a chance to show that after an 8.5-point, 5.4-rebound season last year, and a sophomore year when he averaged 11.0 points and 4.9 rebounds and earned the Big 12 Conference's "Sixth Man Award."

Now a senior, Samuels promises to be an even better player.

"From last year, I became a little wiser. I am just going to try and bring the same intensity I have brought since I have been here," said Samuels. "I am excited to be back out there because sitting on the bench in street clothes is not fun. I would not wish that on any college basketball player."

While frustrated by sitting, the Washington D.C., native hasn't lost his sense of humor.

Asked about being a perceived "bad guy" by opposing teams, Samuels cracked, "Actually, I'm a pretty nice guy. My mom told me that."

What has mom Ernestine said of the latest discipline, Samuels admitted, "She's been hitting me on the head telling me I can't do this and that. But she's excited for me to get back out there."

In watching a young cast of Wildcats struggle to victories over Charleston Southern and Loyola Chicago, Samuels said, "Watching these kids have given me a headache."

And of his added responsibility being a senior, he quipped, "I want to help Frank. He's getting kind of old, too, and shouldn't be yelling as much."

What Martin wants to see is for Samuels to put his maturity, plus added weight, to work for this Wildcat basketball team.

"Jamar is a grown man. He doesn't run away from contact," said Martin. "He has been through the ropes. He understands our concepts. He understands what we do. Some of the mistakes that are taking place on both ends of the floor get minimized when you have another player on the floor that has a better understanding of what you are doing."

After playing both a small-forward and power-forward last year, Martin indicated that Samuels would play only the 4-spot as a senior, but said he wasn't sure whether he would be an immediate starter.

To that, Samuels said, "Starting doesn't matter. If I don't start, I'm perfectly fine with that. I just want to help the team get another W."

Teammate Will Spradling said that the return of Samuels will bring "a little bit of everything" to the team and mentioned scoring, intensity and a shot blocking ability.

The sophomore guard added, "Last year he followed. He was not a leader at all. He would not step up and say that you were going in the wrong direction. This year he has really stepped up and taken the lead on the younger guys. He gets them pointed in the right direction."

As for his own game taking a step back due to not playing in the first three games, Samuels somewhat bristles as he says, "I don't think I took a step back; I just missed three games. If you saw our practices you would definitely know I didn't take a step back."


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