Bruce Weber Has To Score With His Coaching Staff And 2013 Recruiting Class

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 08: Head coach Bruce Weber of the Illinois Fighting Illini yells at his team against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the first round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 8, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Iowa defeated Illinois 64-61. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Even though Bruce Weber has taken over at K-State under less than ideal circumstances, the real challenge will come following the 2012-2013 season.

While he definitely was not the majority of K-State fans first choice to replace Frank Martin as head coach, Bruce Weber now has the job and is moving forward. His first order of business has been going through individual workouts with the players and trying to persuade everyone to stay on the team and not transfer out.

Even though many people expected underclassman like Angel Rodriguez and Thomas Gipson to possibly look elsewhere so far nothing has been mentioned by anyone, at least not publicly. One rumor that was floating around was that junior to be Will Spradling had asked for permission to transfer but it appears with the departure of Martin he will be sticking around in Manhattan.

The next step in the process for Weber is figuring out who all is going to be on his coaching staff. So far he has made only one hire in former Southern Illinois head coach Chris Lowery. A couple of other names that have been floated out by the media as possible hires are former Illinois assistants under Weber in Jerrance Howard and Jay Price.

The addition of Howard would excite many a K-State fan as he is known as a strong recruiter in the Chicago area. A quick look at the Rivals Top 150 players list for 2013 shows just how much talent is in the Chicago metropolitan area as three players from there are ranked in the top 30.

Another name that has popped up is North Texas assistant coach Shawn Forrest who was in Manhattan recently and watched the Wildcats workout. While it is true that Forrest does not have experience coaching at a BCS level school as his previous stop to North Texas was at Arkansas State, he would bring with him what many seem to feel are strong recruiting ties in the state of Texas.

It is not an overstatement to say that the choices Weber makes on hiring his staff will ultimately determine how much success the Wildcats experience following the 2012-2013 campaign.

Even though the Wildcats are not listed in the early Top 25 list by Andy Katz on ESPN, no one is arguing the fact that Weber has some talent to work with this season. K-State welcomes back proven seniors in guys like Rodney McGruder, Jordan Henriquez and Martavious Irving. These players along with fellow returnees like Spradling, Rodriguez and Gipson should at the very least keep the Wildcats competitive in the Big 12 and quite likely earning an NCAA Tournament invitation.

Following next season though is when K-State fans should really start to pay extra attention to the job performance of Weber and his staff. From where we sit right now it would appear that the Wildcats could have as many as six scholarships available in 2013 to go out and sign players or give to incoming transfers.

The loss of guys like McGruder and Henriquez following this season combined with what looks to be a lost year recruiting right now makes the 2013 recruiting class a no fail proposition for Weber. The actual 2012-2013 basketball season looks to be the easy part of the process for Bruce Weber at K-State, the hardest work will starts afterwards.

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