Kansas game microcosm of Weber’s career

Jacob Clanton, Print Editor-in-Chief

There were 15 seconds left on the clock, and Kansas State’s mens basketball team was down just one point to its archrival Kansas. KU’s Malik Newman had drained two free throws to give the Jayhawks a 73-72 lead at Allen Fieldhouse. Now, it was K-State’s turn.

Barry Brown got the ball and, instead of hustling to the basket, walked the ball up the court, stood around for a few seconds, moved to the right side of the court and threw up a prayer as time expired. It hit the rim and bounced up, ending the game.

Though it was just one play, it was a good synopsis of K-State head coach Bruce Weber’s tenure at KSU. Time and time again, the ‘Cats have had chances to win late in games only to miss key shots or turn the ball over.

Enough is enough. It’s time to fire Weber.

Granted, he’s not the only reason for these losses. For example, last year in Allen Fieldhouse, after K-State’s Dean Wade missed an open 3-pointer, KU’s Svi Mykhailiuk dribbled up the court before taking four steps (of two allowed steps) enroute to the game-winning layup. That’s life in the Big 12.

However, you can’t always blame the refs. Last year, down one point to West Virginia in the Big 12 tournament, K-State got the ball with 20 seconds left. That’s more than enough time to set up a good play and score. Instead, Kamau Stokes threw up a contested, fadeaway 3-pointer, missing badly.

Maybe it’s just bad players. Obviously it was the players who were throwing up the shots. As Weber said after the game, the ball was supposed to go to Wade, “just like last year.” This sure makes it seem like Weber’s not at fault.

The only problem with that is Brown’s a junior; he’s had three years under Weber. Not only did Weber recruit Brown and Stokes, but he’s been coaching them for enough time to make lack of game smarts his fault. If a player is unwilling to learn for three years, that’s just bad recruiting.

Speaking of recruiting, that’s not Weber’s forte (Marcus Foster anyone?).

“But Jacob,” I can hear you saying. “Weber-coached teams have made the National Championship and won the Big 12 Regular Season Championship.”

Don’t worry, I’ve thought of that too. Both of those happened in Weber’s first two years coaching (Illinois and K-State respectively). While it takes some coaching skill to take a new team deep in the postseason, I think those years say more about Bill Self and Frank Martin respectively.

Speaking of those two coaches, we need to talk about NCAA tournaments. Self has made 19 straight NCAA tournaments across three teams. As KU’s head coach, he has always made the tournament. In Martin’s five years at K-State, he made the NCAA tournament four times, winning 22 games the other year. In those four tournaments, K-State never finished worse than the Round of 32.

Weber has been at K-State for five years, making three tournaments. His teams have never moved past the Round of 64. The two years K-State didn’t make the tournament, his teams finished with 15 and 17 wins.

That is hard to justify. I dislike comparing coaches to an extent, but the point remains. Weber’s teams are not good in the postseason, arguably the most important time of the season.

I realize that winning isn’t the most important thing at Kansas State. Bill Snyder has given us a great example of how to be a fantastic coach, even as the wins don’t come easily. However, given Weber’s track record and the apparent non-coachability of his players, I think it’s time to say “Au revoir” to Bruce Weber.