Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

K-State's Wesley Iwundu Makes Strides to Earn All-Conference Honors; Wildcats Open Big 12 Tournament against Oklahoma State

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

K-State's Wesley Iwundu Makes Strides to Earn All-Conference Honors; Wildcats Open Big 12 Tournament against Oklahoma State

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It is often difficult for players on teams at the bottom of the standings to earn all-conference recognition, so the honors that came Wesley Iwundu's way after Kansas State's eighth- place finish in the Big 12 were significant.

Iwundu, a 6-foot-7 junior, was a third-team choice when the Big 12 coaches announced their all-conference selections.

"It's my first accomplishment in the Big 12, so it means a lot to me," Iwundu said. "It lets me know my presence is felt a little bit, and it's a big-time accomplishment for me and for my team."

Even more meaningful to Iwundu was seeing his name on the all- defensive team.

"I take pride in defense, so that made me very happy to be recognized for that," he said. "To be honest, I wasn't expecting that, but it opened my eyes to know that people recognized my defense."

Iwundu drew defensive assignments on everyone from Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield to Kansas' Perry Ellis and Iowa State's Georges Niang.

"Wes made huge strides from a year ago with his all-around game," K-State coach Bruce Weber said. "I appreciate him getting honored for his defensive efforts. He's had to guard point guards, the best scorers, forwards. We've put him on a lot of different people, so it's good he got some recognition for that.

"We were at the bottom of the pack but he got acknowledgement, so that means he did a lot of nice things, and he was rewarded."

Iwundu and the Wildcats are looking for bigger rewards as they open the Big 12 tournament against Oklahoma State at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Sprint Center.

"We're very motivated to go there and do some things," said Iwundu, who averages 11.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists. "We're very confident that we can do something, but we have to take it game by game. It's not going to be easy, but we're looking forward to it."

The No. 8-seeded Wildcats (16-15) and No. 9 Cowboys (12-19) split the regular-season series, with the Cats winning by 16 points in Manhattan and losing by three in overtime in Stillwater.

"They are a very tough, aggressive basketball team," OSU coach Travis Ford said of the Wildcats. …

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