McGuirl, Smith Discuss the Upcoming Season | #schoolshooting


MANHATTAN, Kan. – Seniors Mike McGuirl and Mark Smith met with the area media on Wednesday morning (October 13) via Zoom to discuss the progress of practice as well as the upcoming 2021-22 men’s basketball season.
 
K-State returns four of its top-5 scorers, including McGuirl and rising sophomores Davion Bradford, Selton Miguel and Nijel Pack. In all, the Wildcats return nine lettermen, including juniors Kaosi Ezeagu and Carlton Linguard, Jr., and sophomores Luke Kasubke and Seryee Lewis. The team added seven newcomers in the offseason, including Division I transfers Mark Smith (Missouri), Markquis Nowell (Little Rock) and Ismael Massoud (Wake Forest) and a pair of freshmen in Maximus Edwards and Logan Landers.
 
The only senior in 2020-21, McGuirl averaged 11.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game while starting all 29 games. He led the way in 12 team categories, while was second in scoring to Pack (12.7 ppg.), who became the first true freshman to pace the Wildcats in scoring since 2013-14. Bradford (7.7 ppg.) and Miguel (7.2 ppg.) were fourth and fifth in scoring, respectively, while Bradford recorded the second-highest single-season field goal percentage (62.1) in school history.
 
Smith elected to take his extra year of eligibility at K-State in late March after playing the last three seasons at Missouri (2018-21), where he saw action in 69 games with 61 starts. Known for his shooting ability, he averaged 10.3 points in his career as a Tiger on 39.8 percent shooting, including 37.5 percent from 3-point range. He also spent one season at Illinois (2017-18) where he played in 31 games with 18 starts as a true freshman.
 

Season tickets are currently on sale with the Wildcats slated to play 18 games at Bramlage Coliseum, beginning with an exhibition game against Pittsburg State on Thursday, November 4. The official opener is set for Wednesday, November 10 against Florida A&M.
 
Fans can purchase season tickets in a variety of ways, including toll free at (800) 221.CATS (2287) and online at www.kstatesports.com/tickets.
 
The Wildcats will host an open scrimmage on Saturday afternoon starting at 3:45 p.m., CT at Bramlage Coliseum prior to the Iowa State football game.
 
Fans can enter the arena through the Northwest or Northeast entrances with the doors to Section 4-5-6 on the West side and Section 18-19-20 on the East side opening at 1:30 p.m., CT. Admission is free.
 
Fans will be able to pick up roster cards (limited supply) and schedule posters on the Bramlage concourse.
 
Below is a transcript of the media availability.
 
Senior Mike McGuirl
On the start of practice…
“Practice has been good so far. I mean, it’s been really competitive. It’s nice this year being able to go 5-on-5 every day, which we weren’t able to last year in the fall, so it’s been real positive. The energy’s been positive, and it’s been a lot of fun.”
 
On the newcomers…   
“They’re all really good. They’re all going to help us this year. They’ve all been great on and off the court. Each one brings something different. Markquis (Nowell) is a point guard who could really score and get others involved and he’s a gnat defensively. Mark (Smith) is a strong and athletic wing who can really guard as well as shoot the ball. They all can really shoot it. They give us the ability to be versatile and deep.”
 
On what he has seen specifically from Mark Smith
“I think more than anything it is his physicality more than anything. I mean, he’s, he’s very strong, he could get rebounds that a lot of guys his size can’t get, and he could get to the basket and make plays that are bigger than his size. So that’s what is most impressive about him to me.”
 
On the expectations for the team after a couple of disappointing seasons…
“I mean, the past two years haven’t been very, very good here, but we expect it to be better. But talking about it, hoping for isn’t going to get it done. So, we got to go out and make it happen.”
 
On how this team will look different from other teams…
“I think it’s just depth and versatility. We can go with different lineups with different players who can go for 20 on any given night. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. And but more than anything, we want to keep defense (our) number one (priority), and that’s what Coach Weber has really emphasized. We want to be a dominant defensive team.”
 
On his experience heading into a sixth year with all the newcomers…
“I mean, it’s, it’s wild. Every year. There are players who leave and new ones who come in, but the coaches have been here the whole time. And I’m really happy with the team we have now. I’m having a lot of fun. I really love this team. We’re getting along well. And we’re just improving every day.”
 
On Nijel Pack and how he has grown in the offseason…
“He’s growing in many ways. He’s really maturing. He’s using his voice a lot more now because he has a lot of people who like to listen to what he says. I don’t know if you realize that as much as last year as a freshman, but I mean, he’s so talented. He’s such a talented scorer. When you see it every day (in practice), you are not as surprised to see it in games.”
 
On Selton Miguel and how he has grown this summer after playing with the Angolan National Team…
“He’s improved so much. I mean, it’s obvious that playing with real professionals has helped him a lot. Because he’s come back. He’s very strong. He was already playing defense very well, but he has improved his stamina and he is a lot more comfortable bringing the ball up the court and getting us into our offense. He’s just improved a lot across the board this offseason.”
 
On the progress of the defense from this time last year…
“I’d say we’re so much farther along than last year. We were able to start the basic principles at the beginning of summer. With having a lot of older guys back has helped the new guys. I mean last year I was one of the very few veterans and it’s hard to just to lead everybody. When the young guys can see a full group of five doing things the right way (defensively), it helps a great deal. We’re a lot farther along with the new guys and the transfers have picked up the defense pretty fast. We still got a ways to go for sure to be where we want to be but we are a much better spot than last year.”
 
On the offensive improvement…
“Yeah, there’s no doubt in my mind, we will be better on offense. It’ll be a matter of getting good shots every possession because we have a lot of people who can shoot and who can get their (own) shots off almost wherever. Our mission is to get the best shot every possession and that’s what we’re going to work for.”
 
On Markquis Nowell and his range as a shooter…
“Yeah, his range is incredible. It’s clear that he can get his shot off whenever he wants. For him, it’s been like being a point guard trying to get us into something and then later in the shot clock it when it’s time for him to take that shot himself. And he can get hot, very quickly. There’s no telling which side he’s going to shoot, and he can make it, so he’s a very good shooter. He’s going to be a great addition to our team.”
 
On making the decision to return for another season…
“I made a quick decision because it was the right decision for me. This is the right place for me and the right decision to come back. I have so much trust in this coaching staff with Coach Weber. We have a relationship that you can’t just create in one year. So, it was a quick decision because it was an easy decision. And then when I made the decision, like I had a vision in my head of how I would like things to like, to be the leader of the team and I think it’s just right on point with that.”
 
On Mark Smith’s leadership…
“Mark is full of energy every day, you can count on him to come in and have positive energy, and just play hard. And it’s what we need. He’s been around. He’s played in the Big Ten and the SEC, so he has a lot of experience. And he’s a really good player. And he knows what he knows what he’s doing. He’s seen things that a lot of us haven’t seen. So, his leadership’s been great.”
 
On the freshmen…
Being a freshman is tough. And they’ve both handled it so well. They still come every day, ready to get better. They know they’re going to come in and they’re going to do stuff wrong because that’s just how it is (being a freshman). They’re not used to it. They’ve been playing high school, but they’ve done so well. They both play very hard. Max (Edwards) is very athletic. And Logan (Landers) can really rebound the ball and he plays very hard. So, it’ll be fun to watch them develop.”
 
On how the coaches have done so far in building the team’s chemistry…
“The coaches have done a great job, to say the least, to get the transfers we got, to really adjust and learn from last year and, and move forward from it in a positive manner. Everything’s been positive and the coaches have done a great job so far. And I’m looking forward to what they’re going to do this year. Because when it comes to defensive scouts and stuff, when the season gets going, they’re second to none. And I’m just really excited for the season to start.”
 
On his role this season…
“I think that’s still to be determined. I don’t know what I’ll be doing. But I’m going be out there, and I’m going to be helping the team win in whatever fashion that looks like. If that’s five assists, if that’s 10 rebounds, whatever, whatever I’m called to do, I’m going to do it to help the team win. And so that’s all I really strive (to do) is to help our team win.”
 
On continuing the positive momentum from last season…
“I think the momentum was kept already. Once the offseason starts, it’s time to get better. And we did that from the spring to the summer, we just continue to improve work hard, get better (each day). And into this fall, we’re just trying to keep that mentality of coming into the gym every day, to get better, to do what we have to do to win games. And we got what we got ahead of us, we’re just going to take it day-by-day and improve. Because that’s what we did last season. Ultimately, we improved every day. And going into this season, we got to where we’re just continuing to improve. And I think the sky’s the limit.”
 
On similarities with other teams, he has played on…
“I think there are some, but we’re different in a lot of ways. Because on those teams, we had Kam (Stokes), Barry (Brown), Dean (Wade) and X (Xavier Sneed) who had been here, and they grew up in the program, and they learned through the long haul. But this team’s a little different in ways with how we’re constructed. We got new guys, who are going to be big factors, and young guys, who are going to be big factors. I’d say the biggest similarity (with those teams of the past) will be on defense because defense travels, defense carries. We go back and we watch film of those teams because we want to see how they go, how we guarded back then, and we want to be able to bring that back and even, maybe bring it to a higher level.”
 
Senior Mark Smith
On the adjustment to K-State…
“It’s going great. Actually, I feel like with this team, I feel like we’ve been together for a very long time, just like all the guys are close with each other. Just the atmosphere like everyone’s always laughing and giggling. I think we really came close after we did “The Program.” It was a team building activity. I think we really became close, like we all had to get in the water (for one of the activities). They gave us this drill to do, and it was tough. And some people couldn’t swim on our team, and we had to hold them up (in the water). And I feel like we really became close like that was the moment where we all just kind of looked out for each other. It’s like I’ve known these guys for four years already and I’ve only been here for months.”
 
On his role and how it will change from his time at Missouri…
“I think some of it will be similar but a lot different. Like I’ll be coming off screens and a lot more playmaking getting into the basket more, not just being a shooter.”
 
On transferring…
“I think I’ve found a good home. I mean, not everyone wants to transfer because you hope the first one (school) you pick is right one. I just feel like this is the right fit for me just how it’s been so far. It’s been a great experience.”
 
On how he likes Manhattan so far…
“I like it a lot. It’s good.”
 
On impressions of his teammates so far in practice…
“We’re just learning. I feel like we’re getting better each day. Coach puts in a new play each day and he challenges us with a new challenge each day and I think guys attack it head on. Guys are really improving like Luke (Kasubke), he’s really making tremendous strides each day on how he’s shooting and his playmaking, you can tell he’s really confident and comfortable right now. A lot of guys are making strides especially the freshmen you know, just basically they’re getting thrown into the jungle and they’re learning and picking it up fast. So, I think guys are just learning and taking coaching and I feel like we have a chance to be a really great year.”
 
On arriving early (to campus this summer) and how the extra work is paying off…
“I just worked out with (graduate assistant) Nate (Michael) every morning at 8 a.m. Nate and I really just work out every morning shooting and stuff of that nature.”
 
On his mindset entering his last season of college…
“As being an older guy on the team, I really just wanted to just lead by example. That’s kind of what I’ve been in if guys need help, they know they can always ask me, and I always try to help them by just trying to lead by example and work hard. I want to be vocal like just encourage the guys when coach gives us a challenge, trying to basically do it how Coach Weber always talks about being mission-focus, and just try to keep the guys on track, being an older guy and having gone through it. And this is my third school so I kind of know what to expect and just try to help guys in any way I can.”
 
On playing for Coach Weber after having been recruited by him on numerous occasions…
“It’s actually been great. I’ve actually feel like as a basketball player I’ve really just I’ve gotten a lot better in just learning the game. I feel like he’s taught me a lot already so far. I’ve really been watching a lot of film and he’s just been really trying to teach me to be a technician and just focus on the little things. I’m feel like I’m getting better every day just whatever he challenges me to do.”
 
On his relationship with the coaching staff…
“Yeah, I really have a good relationship with Coach (Chris) Lowery. I mean I do my laundry at his house (laughter) so we have a really good relationship and he recruited me three times. I watched a lot of film with Coach (Jermaine) Henderson. He always just checks up on me. He doesn’t really yell too much but he like he really can like calm you down if you’re getting a little too worked up. And Coach Shane (Southwell), he really knows a lot of basketball. He’s good with working guys out and he’s helped me helped me out a lot this summer with my game.”
 
On what to expect from him on the floor this year…
“I’m going to do a lot of playmaking to get guys open and I feel like I’ll get in the lane a lot and finish at the basket and obviously I’m going to play hard, and guard and you know knock down open shots”
 
On playing small ball…
“With our offense, it really doesn’t matter (where I play). Sometimes I’ll be the four. I think I can play one through four. I think I can guard some of the fours, just depending on the matchup. I will probably play at the three some. We have a lot of guys, so we can do a lot of things. I think we will be really fun to watch this year.”
 
On his strengths on defense…
“I think getting steals and my one-on-one defense.”
 
On the decision to transfer…
“I just talked to my family, and I thought I had a solid year at Mizzou, but I thought I could do better. I actually talked to Coach (Cuonzo) Martin about it, and he thought I can have a better year, but I just thought I shouldn’t go somewhere else. I just didn’t like my role at Mizzou. I mean those guys are great players, I played with a lot of great players, I just thought I could do more besides just being a shooter. I put my name in the (transfer) portal and Coach Weber said he thought I could do all of those things here (at K-State) so I didn’t even waste my time. I committed right away. I’ve known the coaches a long time. And I just thought this is the best place for me.”
 
On being one of the team’s surprises…
“I just think it’s the experience I’ve had just at different places, learning from different guys. But I really just tried to lead by example, that’s kind of always been my thing. Just work hard. Lead by example. And just even here, I’ve just grown in holding guys more accountable. Not trying to focus on myself so much and just try to focus on you know, encouraging other guys to do to do well too. Because once you lose yourself in the team, you do better. And I feel like that’s what I’ve been doing so far.”
 
On his impressions of his fellow St. Louis area guys Luke Kasubke and Davion Bradford
“Like I said earlier, Luke’s really playing confident right now like he’s really playing great basketball. When I pass it to Luke, he really doesn’t miss. Even when he’s wide open, he’s knocking every shot down and he’s playing a lot more confident like dribbling the ball again to the basket. Making tough shots. So, he’s really playing like Chaminade Luke (when he played at Chaminade High School) and I would agree because I saw that Luke and he was a beast. So, he’s really playing great basketball right now. Davion just lives in the paint. I was Davion’s host (on his visit to Mizzou) and I know how talented he is, so he and I have been pretty close friends for a long time. He works very hard. He comes in every day does extra conditioning. He’s just looking to be great out there. Right now, he’s really vocal. A lot of people listen to what he has to say. He and Kaosi (Ezeagu) go at it every day. They’re pushing each other.”
 
On how previous transfers have helped him adjust to K-State… 
“I think the experience helped a little bit. I’m still learning a lot. Here, but I definitely think you know, this transition has been easier for me. I had a good experience at Mizzou. I have great relationships with a lot of great people there. This just feels like family. I learn something new every day. I just keep getting better.”
 
On the other guards…
“Both Markquis (Nowell) and Nijel (Pack) really can shoot. Markquis is really a special player, I think you guys will see that just, he’s really electric. You know, when he starts making shots, he can really shoot it from anywhere. He has a lot of flashes. It’s just when he gets underneath you, you can’t go anywhere. He’s really strong. He’s strong, just as strong as some of the bigs, he really plays bigger than what he is like. Nijel can really shoot. It’s like he really doesn’t miss open shots. I mean, he’s fun to play with. He makes people better around him. He’s unselfish. So, it’s really fun to play with both of those guys. Mike (McGuirl) just bring it every day. I don’t know how to explain it, he just gets to the basket. Max (Edwards) just knocks down shots, plays hard on defense. I feel like we’re really pushing each other to get better. Mike and I just guarding each other every day, going at it. And that’s with all the guards. So, I just feel like we have a lot of depth to do a lot of things. There’s a lot of great players. I feel like it’d be one person, it could be a different person each night.”
 
On Maximus Edwards
“He’s actually he’s been making strides each day, I would say, he can really shoot, like a spot-up shooter. He’s really good at that. And just like straight line drives because he’s super athletic. He always puts his head on the rim. I bet he’ll have a lot of nice dunks this year. He plays hard. He gets rebounds. And he’s just learning like he’s open. He’s very coachable. And that’s what I like about Max, he’s very coachable. He always asks for help. And he’s very athletic, so he will be an exciting player to watch.”
 
On the family vibe of Manhattan…
“Definitely. It kind of reminds me of Edwardsville (Illinois), my hometown, just a very family vibe. like everyone’s extremely nice around campus. Even the people outside of campus. It’s a great place to be around. I love the atmosphere here. I can’t wait when we start playing in Bramlage get fans back in there again.”
 
 
How to follow the ‘Cats: For complete information on K-State men’s basketball, visit www.kstatesports.com and follow the team’s social media channels on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.





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