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Breaking Down K-State’s Returning Basketball Roster

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament East Regional-Michigan State vs Kansas State

The future is bright in Manhattan under first-year head coach Jerome Tang. The Wildcats had not only one of the best seasons in recent memory, but established a strong culture for the world to follow.

While the season may not have ended the way fans wanted, there are still some big selling points for the team’s future. But with transfer portal entries, and playing finding new homes, I wanted to take a look at the returning roster for the Wildcats.


Quick shoutout to Ryan Gilbert for making this list. He’s a great follow on socials if you aren’t already.

Let’s start off by evaluating all the losses for the Cats, and while it’s only a few key players, Jerome Tang is losing the majority of his offense with the departure of Markquis Nowell, Keyontae Johnson, and Ismael Massoud.

Johnson and Nowell are set to continue their careers post-graduation at the NBA level, while Massoud announced his decision to enter the transfer portal last week. While these are some major losses, this does open three scholarships for Tang to utilize in his new team. The Wildcats have already shown their knack for recruiting with incoming freshman RJ Jones, Dai Dai Ames and Macaleab Rich heading to town. Adding on to that, with a whopping 2.2B impressions on social media during the NCAA Tournament, all signs point towards some more major acquisitions to end up in purple.


The freshmen on the roster are made up of the three players previously mentioned in four-star PG Dai Dai Ames, four-star SG RJ Jones, three-star SF Macaleab Rich and redshirt freshman F Taj Manning. Ames headlines the list as the 67th highest-ranked player in the nation, the 11th-highest ranked point guard in the nation, and is the second best player in the state of Illinois. Jones rests just outside of the top 100 players in the nation as he sits as the 102nd highest-ranked player nationally, 14th-best SG in the nation, and the best player in the state of Utah.

Macaleab Rich, the latest to sign with the Cats, is the 147th highest-ranked player nationally, 34th-best SF nationally, and the fourth-best player in the state of Illinois. The combination of Ames, Jones, and Rich help to make up for the Wildcats 20th-overall recruiting class in the nation, a big step up from the previous year’s 71st spot. Joining the three incoming freshmen in the roster is 6-foot-7 three-star F Taj Manning, who Jerome Tang has raved about this season, even going far enough to say that Manning will be an All-Conference player one day. Manning was the 193rd highest-ranked player nationally, 37th-best PF, and the eighth best player in the state of Illinois coming out of high school.

Moving onto the sophomores for the Wildcats, they’re made up of G Dorian Finister, G Anthony Thomas, and C Jerrell Colbert. Fans should be familiar with the name Dorian Finister who played some minutes early in the season for K-State before deciding to redshirt for the rest of the year. Anthony Thomas is an impressive guard, and one thing that fans might know about him is his size. Thomas, playing the SG position, stands in as a massive 6-foot-7 as a ball handler. The last name on the list is C Jerrell Colbert. Colbert is a transfer from LSU who didn’t see the court in year one with Jerome Tang. Colbert provides unique size for K-State on the low block, as traditionally K-State starts a forward in the five spot.


The long junior to talk about is guard Cam Carter. Carter was a key piece of the Wildcats’ Elite Eight run this season as well as a big part of the regular season success. The transfer from Mississippi State averaged 6.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 1.4 APG in his first season in Manhattan as a key contributor opposite the Bob Cousy Award Winner, Markquis Nowell.

The class of seniors is made up of two crucial members from the season’s squad with big men David N’Guessan, and Nae’Quan Tomlin. Both N’Guessan and Tomlin played big minutes this season and were on the receiving end of multiple dishes from Nowell. N’Guessan, in his first season with the Cats, averaged 6.4 PPG and 3.5 PG, with his key outing coming against Kentucky in the Round of 32 where he went toe-to-toe with Oscar Tschiebwe. Tomlin was the third wheel of the Wildcats offense this season behind Johnson and Nowell, averaging 10.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, and 1.4 APG. Tomlin quickly became one of the best dunkers in K-State history with big play flashes constantly throughout the year.

With three scholarship spots open left in Manhattan, things look great for a rebuilding roster, if you can even call it that. Tang said it himself: He didn’t come to rebuild, he came to elevate. The Cats should be viewed as one of the budding programs in the nation for years to come.

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