Kent Came Home To Cheer On The 'Cats

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State's "White Tiger" was back in Bramlage Coliseum this week, but only to cheer on the Wildcats, and practice with them. Darren Kent has been playing professional basketball in France, but is now looking forward to another opportunity in Europe.

Darren Kent said, "It was different," and, "It felt weird."

That started by attending the Wildcats' shoot-around Monday morning, and continued in the locker room prior to the "Big Monday' tipoff against Texas, on into the half-time chat, and finally the victory celebration over the No. 1 Longhorns.

"These were my teammates and there I was not really being involved," said the 2009 Kansas State basketball graduate. "It was great to see the guys and be with them again, but I didn't like that seat behind the bench."

Kent, K-State's "White Tiger" dressed in uniform No. 42 the last four seasons, was back in Manhattan for the first time to see this year's team play after a brief playing stint in France in the EruoBasket League.

"I didn't like the situation I was in, so I decided to come back home while my agent is looking for another opportunity for me" said Kent, who was also on hand Saturday at the Oklahoma State game.

"There weren't any major issues (in France), but just some different opinions on things. I just didn't feel comfortable."

Kent, who also had a brief tryout with the NBA Minnesota Timberwolves, said he was more than holding his own in the European league that he called more physical than what he had experienced at the Big 12 level.

"There's no such thing as a ticky-tack foul," Kent said. "And, there are probably better shooters in the European game. It's just a different game."

A different game that he says he hopes to get back to: "I still have a passion to play. It's what I've done my whole life and I don't feel like I've reach my full potential. It's like high school where every year I improved, and at K-State where I was continually getting better. I'm still getting bigger and stronger, and my game is getting better. I'm not ready to call it a career."

A native of Apple Valley, Minn., Kent posted a career average of 4.3 points per game at K-State, which included a senior season when he enjoyed career-highs of 9.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

Kent was a part of 81 Wildcat victories under three head coaches – Jim Wooldridge, Bob Huggins and Frank Martin – and played in three postseason events – two NITs and one NCAA.

Of the Martin-experience, Kent said, "He's so passionate. Everyone loves to play for him because he's such a good communicator. He gets a bad rap because people see him so angry at games, but that's not him as a person. If you work hard, he's in your corner for life."

After viewing the win over Texas, Kent predicted of this year's team, "Frank always has them playing hard and that team has another year of experience, plus the addition of that freshman class and Curtis (Kelly). I think it's a team that can go far in the NCAAs."

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