First off, question answered. There is, or was, life after Michael Beasley and Bill Walker. Not to say that one team under-achieved and one over-achieved, but the fact is the 2000-08 Wildcats went 21-12, placed third in the Big 12, lost it first-Big 12 Tournament game, and went 1-1 in the NCAA Tournament.
Without the two NBAers this year, K-State was 22-12, placed fourth in the Big 12, lost its first league tourney game, and went 1-1 in the NIT.
(Editor's Note: Isn't it interesting that Bob Huggins' 2006-07 team was 23-12, fourth in the Big 12, went 1-1 at the Big 12 Championships, and went 1-1 in the NIT ... all with leftovers from the Jim Wooldridge era.)
But now back to the last two seasons. Which team was the better of the two?
* The '08 team averaged 78.0 points, and the '09 team 75.2.
* The '08 team out-shot the '09 team .443 to .431, but the '09 club was a better shooting 3-point team than '08, .350 to .317.
* The '09 team allowed just 66.6 points, and the '08 club 68.9.
* The '09 team allowed teams to shoot just .419, while the '08 team allowed teams to shoot .424.
* The '08 team had a +8.4 rebounding margin, the '09 team a +6.2.
* The '09 team turned it over 29 fewer times than the '08 team.
The 2008 team had a run of five straight Big 12 victories, and seven out of eight, but a late-season slump of four losses in a row. This Wildcat team limped to the finish line winning only two of its last six.
The 2009 club had a six-game conference winning streak, and won seven out of eight, but opened the year with four losses in a row. This Wildcat team also limped to the finish line with a 3-3 record in its last six.
Take your pick. A team of a couple standout individuals, or a club that had more one-through-five camaraderie.
As for postseason awards:
MVP: Denis Clemente. With a 15.0 point scoring average, no KSU guard averaged more dating back to Cortez Groves (16.1) in 2000. When the K-State team was at its best was when Clemente was at his best.
Most Improved: Darren Kent. Averages of 9.0 points and a team-high 5.8 rebounds surprised most Wildcat fans.
Freshman of the Year: Jamar Samuels was KSU's fourth leading scorer coming off the bench, plus fourth high in rebounding ... and what a tremendous up-side.
Defensive Player of the Year: Game-in and game-out, Dominique Sutton guarded the other guy's top offensive threat. Like with Samuels ... what a tremendous up-side, especially at the offensive end.
As for the future, there's every reason to believe Kansas State will have even greater success in 2010, and beyond.
The 2010 roster will include:
Center: Luis Colon, Ron Anderson, Jordan Henriquez
Power-Forward: Jamar Samuels, Wally Judge, Curtis Kelly
Perimeter: Dominique Sutton, Buchi Awaji, Chris Merriewether, Rodney McGruder
Off-Guard: Jacob Pullen, Fred Brown,
Point: Denis Clemente, Nick Russell