Despite Elite Eight Loss, Jerome Tang is Optimistic About the Future in Manhattan
“I promise y’all, one day we’re gonna have a parade through Manhattan. And it’s not gonna take long.”… Jerome Tang, addressing K-State fans gathered to greet the basketball team at the Manhattan airport, Sunday, March 26th, 2023.
Despite a crushing loss in the Elite Eight to Florida Atlantic, Jerome Tang and the K-State Wildcats appeared upbeat when they returned to Manhattan and the large crowd of K-State fans that showed up to meet them when their plane landed at the airport. Tang’s comments to the crowd were short and to the point. He confidently stated to the packed house that K-State would win a national championship and, not only that, it would happen soon. Tang did not sound cocky, but low-key and matter-of-fact. It makes me wonder…what does he know that we don’t know?
To be sure, some good recruits are coming in to play for K-State basketball this fall. K-State’s 2023 recruiting class of three players ranks 20th in the country, according to 247Sports. But that group is not exactly the Fab Five. Next year, 2024, looks a lot more promising for K-State. Five-star guard David Castillo has visited campus but is considering a lot of schools at present. K-State has also offered five-star shooting guard Isaiah Elohim from California. The K-State coaching staff is shooting for the stars going after a bunch of five-star recruits, and it is my hunch that Tang thinks they might get a couple of commitments from them.
In addition to that, who knows what might happen in the transfer portal? Forward Ish Massoud announced his transfer from the program on Wednesday, which leaves open another scholarship for a recruit or transfer. Massoud played great in the NCAA tournament, hitting some key shots in the Kentucky and Michigan State games that were the reason K-State advanced to the Elite Eight. His transfer is surprising at first glance, but it is my hunch that he knew that either some players coming in this fall, or redshirted players like Taj Manning and Jerrell Colbert, will rise above him on the depth chart and take his minutes. Massoud did not play much at the beginning of this season but worked his way into more playing time as the season progressed. He seemed to enjoy his teammates and playing for this coaching staff, which makes this transfer even more perplexing. The only thing that makes sense to me is that some better players are coming in and will get his minutes, and Ish saw the writing on the wall and decided to go somewhere he can play more. But who knows for sure?
Will Jerome Tang’s premonition of a championship parade through Manhattan come to fruition? He sure seems to think that it will. I like his confidence, but he will need more “dudes” for it to happen. Markquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson played at an All-American level most of the season, but the team still lost in the Elite Eight. Both of them have played their last college game. Who will step up to replace them? It will be fascinating to find out. Tang is confident that there will not be a drop-off and that this program will continue to improve, elevate, and eventually get a ring. And soon. I will believe it when I see it, but the future sure looks bright.