Sunday afternoon Kansas State landed its second verbal commitment in the Class of 2016, as 6-foot-9 power forward James Love made his pledge to the Big 12 program. News of Love’s commitment was first reported by Hoopseen.com, with Love confirming via Twitter shortly thereafter.
Love joins small forward Xavier Sneed in Kansas State’s 2016 recruiting class to date. The Wildcats will lose a member of its front court rotation at the end of the 2015-16 season in center Stephen Hurt, and Love gives them an active and athletic forward moving forward.
Love attends American Heritage School in Miramar, Florida, and his decision came on the heels of his official visit to Kansas State this weekend.
With four players having already left the program by way of either a transfer or dismissal, Kansas State announced Friday morning that a fifth player will be moving on.
Freshman Malek Harris, who played in 27 games as a freshman after arriving on campus as a top 100 prospect, has been dismissed from the program with head coach Bruce Weber announcing the move. Harris is the third player dismissed from the program, joining guards Marcus Foster and Tre Harris, with Jevon Thomas and Nigel Johnson having decided to transfer.
Harris averaged 2.1 points and 1.9 rebounds in just over 12 minutes of action per game, and in Kansas State’s Big 12 tournament loss to TCU he scored ten points in 17 minutes of action. Harris also had some disciplinary issues during his time in Manhattan, as he (along with Foster) was suspended in early February for a violation of team rules. Harris missed three games as a result of that suspension.
With the departure there’s an even greater need for Kansas State’s six newcomers (one junior college transfer, five freshmen) to produce in 2015-16. The Wildcats’ most productive returnees are guards Wesley Iwundu and Justin Edwards, and they’ll need to lead the way if Kansas State is to have any shot at rebounding from a disappointing 2014-15 season.
With two players, most notably Marcus Foster, having been dismissed from the program and a third (Jevon Thomas) transferring. Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber already had some departures to deal with this offseason. Wednesday brought about a fourth departure, as 6-foot-1 point guard Nigel Johnson announced by way of his Twitter account that he’s decided to leave the program.
Johnson shared time at the point with Thomas, averaging 5.2 points and 1.7 assists in just under 18 minutes of action per contest. The sophomore started seven of the 32 games in which he played in 2014-15, reaching double figures six times with the most notable being his 20-point outing in the Wildcats’ win over Kansas February 23.
All four of the dismissals/departures from the Kansas State program this spring have come on the perimeter, meaning that Weber and his staff have some work to do when it comes to adding depth ahead of the 2015-16 season.
Justin Edwards, who averaged 6.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in his first season after transferring in from Maine, is Kansas State’s only scholarship guard with eligibility remaining. The Wildcats will have three newcomers on the perimeter (six total), incoming freshmen Barry Brown and Kamau Stokes and junior college transfer Coribe Ervin.
Given the departures, those guards will be key players for Kansas State as it looks to rebound from a disappointing 2014-15.