May We Never Fall To Bruce Status
One thing Kansas State basketball coach Bruce Weber has learned over the course of his career is that every school has a different recruiting identity.
Southern Illinois isn’t the same as Purdue. Illinois isn’t the same as K-State. That’s why Weber has changed his recruiting emphasis at each stop, targeting and signing different types of players.
“Each place has its own niche,” Weber said. “You have to figure out what that is.”
After five years with the Wildcats, what has Weber identified as K-State’s recruiting niche?
“You find the kids you think are good fits for Kansas State that have some talent,” Weber said. “Rodney McGruder, Wesley Iwundu, D.J. Johnson, guys like that that want to come here and work their tails off and end up being really good players. A couple of them, potentially, are now going to be in the NBA. Those are the type of kids you want to get in the program, players that Kansas State fans are proud of.”
One type of player Weber didn’t mention: high-profile prospects that recruiting services love and other power-conference teams covet.
You won’t find any of those in K-State’s latest recruiting class. All five of the Wildcats’ incoming recruits have something in common: The Wildcats were the only team from a major conference that offered them a scholarship.
Fans tend to celebrate commitments and signings based on two criteria — where the recruiting services rank them and the other schools that want them. Beating Kentucky or Duke for a five-star recruit is much better received than, say, Iona and Weber State for a three-star prospect. Fans have celebrated little with this class.
Levi Stockard, a three-star big man from St. Louis, chose K-State over Xavier, but none of the other incoming players had firm options above the mid-major level. Mike McGuirl, a three-star combo guard from Connecticut, was courted by George Mason, Siena and a host of small schools in the northeast. Nigel Shadd, a three-star forward from Arizona, chose K-State over Weber State, Cal State Fullerton and Pacific.
The Wildcats faced the most competition while recruiting Makol Mawien and Amaad Wainright. Mawien, a 6-9 forward who averaged 8.7 points and 5.8 rebounds at New Mexico Junior College last season, began his college career at Utah. Wainright, one of the nation’s top juco guards and the brother of Baylor standout Ishmail Wainright, received calls from Illinois and LSU after he received a release from his North Texas scholarship.
“There’s no doubt Amaad had a bunch of options at the end,” Weber said. “Being from Kansas City, he really wanted to be close to home. With Makol, we were fortunate he was out in the middle of nowhere. By the time people started to notice him he decided to stick with the guys that had recruited him the whole time.”
K-State also went with mostly under-the-radar recruits in 2016 with Brian Patrick, Cartier Diarra and James Love. Xavier Sneed, a former four-star prospect from St. Louis, was the last recruit K-State signed that received major recruiting interest.
Not that Weber hasn’t been involved with others.
“We can recruit everybody, but who can you get? That’s the biggest key,” Weber said. “We have tried on a lot of those (high-profile) kids, I promise you. We try and we will keep trying, but they have got to want us, too. You have to make your own evaluations and find out who wants to come to K-State.”
Without a stockpile of local talent to recruit, Weber’s recruiting focus has pointed elsewhere in search of players that fit K-State’s recruiting niche. He thinks the Wildcats have done fine with that philosophy.
He is proud of the fact that last season there were nights the leading scorer on five teams — Nigel Johnson (Rutgers), Marcus Foster (Creighton), Tre Harris (SIU-Edwardsville) and Malcolm Hill (Illinois) to go along with K-State’s roster — were signed by or committed to Weber.
Weber spends more time recruiting than most head coaches. He wants to be the first major program to offer a recruit, not the second. He trusts himself and his coaching staff more than recruiting rankings.
“We have done pretty well,” Weber said. “If you look at our classes, we have found some pretty good players.”
He thinks he has found five more.
“We feel really good about this class,” Weber said. “The No. 1 thing we needed was size and we added a lot of it … Amaad was kind of a bonus at the end. We did a nice job addressing our needs.”
This is from a particular rag that shall not be linked to.
That’s pretty interesting.
The thing that stands out the most in that article is that Weber is proud of the fact that he lost four good players that were contributing to other teams. That’s not something to be proud of. That’s close to a fireable offense to lose that much talent. I think that tells you everything you need to know about why Bruce Weber’s teams struggle the way they do at times.
Bruce should have been a comedian.
If the Kitties play Missery @ Columbia this year the Antlers will surely have fun with the name Cartier Diarra .
@brooksmd His name sounds like a stomach malady when you pay too much for a diamond.
Funniest coach in the land by far. And I don’t mean funny in a good way, he’s absolutely delusional.
As long as he can recruit kids that nobody else from a Power 5 conference wants he can put a few more play harder banners up on the wall.
K-St deserves this pile of crap
Yeah I can’t help but read it and think wow Bruce is perfect for KSU, absolutely perfect.
Okay, I’m going to go completely contrarian here and feel free to blast me on this.
I just don’t get the Bruce Weber hate. I really don’t. I suppose he’s an easy target because of his vocal timbre and his current locale and his hang-up with Bill Self from his days at Illinois. But weren’t we just touting ourselves recently as “Transfer U”? The implication being our pipeline to superstars isn’t exactly paved with the types of players KU supposedly deserves? And weren’t we all just theorizing about Self’s raiding of lesser conferences for potential 4-year, diamond-in-the-rough types to fill the roster as the new paradigm because of the dearth of big-time recruits coming to our campus? I guess Appalachian State, Towson State and other colleges of that ilk are now way better than some of the schools to which Weber’s recruits were being courted because they produced Graham and Mason?
I’m no Weber or K-State apologist, but if we’re so great we should be much better than a Svi non-travel call against Weber and his “crappy” team at home before mocking the guy mercilessly for his methods.
@tis4tim well disliking him is different than saying he’s a horrible coach. I just dont like the guy. He’s a putz.
@tis4tim he is our sworn enemy, and we must defeat him.
@tis4tim Well, besides his total obsession with the non-call on the travel, there are a few other things. Just this year, he contended after losing twice to KU that KSU played harder than KU in both games. He is always going out onto the court during play, and has been seen pushing his player toward the position he wanted him to be in. He whines incessantly about bad calls, even many games later. These all are on top of similar behaviors over the years.
Worst of all was the Self “funeral” at Illinois, but it needs to be mentioned in connection with his bragging recently about taking Illinois further than ever before, without mentioning that the squad that made it to the NCAA Final was recruited by Self. And that Weber, after Self’s recruits left for the NBA in 2005, consistently coached the Illini to worse records resulting in his being fired in 2012.
So, yeah, a few of us are tired of him. I like that he gives guys like DJ Johnson a shot, but I feel bad that guys like DJ are condemned to being associated with such a whiny coach.
It’s not that I hate Bruce, I think he’s hilarious. Also, is he not a bad coach? Maybe fundamentally he is alright, but we have seen time and time again his players quit on him. That shouldn’t happen. Also he hasn’t been out of the round of 32 in the tournament since he had Self’s players. NUFF SAID.
So Weber went to a Final Four before coach Self?
The concept and idea that he did it with Self’s players is really irrelevant. They weren’t Self’s players. They were his players. He did it his second season at Illinois. The rationalization that he did it with Self’s players serves two purposes – 1) to further demean Weber, and 2) to do what is always done, to try to boost coach Self due to his tourney failures. As if that should have been Self’s final four.
Let me add one more Weber dig, that is always self serving to KU fans – Weber was just lucky. The NCAA tourney is a “crap-shoot” and involves a high amount of luck (the rationalization of the loser).
All that said, he has to be one of the most irritating and annoying individuals I’ve seen on a bench, or anywhere. All for the reasons set out in other posts. Much different than his abilities as a coach. Quite frankly, can you imagine playing for a guy with that voice? Amazing he can do what he does with all of his handicaps.
How is it not relevant? Landing and keeping players is an aspect of running a college basketball program. One that Bruce has proven he isn’t very good at.
The fact remains that he hasn’t made it past the round of 32 since 2005. Just part of that stretch since 2005 got him ran out of town by a mob with pitchforks that would have seen him land at College of Charleston before KSU bizarrely offered him a job.
Also I’m not trying to use this discussion to demean Bruce as a person, or to pump Self up. Self’s tournament issues are what they are, and are unrelated to Bruce entirely. I just think, if I were a KSU fan, I would want better. Of course like KU football, KSU hoops is not a destination job, so maybe they just want someone they can keep around that will sometimes make the tournament.
I was having a conversation with an OSU grad about the Big12 bball coaches. I posited that Bruce was a pretty good X’s and O’s coach, but couldn’t recruit. A KSU grad (his four boys are KSU grads also) piped up and said, his coaching decisions late in games cost KSU at least 3 games last year. I don’t watch KSU unless they are playing KU so I really don’t know, but his own fan base is blasting him and pissed he won those last two games allowing him to retain his job. The OSU guy thought that’s where Underwood would end up at next year, so his very early exit was only a mild surprise.
In a nutshell KU could use a better coach at KSU if they want pushed harder. I miss Hoiberg he was pushing Self to be better. Bruce never will push Self that hard.
@BShark Folks continue to want to demean his final four by saying he did it with Self’s players. The fact is, he did it. He made it to the final four and to the title game. That is a simple undeniable fact that stands alone, and puts him in some pretty exclusive company.
The recruiting narrative is a relevant discussion point, but that has no connection to (thus is irrelevant to) his success with the 2004-05 team.
@dylans His technical at the end of one game, if I recall correctly, cost them any chance of tying that game.
@HighEliteMajor My reiteration of his performance at Illinois was not intended to do anything other than highlight his lack of success with his own recruits. Self thought his last two recruiting classes at Illinois were among his best, and their performance certainly proved it. That does not detract from the fact that it still takes good coaching in the tournament, and Weber did that. But I hate Weber for acting like he is solely responsible for assembling the team.
The teams he assembled and coached? The next seven years are a much better measure of his abilities in both facets of coaching, and that isn’t based on anything but him.
Thanks to everyone for responding to my query. I’m still not seeing how Weber’s annoying physical attributes or sideline antics or superstitious nature make him a fool for recruiting what he believes are good players wherever he can find them. Isn’t that the job of any coach? To leave no stone un-turned when seeking out players that can potentially thrive in one’s system?
KU has all the advantages when it comes to recruiting and still we’re looking in the Sun Belt and the CAA for players. We’re a blue blood with a rich history and yet we still rely on Landen Lucas type guys to man our 5-spot. That’s no knock on those conferences or Landen, whom I really like. My point is that K-State is not a blue blood program with a rich history in the sport. With the exception of Michael Beasley, there aren’t exactly getting a steady supply of OAD-types beating down their door to play there, which means Weber is doing his due diligence to find guys that can compete.
As for personality clashes with players, why would anyone stay in a relationship that isn’t working? What did belaboring things with Bragg, for example, do for us in the long run, except keep us in the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons? Maybe Weber is the wiser for jettisoning problem children before they make national headlines instead of handing out deferred punishments and diversion programs that make our program look really bad to the average viewer.
If someone has a bone to pick with Weber’s physical attributes or his quirkiness, that’s a very different thread than chastising him for getting what he feels are quality players wherever he can find them. I simply can’t fault him for that. So are we picking on the man or his M.O.?
Weber’s antics and voice are irrelevant to me. He’s just not major conference coach.
He can’t retain players, so he uses the excuse that he has recruited some players that succeeded in other places. Happened to him at Illinois. Is currently happening at KSU. He is a guy that would be incredibly successful as a D2 coach or a low major coach. He just doesn’t have the chops to recruit/retain at the highest level.
Mizzou learned the same lesson with Kim Anderson. D1 ain’t D2. You can’t approach it with the same mentality. Weber showed in his statements about recruiting that he is approaching recruiting at a major conference like he’s at a low or mid major program. It’s not just that he’s not getting top 50 or top 100 guys. He’s signing guys because he’s their only major conference offer. If you sign a guy that considered Auburn and Minnesota, but ultimately picked K-State, that’s a solid signing because you’re looking at major conference type guys. When you’re getting guys that were only offered by Pacific, Siena and Weber State, you can’t hope to compete in a Power 5 conference.
I think Weber is a coach that has fallen into the same trap a lot of coaches fall into. As a coach, most guys favor fundamentals, hard work and execution because at each level, those things are important. However, as you move up the chain, talent becomes so much more important because the baseline of talent rises so quickly that if you don’t have X amount of talent, no level of hard work, fundamentals or execution is going to hide your lack of overall ability.
This happens at every level. A junior high coach may love the skinny kid that always hustles, and you can ignore the fact that the kid isn’t at all athletic because the skill level hasn’t ramped up. But that kid has no chance and gets cut the first day of freshman practice because he isn’t skilled enough. High school coaches have the same situation with kids that work hard and execute, but those kids quickly recognize that their competitive days are over after high school.
Weber is trying to coach against pro level talent, but he’s trying to do it by recruiting a ton of less talented, but hard working guys. Sometimes, a guy like Iwundu rewards that. Other times, you end up with a guy that’s outright unplayable because he’s too small, too slow, too whatever. That’s the mistake guys make when evaluating players. You evaluate talent first, effort second. If you find that the most talented kid in the gym is also the hardest worker, you get Josh Jackson. If you just look for effort, you get the annoying guy in the pickup game.
@tis4tim The reason I give Bruce Weber hell is because he coaches Silo Tech. And he’s a whiny little girl. Not just an enemy…a sworn enemy.
Funniest coach in the land by far. And I don’t mean funny in a good way, he’s absolutely delusional.
I truly find Bruce to be funny in an entertaining way.
In the real world we have comedians that TRY to be funny. Their efforts show in their attempts… making it tough to fool a fool like me.
Bruce is the “real deal”…
He is as odd as the 3 of clubs.
His voice cracks like he just hit puberty.
He’s animated like the penguin in Batman.
He really believes he is going to win.
I laugh every time I see him. I’m not laughing at him to be mean or belittling. I just can’t help myself.
It’s funny, I had totally forgotten Bruce had got to a Final 4 until HEM mentioned it
12 years of average teams will do that to one’s ability to remember the one blip on the map
@BeddieKU23 Weber has been to a Final Four and in the entire history of the University of Missouri, the Tigers have not. They always seem to shoot themselves in the foot.
I’d feel bad for the Missouri fans hyping themselves up for Romar 2.0 and the Porters, but nah, they are Missouri fans.
I believe we all agree that Coach Weber is not a good recruiter, but he is not a bad coach either. Here is his complete coaching record:
He did very well at Southern Illinois and it got him the job at Illinois. At Illinois he did extremely well with Self players and went to the Final in his second year but he also finished second twice and 4th twice in what at the time was a very strong Big 10 Conference.
In his first year at KSU, if not for a loss in the last game of the season to OSU and a KU win, KSU would have won the Conference and the streak would have been over.
I find it interesting that people say he is such a lousy recruiter and poor coach but with his second rates players he has beaten KU and came one Svi play short of almost winning at AFH last season. Not bad for a coach that can only recruit scrubs and cannot coach.
Yes, he is annoying and his voice is like nails on a chalkboard, but he can coach and he seems to be principled in the way he will dismiss players that break the rules, even when the team, and by extension his own record, will suffer.
It is OK if we don’t like him but we need to be also fair. Don’t we always point out that KU fans are some of the more knowledgeable and fair fans around? Let’s show some of that knowledge and fairness and leave the personal bias behind and give credit where credit is due.
I personally don’t care for him but I will grudgingly admit he is not a bad coach.
I believe the svi play at AFH would have gone to overtime
@JayHawkFanToo Oh, heck, based on those 3 – count 'em, 3 – victories in the NCAA tournament in the past 12 – count, 'em, 12 – years, let’s just say he has been mediocre at best.
And for those of you pointing out his KSU teams have beaten KU sometimes, and wow! almost beat us other times (while ignoring the overall record), and extolling his single F4 run, I have heard no one asserting that Shaka proved his quality coaching bona fides by beating KU and taking perennial powerhouse VCU to a single F4.
He was good at SIU, he managed to do well with Self’s leftover elite talent at Illinois for 2 years, and he has not distinguished himself since. That tie for the Big 12 championship? Again, success with another coach’s recruits – Frank Martin’s after he ran out of Silo T as fast as he could. Big 12 champion, yes, and out in the round of 64, again. .500 record in the Big 12 overall. More years in the bottom half of the conference than the top. Like Illinois, a nice start, then a pretty rapid race out of sight.
You can admire him all you want, but to me he strikes no chord remotely sounding like good.
@JayHawkFanToo Agreed. He is a 2nd tier P5 conference coach. A guy that a football school like KSU should not steer away from. Give him support and I think he will be successful every 4 or 5 years. The other years, just mediocre. But mediocre is good. Shooting for the stars with gamble hires is what sets programs back years. Bruce is a proven coach that won’t go 5-25. Probably not even 10-20. Frank Martin’s and Dana Altman’s don’t grow on trees. It is KSU’s fault for letting those two get away. Now they are stuck with a Bruce. And should be happy the program is in as good of shape as it is.
Did you even read my post? Way to take things out of context.
"That tie for the Big 12 championship? Again, success with another coach’s recruits – Frank Martin’s after he ran out of Silo T as fast as he could."
You indicate that Frank Martin is a great coach yet his record against KU is 2-9 and one of the wins was on his first game against KU with Huggy’s players including POY Michael Beasley while Weber and his rag tag band is 2-10; essentially the same record. You also mentioned Shaka Smart, last season Weber went 2-0 against Texas and its much higher ranked players and 2-1 against Baylor, including a win when Baylor was ranked #2.
"You can admire him all you want, but to me he strikes no chord remotely sounding like good."
what part of:
I personally don’t care for him but I will grudgingly admit he is not a bad coach.
is so hard to understand? I did not say he was a great coach, I said he was not a bad coach. I posted his record so people can decide for themselves how good…or bad, he is. You obviously think he is bad, I happen to think he is not bad. Reasonable people can have reasonably disagreements, right?
You said , “I believe we all agree that Coach Weber is not a good recruiter, but he is not a bad coach either. Here is his complete coaching record:”
Pretty simple. “Not a good recruiter” and “Not a bad coach.”
How can there be disagreement there?
I’m sorry, but anyone that actually understands the game would have to agree that Weber is “Not a bad coach.” @mayjay agrees. Anyone really disagree? I might have to reconsider my understanding of the game.
Now, I think he’s actually a good coach. That is different. But I do think he is. But that voice …
@JayHawkFanToo I would take Frank Martin over Bruce Weber any day of a Neptunian length year. Frank just rebuilt a program over a course of 5 years from the utter depths of darkness to a Final 4.
I do happen to think that is a better job than taking a Final 4-caliber team to not being in the tournament in a mere 2 years, and winning 3 whole NCAA games in 12 years. (One this year in the First Four in Dayton.)
But you are right, we can disagree on whether terms like “good,” “bad,” “mediocre,” or “deluded self-aggrandizing whiny jerk” apply to Weber. Not on one thing, though: my dislike of Weber is not out of bias, but on a combination of his record and his lack of respect for the coaches who paved his way. You never saw any KU coach trashing a successful predecessor to try to raise his own sense of worth. (Incidentally, I dislike Boeheim almost entirely due to his whiny personality. His record would normally be a reason to try to like him more, but not after his NCAA sanctions that have caused me not to have any respect for him. I dislike Cal, but grudgingly admire his success.)
As for Shaka, please read that again. I never said he was good. But people are saying Bruce is good because he went to the Final 4. I simply asked why no one thinks that of Shaka.
Here is a scenario appropriate to this discussion. Picture the 3 coaches, Bruce Weber, Frank Martin, and Bill Self on the recruiting trail, walking into the home of a top level recruit to speak with player and parent(s), attempting to sell a program. Wily Bill and Eager Frank are bound to out-recruit Unfortunate Bruce at every stop. I do think that the guy is a much better than average (see Shaka Smart) coach; but probably the weakest recruiter from the weakest hoops recruiting site in our league.
Tough enough for Bill to lure top ten recruits to Lawrence, Kansas. But just imagine the difficulty fetching an Andrew Wiggins or Josh Jackson to Manhattan!
Texas Hawk 10
Weber belongs in the mid majors. His lack of recruiting ability is much less of an issue at that level than it is at a P5 school. The guy is an exceptional X’s and O’s coach as we’ve all seen what he’s capable of when he has talented players.
Bruce is not worth the ink.
I did not say who is the better coach between Weber and Martin, all I said is both had just about identical records against KU and both won games against KU with players they inherited and overall, Martin had the better players. Having said that, Weber has won Confernce titles in 3 conferences including the Big 12 while Martin’s best finish is tying for second in the Big 12 and Weber trumps Martin’s Final Four with a Title game appearance.
I have always been a big fan of Coach Martin, even when he was not popular. I don’t really care much for Weber.
Weber not a bad coach, and he’s beat Self more than once. But he has flaws in his personality, and in his recruiting…proven over time.
The thing to hate at KSU isnt Weber, or their players, who just want to play…but their fans. Look, Weber beat Self, they rush the court, Weber tied for Big12 title once, and just won a Tourney game…but those fans still want him gone.
Far more entertaining coaches to talk about: Frank Martin. Never hated or disliked him, ever. But of course some of those purple fans didnt like him either. Brad Underwood and Lon Kruger too smart to go back to coach purple.
John Calipari is also far more entertaining than Weber.
KSU needs to leave Weber alone, and get deadly serious about trying to replace Snyder.