1. Which Kansas State basketball assistant coach will go on to be the best head coach?
DY: The best answer at the moment is probably Ulric Maligi. The Kansas State assistant was just honored as one of the top 50 impactful assistants in college basketball and is the associate head coach on staff. He joined Jerome Tang at K-State after being with Chris Beard at both Texas Tech and Texas.
He is responsible for much of the ties to the Lone Star State for Kansas State, and he is on the track to being the first to receive a head coaching position.
2. How comfortable are you with the staff still being able to round out the roster with the transfer portal window now closed?
DY: I understand the angst at the moment. It is May 12. The transfer portal window is closed, and K-State has only landed Tylor Perry from North Texas. It is a bit different of a landscape now, but they did have several more spots to fill this time last year.
Unless they are in a better spot than perceived for guys like Andrew Taylor, Julian Phillips and Rayj Dennis or Keyontae Johnson is returning to school, then I wonder if Kansas State resorts to a few graduate transfers that have yet to become available.
Am I comfortable? I doubt anyone is comfortable until the process is finished. With that being said, it is just hard for me to not trust them to figure it out when they have essentially done so at every point while being at K-State.
Does that require a bit of blind faith right now? Probably so.
3. Who has the highest ceiling of potential on the 2023 Kansas State football roster?
DY: Guys like Tobi Osunsanmi, Keagan Johnson, DJ Giddens, Cooper Beebe, Khalid Duke, John Pastore, Andrew Leingang, Avery Johnson, Jacob Parrish, Will Lee and VJ Payne come to mind. At the end of the day, Beebe is the future first rounder for Kansas State and it’s hard not to pick him because of that.
4. Who has the highest ceiling of potential on the 2023-2024 basketball roster?
DY: Easy. Nae’Qwan Tomlin. He will return to K-State for one more season and he may be a first team All-Big 12 pick after the year, in my opinion.
5. Is K-State still chasing big men in the portal?
DY: Absolutely. Kansas State was in the process of likely landing Daimion Collins but chose to pivot away after learning more information. I’m not sure who it will be, but the Wildcats still have interested in finding a big for next season.
6. What makes Will Howard good and where does he need to improve?
DY: Football IQ. Will Howard sees the game the same way as K-State offensive coordinator Collin Klein, and because of that, he knows the offense inside and out and is able to anticipate throws better than anyone that has been on the roster since I have covered the team.
Another aspect of his that I like is that he feels pressure very well, and despite the early struggles in his career, he possessed that trait as soon as he arrived at Kansas State. Right now, he is just riding high on confidence.
I believe that he goes through progressions well, but going through them quicker will only help him because he will never have what many football evaluators would deem a cannon for an arm.
7. Of the Big 12 newcomers, who can contend the most right away in football?
DY: A few years ago, the answer would have been Cincinnati. Luke Fickell had that program buzzing and they even advanced to the College Football Playoff. However, he is off to Wisconsin and they are in the middle of a coaching transition with the underwhelming hire of Scott Satterfield.
Dana Holgorsen is at Houston and has experience in the Big 12, but nothing that they have shown on the field has really impressed me in terms of a program trajectory standpoint. BYU has the resources, but they’ve also trended down in recent years under Kalani Sitake.
UCF wouldn’t be the choice of many. Perhaps it would be over time, but I do think they’ve recruited well under Gus Malzahn and he is another coach that has Power Five experience after coaching at Auburn in the SEC.
I’m not high on any of them. Anyone other than Cincinnati wouldn’t surprise me.
8. Of the Big 12 newcomers, who can contend the most right away in basketball?
DY: Obviously that is Houston. They are a perennial Final Four contender and will give K-State and others fits as long as Kelvin Sampson is in charge.
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