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.
Kansas State and head coach Bruce Weber picked up a big commitment on Monday afternoon as four-star wing Xavier Sneed committed to the Wildcats. A bouncy 6-foot-5 wing, Sneed is regarded as the No. 92 overall prospect in the Class of 2016.
The Wildcats landed Sneed over his other finalists of Illinois and Xavier. Sneed is the first commitment for Kansas State in the Class of 2016 and he’s a great start.
Playing with the very successful Saint Louis Eagles in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer, Sneed started alongside Duke commit Jayson Tatum and Iowa commit Tyler Cook and averaged 6.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game in 24 contests. Sneed elevated his play at Peach Jam, however, averaging 9.8 points in five pool play games and shooting 50 percent from 3-point range (8-for-16) over eight games.
Sneed will help replace the departure of senior Justin Edwards as a bigger guard and he’s a nice fit for what Kansas State needs in this class.
Kansas State is getting an experienced forward back in action as redshirt junior D.J. Johnson has been cleared to resume on-court activity, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The story was first reported by Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com.
The 6-foot-9 Johnson appeared in all 33 games for the Wildcats as a sophomore and averaged 13.9 minutes per game for the NCAA tournament team, breaking his foot in the Round of 64 clash with Kentucky. Missing the 2014-15 season recovering from that foot injury, Johnson was granted a medical redshirt and now he can return to help contribute in the Kansas State frontcourt. Johnson averaged 3.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore and shot 51 percent from the floor.
The return of Johnson might not be a season-changing move for the Wildcats, but he has played in at least 30 games his first two seasons in the program and is dependable enough to play in plenty of situations this season.
Kansas State added a late addition to its 2015 class as California native Ron Freeman committed to the Wildcats, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The 6-foot-5 Freeman was previously committed to Cal State Fullerton as a member of the 2014 class, but opted to do an additional year of prep school at Future College Prep.
A scoring wing with good length, Freeman joins a large 2015 recruiting haul for the Wildcats that includes three-star guards Barry Brown, Kamau Stokes and junior college guard Corlbe Ervin while three-star forwards Isaiah Maurice and Dean Wade and three-star center Dante Williams round out the group.
Of the seven-man recruiting class for Kansas State, Freeman is a unique piece because he has good size on the wing. In a recruiting class of smaller guards and front-court players, Freeman should be a decent fit. The new 2015 recruiting class helps offset the loss of five players this offseason for Kansas State. Forward Malek Harris and guards Marcus Foster and Tre Harris were dismissed from the program while Jevon Thomas and Nigel Johnson decided to transfer.
Much has been made about the impact that conference realignment has had on certain rivalries, with games becoming non-conference affairs (Syracuse and Georgetown will meet this upcoming season for the first time since 2013) or simply falling by the wayside. One such matchup was the rivalry between Kansas and Missouri, with the former refusing to play the latter in basketball since Missouri left for the SEC in 2012.
However Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have played the Tigers since their move, and according to the Kansas City Star Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber expects Missouri to be his team’s opponent in the semifinals of the CBE Classic this coming November. That matchup isn’t official, with that due to be announced at a later date.
But in the midst of that conversation, Weber stated that he’d be open to playing Missouri with the Sprint Center in Kansas City serving as the venue. Weber noted that the two teams could meet “every couple of years” should things work out this fall with a possible matchup in the CBE.
Weber stressed K-State and Missouri have merely had informal conversations about a series, but he sees its merits. He was part of a similar series with Missouri, the Braggin’ Rights game in St. Louis, when he coached Illinois.
“It is not a definite by any means, but we have talked about it,” Weber said. “We will see what happens this year with the CBE. If it looks like it was a good thing and a success and we have officially broken the barrier of them leaving, that kind of stigma, then maybe we can move forward with it.”
Kansas City currently hosts the Big 12 tournament and will continue to do so through the year 2020, and Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri have all played regular season games at the Sprint Center as well. For Kansas State and Missouri this would be a nice regional game to play if they agree to do so.
As for Kansas and Missouri meeting again in a regular season matchup, that’s an entirely different situation.
South Carolina picked up a late Class of 2015 commitment on Monday as former Kansas State pledge Eric Cobb selected the Gamecocks. The 6-foot-9 Cobb is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, and hails from Baltimore.
After decommitting from the Wildcats this spring, Cobb took official visits to South Carolina, Seton Hall and VCU before deciding on head coach Frank Martin’s program.
The Gamecocks now have a five-man class in 2015 that includes McDonald’s All-American guard P.J. Dozier, guard Jamall Gregory, forward Chris Silva and center Travon Bunch.
Martin certainly needed an influx of talent and this class should have some rotation players as early as next season. Silva and Cobb both have a chance to earn minutes in a thin South Carolina front line that returns Michael Carrera.