Sept. 28, 2010
MANHATTAN, Kan. - With the start of men's basketball practice just weeks away, expectations for the upcoming season for Kansas State are at all-time high with the release of several preseason Top 25 and All-American teams.
K-State has been listed in the Top 10 in several preseason polls, including No. 4 by Lindy's Sports, No. 5 by Athlon Sports, No. 6 by The Sporting News and No. 10 by Blue Ribbon Yearbook. Each of the publications has the Wildcats predicted to finish in the top-2 of the Big 12, including Lindy's who predicted the team to win the Big 12 crown in 2010-11.
The Wildcats, who posted a school-record 29 wins en route to its first trip to the Elite Eight since 1988 last season, return five players with starting experience in 2010-11, including seniors Curtis Kelly and Jacob Pullen who started all 37 games a year ago. The squad also welcomes seven newcomers, including junior Freddy Asprilla, who was the Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year at Florida International in 2008-09.
Pullen has made appearances on several preseason All-American teams, including the first team by Blue Ribbon Yearbook and The Sporting News, the second team by Dick Vitale and the third team by Athlon Sports. In addition, he has been tabbed the Big 12's preseason Player of the Year by Lindy's and listed on the preseason all-conference first team by Athlon's, Blue Ribbon, Lindy's and The Sporting News. Teammate Curtis Kelly was named to the All-Big 12 first team by Blue Ribbon and Lindy's and to the second team by Athlon's.
Pullen earned recognition to several All-American teams following his junior season in 2009-10, in which, he led the Wildcats in scoring at 19.3 points per game, while setting school single-season marks for 3-point field goals (110) and steals (67). He enters his senior season with a chance at becoming the school's all-time leading scorer, trailing Mike Evans (2,115; 1974-78) by 609 points. Kelly, who ranked third in scoring at 11.5 points per game, led the team in both rebounding (6.2 rpg) and blocked shots (2.0 bpg) a year ago while connecting on a team-best 56.5 percent from the field. He was named to several All-Newcomer teams.
The Wildcats will continue with individual training for the coming weeks before hosting "Madness in Manhattan" on Friday, Oct. 15 to tip off the start of basketball season. Segments of the event will be broadcast live on ESPNU as part of its Midnight Madness coverage from 8 p.m. to midnight CT.