MANHATTAN — Bruce Weber only has one open scholarship to recruit with as Kansas State looks to improve its current men’s basketball roster, but it might be a while before the Wildcats fill that void.
An opportunity for K-State to put a bow on its 2019 recruiting class came and went Tuesday when Maize guard Caleb Grill spurned the Wildcats for Iowa State. Instead of landing his first in-state prospect since Dean Wade and adding one of the nation’s fastest rising unsigned recruits, Weber must now wonder what’s next.
It’s a fascinating question without an obvious answer.
At this time last week, the Wildcats had three recruits in their sights — Drexel graduate transfer forward Alihan Demir, junior college point guard David Sloan and Grill.
Sloan signed with K-State on Tuesday, giving the Wildcats an extra distributor in the backcourt. But they missed on Grill and Demir chose Minnesota, leaving one spot available.
Weber has a few options from here.
All offseason, he has coveted a grad transfer capable of helping the Wildcats at power forward next season. He viewed Lehigh’s Pat Andree as a potential replacement for Wade, but Andree ended up at North Carolina State. K-State flirted with William & Mary forward Justin Pierce, but he chose North Carolina. The Wildcats have also tried to get involved with UNLV forward Shakur Juiston, but he seems to be considering other schools.
After striking out on his primary targets, will Weber continue to chase veteran forwards who can transfer and play next season?
If not, he could look to add a high school forward like Tyreek Smith. The four-star prospect has been in contact with K-State since withdrawing his commitment from Texas A&M, but he is being courted by many other schools and reportedly visited Houston over the weekend.
Or, perhaps, Weber will look to add more depth on the wing behind Xavier Sneed, who is expected to return next season after first testing the NBA Draft waters.
K-State could also choose to save the scholarship and use it during the 2020 recruiting cycle. That’s what Weber did last season after the Wildcats got to 12 scholarship players and missed out on a handful of traditional transfers in the spring.
Makol Mawien and Sneed are the only players expected to exit after next season, so it might be wise to add to that group instead of loading up now.
Weber might decide he doesn’t need anymore incoming talent. It wasn’t all bad news for K-State on Tuesday. DaJuan Gordon, the top-rated recruit in its 2019 class, was bumped up to four stars in the latest Rivals database. Montavious Murphy also remained in the top 150 at No. 139.
With three-star forward Antonio Gordon and Sloan also on the way, it’s time for Weber to choose whether to keep looking for players this spring or delay the process until the fall.