The mailbag is starting to spill over, which is a hint that it’s time to answer some questions that you, the readers, have been asking.
Q. – What’s going on with the Kansas State men’s basketball team?
A. — The Wildcats are now 5-5 in the Big 12 and 12-11 overall, which means about the only way they’re going to make the NCAA Tournament is by winning the Big 12 Tournament. I really believed the Wildcats had Top 3 potential in the Big 12 before the season, but the bottom is falling out. Now star player Marcus Foster has been suspended, along with Malek Harris. You just have to wonder if Bruce Weber has lost this team and its tuning him out. Can anybody say Brad Underwood?
Q. — The Wichita State Shockers barely got past lowly Bradley 62-59 on Wednesday. What are your impressions of WSU?
A. – The Shockers look like a tired team to me. Let’s face it, they’re going to go as far as their “core four” of Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet, Tekele Cotton and Darius Carter take them. Coach Gregg Marshall simply has no bench, as he’s relying almost exclusively on freshmen to fill in when his starters need a blow. Still, the Shockers are 20-3, but let’s face it — the Missouri Valley, outside of Northern Iowa, is going to be snubbed come NCAA Tournament time.
Q. — Kansas State coach Bill Snyder announced his recruiting class on Wednesday and there was only one junior college player among the 24. What do you make of that?
A. — One report quoted Snyder as saying the Wildcats “did a poor job” on the juco recruiting trail this year, which is highly unusual. The backbone of the Wildcats’ success has been juco transfers, as he generally unearths four or five diamonds in the rough every year.Rivals.com has the class ranked No. 50 in the country, which never means anything because the Wildcats annually win eight to 10 games a year without signing the high-profile recruits.
Q. — New Kansas football coach David Beaty was effusive in his praise of his first recruiting class.
A. — What else is he going to say? It stinks? Let’s face it, the Kansas program is about at the point where Kansas State was pre-Snyder. KU won three games this past season and Beaty would gladly take that this year. Glen Mason and Mark Mangino both proved a coach can win at KU, but Jayhawk fans would like to see a consistent Top 25 product on the field.
Q. — Are you starting to get fired up about the 2015 Kansas City Royals since spring training isn’t far away?
A. — The Royals made some decent moves in the offseason and they’ll probably enter 2015 actually with a stronger roster overall than last year. Alex Rios will be an upgrade over Nori Aoki in right field. Kendrys Morales is a downgrade at DH in place of Billy Butler, though he’ll hit more homers. Edinson Volquez won’t replace James Shields’ leadership, but could approach his win total. But a sleeper could be Kris Medlen, who probably won’t pitch until after June. If he’s healthy, it’s the still of the winter. What the Royals really need is for players like Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas to perform during the regular season like they did in the playoffs. Hosmer has superstar potential, but his lack of strike zone knowledge and impatience holds him back.
Q. — What’s your impression of the National Signing Day for college football?
A. — It’s a joke. Half of these players who appear on ESPNU with the hats in front of them never amount to a hill of beans. I can’t believe the network wastes days and days about this. I think if a high school senior could find a cure for cancer, then there should be a national ceremony. As it is now, some of these players wash out and end up transferring.
Q. — Is Tiger Woods finished or is his slump an aberration?
A. — I have to admit watching Tiger Woods chop it around like an ordinary amateur is amusing to me. We’ve all been there with the chip-yips. Tiger has gotten so technical and had his head filled with so many ideas that he’s forgotten how to play. He just needs to go out and hit the dadgum ball. Stop thinking so much and play. I’m guessing in two months he’ll be having a good laugh at our expense because of all the hysteria this has caused. Tiger isn’t finished, he’s just struggling like everybody else does at some point. He’ll be fine.