Weber glad Wildcats are back in Manhattan

Dylan Sherwood
Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber calls out to his team during the first half against the TCU Horned Frogs on March 11 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.. [JAY BIGGERSTAFF/ USA TODAY SPORTS

Bruce Weber is fortunate that the Kansas State men’s basketball team is back in Manhattan.

The Wildcats have been acclimating back to Manhattan with voluntary workouts and following protocols set forth by the K-State medical staff. Several Wildcats have been in Manhattan for almost three months, with the rest of the team arriving for classes either in late May or June.

“The first week was kind of a quarantine (and) get acclimated back to Manhattan,” said Weber in a Zoom conference on Friday afternoon. “Then after you pass that, we went through the testing, both the antibody and the regular test.”

Luckily enough, no Wildcats tested positive for COVID-19 since arriving back to Manhattan, and the team has been doing voluntary workouts. The full coaching staff has stayed separated from the players at this time, with only K-State strength and conditioning coach Ben McDonald available. All players are wearing masks during their weights and shooting sessions.

Weber took a peek in at the workouts on Friday morning, watching his team do small group activities.

“(We’re) trying to keep them in clusters of their apartments,” he said. “If one player gets affected and it’s not the whole team, we’ll see how that goes. We constantly remind them about their safety and being smart. They want to have fun and be college kids in the summer, but right now, it’s very difficult of doing that and not spreading the virus.

“Hopefully, we’re being safe and smart and we’ll see where we’re at a couple of weeks from now.”

Weber added that next week’s workouts will continue to be voluntary and is hoping the full coaching staff can interact with the players in the coming weeks.

Beside the virus, K-State athletes have also been protesting, wanting change to be made around campus due to recent events involving the death of George Floyd.

“Our players I think have moved on,” Weber said. “They were a little frustrated at the start. Some of it was talking and understanding the situation and America, and people’s rights and things like that, and that you can’t get things changed immediately, but change was going to happen.

“Hopefully, in the long run, this is great for Kansas State, great for our country and we can make some necessary changes. Whether if it’s K-State or our country, hopefully, we’ll continue to make that progress. I thought we’ve had great dialogue with our players, but I was proud of them. They took it seriously and then it meant something to them. I applaud them worrying about others and hopefully creating some change for the future. We’ll continue to have discussions with them as we move forward.”

Weber said that 7- to 10-day span was stressful, and applauds K-State administration including athletic director Gene Taylor, executive associate AD Casey Scott and President Richard Myers for stepping in and talking to their athletes on Zoom calls.

One other concern that Weber has is with international students who might have to go home if in-person classes aren’t held. The Wildcats have three international players on their roster — freshman Selton Miguel and redshirt sophomores Rudi Williams and Kaosi Ezeagu.

Once arriving in Manhattan, the trio had to quarantine.

“I’ve been talking to our administration about it as we move forward,” Weber said. “Right now, it looks like Kansas State is hoping to have some in-class classes, which we wouldn’t hopefully have any problems. It will definitely be interesting how it unfolds.

“I know it’s a concern with a lot of universities, because there are budget crises, they need students. Beside athletes, they need the international students here going to school. I don’t think Selton’s country is even open at this point for him to even go home. It would be tough for him to go back. We hope it will work out. It’s definitely something that has been brought up and been discussed. I know it’s important to our university and I’m sure to many others throughout the country.”