LAWRENCE KS - JANUARY 29: Head coach Frank Martin of the Kansas State Wildcats glares at Shane Southwell #1 during the game against the Kansas Jayhawks on January 29 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
The Kansas State basketball program seemed to be in a constant state of tension last season under Frank Martin. With a new coach in town two players in particular should be expected to step up their games.
The rumor mill around the time that Frank Martin decided to leave Kansas State for South Carolina was that he was facing a possible mass exodus of players. It has turned out that new head coach Bruce Weber was somehow able to keep the entire roster together.
While it is still unknown how each player on the K-State team will react to a new coaching style it can be expected that two players in particular, Will Spradling and Shane Southwell, should have a major increase in performance in the 2012-2013 season. Both players will be entering their junior year of eligibility.
Shortly before the news of Martin possible leaving for the Gamecocks a report by Curtis Kitchen stated that Spradling had requested and been granted his release from the university. While this was denied by Spradling it would not have been a major surprise if he had wanted to get a fresh start away from Martin.
Last season Spradling started every game for the Wildcats but he did not always play up to the level that was anticipated of him. His three point percentage dropped from his freshman year and many times he seemed hesitant to pull the trigger when open. It seemed that as the year wore on his confidence was simply gone as the constant verbal barrage he received from Martin was wearing on him.
Whether you believe that Spradling was going to transfer or not it does not take a major leap of faith to believe that he will welcome a fresh start under Weber and the new coaching staff. It has been shown in the past that Weber's motion offense is a guard friendly system that frequently creates open looks from behind the arc. Wildcat fans have to think that an energized and more confident Spradling will be knocking down plenty of those open shots this year.
Now in the case of Shane Southwell, improvement can fully be expected if he actually receives a steady amount of playing time. In the 2011-2012 season, Southwell was never able to totally get into the flow of games as Martin was never consistent with his playing time.
For example in a four game stretch during conference play between February 4th and February 13th, Southwell averaged just over 22 minutes a game. In the Wildcats next game on the road against Baylor he logged only one minute of action. This yo-yo playing time seemed to negatively affect his game and make him much more tentative when he did get into games.
While no one would ever classify Southwell as an outstanding scorer he does at times show a nice mid-range jumper that can be effective when he is in rhythm and not playing in fear of getting pulled at any moment. As most Wildcat fans know he also has the ability to be an above average passer although his belief in this aspect of his game caused Martin to melt down at times when the pass did not always reach its intended target.
As a freshman, Southwell averaged only 1.8 points per game and this past season he raised this total only a small amount as he finished at 3.2 points per game. With an increased and steady workload it should be expected that Southwell could more than double his scoring average from a year ago. If he can accomplish this it would greatly help out a Wildcat team that struggled at times to put the ball in the basket.
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