Nae’Qwan Tomlin was dismissed from the Kansas State basketball team on Wednesday after missing the first nine games of the 2023-24 basketball season due to suspension.
Tomlin had been suspended since a disorderly conduct arrest related to a brawl at Tubby’s Sports Bar on October 29, and his situation was being handled like a “season-ending injury,” according to head basketball coach Jerome Tang, as he reiterated in a press conference on Monday.
“Nothing has changed about his status,” Tang said on Monday, prior to Tomlin’s dismissal. “I’m going into this treating it like a season-ending injury, unless something different happens. I’m excited for him. He’s going to graduate in a few days. So that’s the next step in this process for him and for us. We are just going to keep loving and supporting him and see where things go from there.”
On Wednesday, Tomlin posted a photo of himself dribbling a basketball to his Instagram story, with the words “I want to be free” captioned in the post. That was just under 24 hours after he’d seen on the bench in street clothes for Tuesday night’s 72-71 OT victory over Villanova. During that game, the student section could be heard chanting, “We Want Nae’Qwan,” to no avail, but the students have also shown their support for Tomlin via protest.
As KSNT 27 news crew caught a group of students waiting to protest this week, they caught a very cool moment from the Wildcats’ basketball coach, Jerome Tang and assistant coach Jareem Dowling.
Here, Tang can be seen defusing said protest by showing thanks for the support and telling students to “share love” in the difficult situation.
Coach Tang has been nothing if not genuine during his time in Manhattan, and this was just another example of that, as he seems vehemently interested in the best for his community.
K-State (7-2) is set to face LSU (5-3) in Baton Rouge (La.) on Saturday and will now have to help his team move on knowing that one of its best players isn’t coming back to the court for the Wildcats.