Kansas State Wildcats Men’s Basketball Team of the Last Decade

Kansas State Wildcats Men’s Basketball Team of the Last Decade
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

Jerome Tang led Kansas State to several big victories in his second season as Kansas State’s men’s basketball coach, but they didn’t add up to reaching the NCAA Tournament.

A year after going 26-10 and reaching the Elite Eight as a No. 3 seed in Tang’s first year in Manhattan, the Wildcats took a step back at 19-15 overall. There were big overtime wins over in-state rival Kansas and Baylor in Big 12 play, but the Wildcats finished 8-10 in conference games and lost to Iowa State in the second round of the Big 12 Tournament.

Still, hopes are so high after a 45-25 start overall, that Kansas State reportedly will give Tang a raise for a second straight year after Arkansas attempted to lure Tang away. Kansas sports betting sites list the Wildcats national title odds at +12500, the same as Colorado, TCU and Oklahoma.

Kansas State’s future still seems bright, so BetKansas.com took a look at the best players of the past decade. Utilizing Sports-Reference.com, we developed the Wildcats’ team of the past decade since 2014-15. The players included had to have played for the Wildcats during this time, and the starting five is based on combination of Player Efficiency Rating and Win Shares during those years.

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Kansas State Men’s Basketball Team of Last Decade: 2014-2024

PositionPlayerYears With Team During DecadeCombined PER & WS
GuardMarkquis Nowell2021-202329.8
GuardBarry Brown2015-201928.7
ForwardXavier Sneed2016-202030.3
ForwardDean Wade2015-201937.7
CenterD.J. Johnson2015-201729.2

Kansas sports betting apps list Kansas and Duke as the two closest contenders to UConn’s chase for a third straight title at +1100 odds. UConn is the favorite at +1000.

Four of Five Made Deep NCAA Runs

Three of the five players were part of Kansas State’s Elite Eight team in 2018 in coach Bruce Weber’s tenure. Forwards Dean Wade and Xavier Sneed had the top scores of PER and Win Shares at 37.7 and 30.3, respectively.

Guard Barry Brown, whose combined score was 28.7, also played for the Kansas State squad that knocked off Kentucky 61-58 in the Sweet 16 in 2018. In the regional final, the Wildcats lost to that season’s Cinderella, Loyola-Chicago, 78-62.

The other guard among the top five is Markquis Nowell, who led Kansas State to the Elite Eight in Tang’s first season. He had a combined PER and Win Shares of 29.8 after averaging 17.6 points and 8.3 assists in his second senior season with the Wildcats. Nowell, who’s only 5-foot-7, played his first three seasons at Arkansas-Little Rock before transferring to Kansas State for two seasons.

D.J. Johnson ranks as the top center from the past 10 years with a combined score of 29.2 from 2015-2017. Johnson played four seasons in Manhattan, but only the last two were part of the past decade. He played in 129 games overall at Kansas State, averaging 11.3 points and 5.7 rebounds as a senior in 2016-17, when the Wildcats lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Wade is the most successful so far in the NBA, playing the past five seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers and earning a contract extension in 2022. He’s played in 224 games, averaging 5.4 points and 3.4 rebounds. He’s started 32 out of 54 games this season. BetMGM Kansas lists the Cavs as +4000 to win the NBA title.

Nowell is a Toronto Raptors rookie on a two-way contract. He’s played in one game for the Raptors and has averaged 15.1 points and 10.1 assists in nine games in the G-League. Brown has played overseas the past three seasons, including with Guangzhou in China (19.8 points per game) and Rever Vanezia in Italy (9.6 points per game) in the 2023-24 season.

Sneed played a couple of seasons on two-way contracts in the NBA and is currently averaging 16.1 points per game with Brindisi in Italy. 

USA Today photo by Ken Blaze.



Douglas Pils has been a sports journalist for 30 years in Texas, Arkansas and New York having worked for the San Antonio Express-News, the Associated Press, The Dallas Morning News and Newsday. He currently runs the Student Media Department at Baylor University.

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