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Credit K-State Athletics Communications
I’ve been around basketball almost my entire life and I’ve noticed the teams with the best leaders on the court will win majority of the games. Last year we experienced that first hand when guys like Rodney McGruder, Jordan Henriquez and Martavious Irving, the winningest senior class in school history, led us both verbally and by example. With their leadership, we were able to win the first Big 12 championship in school history and earn a four-seed into the NCAA Tournament.
This season, we have seven new student-athletes so we are having to find new leadership within the team. We have four seniors, three on scholarship, but also two transfers that have to sit out this year along with five freshman. It also makes it difficult with one of our freshmen not being able to practice and play until the fall semester is done.
With this group having such a new dynamic, we decided to bring in a motivational speaker to help bring the team together. Spencer Wood from Icebox came and talked about hype levels, as well as the “Four C’s, Three F’s to Developing Mental Toughness.” The Four C’s and Three F’s are reminders for our guys to use on daily basis to hold themselves and their brothers (teammates) accountable.
As the season began for us at K-State, our leadership was dealt some adversity early and we knew we must constantly overcome it to be successful. Our older guys as well as our new guys were still trying to figure out what role they will have to play for us to be successful.
After the tough loss, we regrouped as coaches and decided that each player on the team had to establish roles for themselves. In a team meeting, each player on the roster stated what their role is, and head coach Bruce Weber expanded on each of them. Our seniors, as well as one of our walk-ons, said that they could be better leaders for us and it showed in the next game.
Our next game, the three guys that said they would be leaders each made major contributions. Even one of our freshman, Marcus Foster, scored 25 points. But it was because of the leadership and execution from our older guys that allowed Foster to play the way he did.
As we continue down the road of what is sure to be an exciting season, as coaches we are continuing to try and help develop our leadership within the team, as that is one of the biggest keys to us defending our Big 12 title.
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