Kansas State’s Jerome Tang on NCAA Tournament Head Coaching Debut: ‘This Hits Different’
In his very first season, there’s been quite a bit of newness for just about everything Kansas State head coach Jerome Tang has encountered. He got another new taste Thursday afternoon, stepping to the podium for an NCAA Tournament press conference for the first time, and he reacted accordingly.
“This hits different,” a personable Tang said. “I’ve never sat here with my name in front of me.”
Indeed, he has not. But it almost certainly won’t be the last time either, with how quickly he’s made an impact in Manhattan.
Under his direction, Kansas State completed the regular season with a healthy 23-9 record. That included an 11-7 mark in Big 12 play.
All-Big 12 First Team recipients Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell are obviously a huge reason that’s the case. Johnson and Nowell have been highly productive in the scoring department, pouring in 17.7 and 16.8 points per game, respectively. In addition to that, Johnson is grabbing 7.0 rebounds per contest, and Nowell is racking up 7.6 assists per contest.
Tang, who, as mentioned, has had a phenomenal first season in front of the Kansas State bench, is the Big 12 Coach of the Year. He’s seen his team collect victories against each of the league’s other contenders during the run.
And all that even has a notable former Big 12 star in ex-Oklahoma guard Trae Young picking the Wildcats to cut down the nets. He has them doing so over another Big 12 team, Texas.
The third-seeded Wildcats will start things off in that East Region against No. 14 seed Montana State in Greensboro, N.C., on Friday. The winner will play either No. 6 seed Kentucky or No. 11 seed Providence.