MANHATTAN, Kan. (K-State Athletics) – The Kansas State men’s basketball team will get a jump start on their preparations for the 2023-24 season with a historic 10-day trip to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates [UAE] from August 9-20.
The traveling party will spend 3 nights each in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and 4 nights in Abu Dhabi, departing the U.S., on Wednesday, August 9 and returning Sunday, August 20.
K-State, along with the University of Arizona, are the first college teams to ever take a foreign tour to Abu Dhabi.
During the Israeli portion of the trip, the team will enjoy walking tours of the Old City Jerusalem, the City of David, Bethlehem and Old City Jaffa, visits to the Yad Vashem – the World Holocaust Remembrance Center – as well as the Western Wall and the Dead Sea. While in Abu Dhabi, they will visit the Abraham Peace Accords House and the Grand Mosque among other cultural experiences.
K-State is expected to play up to 3 games while abroad with further information to follow.
“It’s amazing where the game of basketball can take us,” said head coach Jerome Tang. “We are thankful to be blessed with this opportunity to experience Israel and Abu Dhabi. I have done many of these trips, but this will be the first time to this sacred area of the world, and I can’t wait for players and staff to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. We are going to not only continue to grow and learn in basketball, but also to expand our minds and bodies in a culturally rich environment. This will be a trip we will remember for a lifetime.”
The trip is being coordinated by Complete Sports Management (CSM), which specializes in running high level international tours for men’s and women’s programs highlighting the educational, cultural and team bonding aspects of travel abroad.
The NCAA permits teams to make an international trip once every four years and this will be the first by the men’s basketball since August 2016 when the Wildcats played 5 games in various cities in Italy and Switzerland. The team was scheduled to take a trip overseas in 2020 but it was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Overall, this will be the program’s sixth trip outside the country for a summer exhibition tour, which includes excursions to Japan in 1981, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden in 1993, Vancouver, British Columbia in 2004, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2012 as well as Italy and Switzerland in 2016.
Led by Naismith National Coach of the Year Jerome Tang, the Wildcats compiled a 26-10 record in 2022-23, which included a tie for third place in the Big 12 and the school’s 13th trip to the Elite Eight. The 26 wins are the third-most in school history and the most since winning 27 in 2012-13.
The Wildcats At A Glance
Senior Nae’Qwan Tomlin, who declared for the NBA Draft before opting to return for his senior season, headlines six returners, including three starters, for K-State in 2023-24.
The 6-foot-8, 195-pound forward from Harlem, N.Y., was third in scoring (10.4 ppg.) and double-digit scoring games (21) behind All-Americans Markquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson and second in rebounding (5.9 rpg.) to Johnson, while he led the way in blocks (1.0 bpg.) and dunks (43).
Tomlin averaged 10.4 points on 50 percent (147-of-294) shooting from the field, including 27.5 percent (19-of-69) from 3-point range, to go with 5.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks in 27.3 minutes per game. He ranked among the Big 12’s top-15 in 4 categories, including seventh in blocked shots and ninth in rebounding.
Tomlin will be joined by fellow regular starters – senior David N’Guessan and junior Cam Carter – along with sophomores Jerrell Colbert and Dorian Finister and redshirt freshman Taj Manning as returners.
Carter, along with Tomlin, was among four players to start all 36 games a year ago, as he ranked fourth on the team in 3-point field goals (35), assists (1.4 apg.) and steals (0.9 spg.) and fifth in scoring (6.5 ppg.), field goals made (86) and minutes (26.3 mpg.). He scored in double figures in 8 games, including a career-best 17 points in the win at No. 6/6 Texas as well as 12 points in the win over Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament.
N’Guessan started 11 of the first 12 games before an injury sidelined him for 6 games at the start of Big 12 play. He returned to play the last 16 games, including 7 starts, highlighted by an 11-point performance in the win over Michigan State. He led the team in field goal percentage (70.6) while averaging 6.4 points to go along with 3.5 rebounds in 19.5 minutes per game.
Colbert and Manning both redshirt the 2022-23 season, while Finister was limited to just 6 games.
Graduate transfer Tylor Perry (North Texas) and junior Arthur Kaluma (Creighton) as well as the top-30 freshman recruiting class of Dai Dai Ames, R.J. Jones and Macaleab Rich arrived on campus in early June.
Kaluma and Perry were both rated among the top-20 transfers by ESPN in June.
Kaluma arrives after a 2-year stint at Creighton, where he was selected to the BIG EAST All-Freshman and All-Tournament teams in 2021-22. He averaged double figure scoring both seasons as a Bluejay, including 11.8 points on 42.3 percent shooting with 6.0 rebounds per game as a sophomore in 2022-23.
Perry, the 2023 Conference USA Player of the Year and NIT Most Outstanding Player, joined the team as a graduate transfer from North Texas, where he tallied more than 1,000 points in his 2-year career. This past season, he was the leading scorer (17.3 ppg.) on the first 30-win season in Mean Green history, guiding the school to a second-place finish in the C-USA standing and the NIT crown.
A Chicago native, Ames was selected as Jordan Brand Classic All-American after concluding his high school career at Kenwood Academy with more than 1,500 career points. As a senior, he averaged 21.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.4 steals, connecting on 51.3 percent from the field.
Jones played his senior season at prep powerhouse Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, Utah, where he led the Tigers in both scoring (11.9 ppg.) and assists (5.2 apg.) en route to earning All-NIBC honors.
Rich led his East St. Louis High School to a third-place finish at the Class 3A State Tournament, joining Ames on the All-State First Team after averaging a near double-double with 20 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
How to follow the ‘Cats: For complete information on K-State men’s basketball, visit www.kstatesports.com and follow the team’s social media channels on X (formerly Twitter), Threads, Instagram and Facebook.