Big 12 Campus Correspondent
When people think about K-State basketball in the most recent years, they tend to think about players like Rodney McGruder, Jacob Pullen or Michael Beasley. They often overlook senior Guard Will Spradling who is often taken for granted. Although he seems to be underappreciated by most, he does not let what other people think affect his game.
“It starts with Will (Spradling). He has played in a lot of games, a lot of minutes. I think sometimes people take him for granted; he does so much for you as a player. You can play him at the point; you can play him at the two. He has a great awareness on defense. He just knows what you are doing ahead of time,” said Head Coach Bruce Weber.
Will Spradling brings a great deal of experience to a youthful K-State team, having played in 113 games with 84 starts to go with 861 points, 269 assists and 97 steals. He ranks first on the team in steals with 14, second in 3-pointers with 17 and assists with 33. Spradling also ranks third in minutes averaging 28.8, fourth in scoring with 7.3 points per game and field goals with 26 and fifth in free throws with 19.
Spradling’s hard work, dedication and consistency has earned him a lot of playing time in his four years at Kansas State University. During his freshman year, he played shooting guard and was moved to play point guard in his sophomore year. Spradling went back to shooting guard in his junior year, only to be moved back to playing the point his senior year.
Despite the changes he encountered on the court, Spradling never let up. The one thing that did not change was his consistency in his four years with outstanding performances. Spradling continued to work hard on defense and maintained a positive attitude throughout the shuffling of positions.
“We are just fortunate to just have him there with the circumstances that we had with Angel leaving so late. Will has played point before I got here. Last year when Irving and Angel were out a couple games, Will had to play point. Will played point off and on throughout the year even when we rotated people. It was why we were successful because we had three ball handlers with Angel, Will and Martavious. He will get us into things, he knows our system, and he knows what we want,” said Weber.
Spradling already ranks among the school’s Top 10 in five career categories, including seventh in free throw percentage with 81.9 and 3-point field goals with 150, eighth in minutes played with 3,053, ninth in games started with 84 and tenth in steals with 97.
“I just try to go out every game and just help my team. It does not matter to me if I am a scorer or if I go out and just play as hard as I can on defense and just try to control the game,” said Spradling.
The fact that some people do not seem to appreciate Spradling and often overlook him does not seem to phase him at all. He continues to go out, work hard and let his performance speak for him.
Spradling has a chance to become the fourth Wildcat with 1,000 points, 250 assists and 100 steals, joining Steve Henson, Askia Jones and Jacob Pullen. He has 269 assists in his career, while he is 139 points short of 1,000 and three steals short of 100.
“The biggest problem when he plays point is that he does not get a lot of looks. Now it is tough getting him back involved. We are trying to get into a couple different looks where we ease the pressure on him and yet keep him involved in the offense. On the defensive end, we have to have somebody else guarding the point and let Will guard the two, because we are going to need a lot of minutes out of him early in the year,” said Weber.
It is his experience and consistency that has helped him to become the player that he is and developed him into a great leader for the young K-State team. Because of all he has gone through, he can now pass on the things he has learned to the young freshman such as Marcus Foster and Jevon Thomas.
“I am not someone that is really going to be vocal, but I will take someone to the side and kind of tell them quietly if they are doing something wrong. I am more of a quiet person, I will not really yell at them,” said Spradling. “Especially like Jevon Thomas right now, getting back in it and if I see him doing something wrong, I am going to go over there and pull him to the side and correct him. I am not going to go over there and yell at him in front of everybody and embarrass him. He has never been in this situation before.”