Samuels and Russell Enjoy European Trip

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Only if it had been the Wildcats playing. That's what Jamar Samuels and Nick Russell said of their recent trip to Europe with the East Coast All-Starts. The team went just 1-4, but had it been the Wildcats playing … both K-Staters said it would have been a 5-0 record.

Kansas State's Jamar Samuels at center and Nick Russell at the power-forward? That's what it was for the East Coast All-Stars earlier this month as they traveled through Switzerland and France playing a five-game series.

The USA entry went just 1-4 losing to Switzerland, 92-80; to the Swiss National team, 96-91; and to the Tunisian Nationals, 104-85 and 111-85. The lone went came over the Paris Select team, 100-73.

"We couldn't get a win to save our lives," said Samuels, "but it was all for the experience." To those scores and the 1-4 record, the Wildcats said, it would have been a 5-0 record had it been Team Wildcats making the trip.

"I was missing my K-State teammates in those games. I was thinking, ‘Man, we would have beaten these guys by 30'," said Samuels, a 6-foot-7 junior-to-be with the Wildcats. "We would have been 5-0 … easily. Throw in that Frank Martin face … 5-0, easily."

Russell, a 6-4 sophomore from Duncanville, Texas, totally agreed with his teammate: "Easily 5-0. With the chemistry we have at Kansas State and the incredible bond that we have … easily been 5-0."

Samuel's top game was a 24-point effort against the Swiss Nationals, plus he averaged 15-plus points per game. Russell netted 23 in the opener against Switzerland, plus added 15 against Paris, and averaged 12 points for the five-game series.

"It was physical … very physical," said Samuels, who said he got intentially punched in the mouth in one of the games. "You get away with a lot of stuff. I pray to God that I won't have to go into some type of league like that." Samuels said the game helped his ball handling, plus he averaged four to five blocked shots per game."

While playing center nearly all of the time, the Washington D.C., native said it was an opportunity for part of his game to grow. "Coach told me that when I get a rebound to just push it," said Samuels. "Who ever got the rebound just went. We were playing like Missouri."

On Russell's game, Samuel said, "He got better. At times he was guarding a 6-9 guy working hard to get a rebound."

While not playing a lot of his natural guard position, Russell said, "I grew tremendously. I gained a lot of confidence and just my overall game got better."

On the style of play, Russell agreed with his teammate by saying, "It was very physical; no calls at all, but that got us stronger and better."

Russell added of how the series will help prepare him for the upcoming season, "We were playing a physical game against some older guys, and some pros. Instead of coming from high school to college, coming back from there to this season will be a big help."

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