Last year’s college basketball season had a bunch of storylines. Purdue’s big man Zach Edey, FDU taking down a 1 seed in the tournament, UNC’s struggles from #1 to not even make the tournament, Alabama’s off court issues, and a ton more. One of my personal favorites was the success in Manhattan, KS under first year head coach Jerome Tang. Tang spent 18 years as an assistant at Baylor before taking the head job at K State. The team was picked at the bottom of the B12 polls, only to shock everyone and finish 3rd in the regular season, and reaching the Elite 8.
March was abuzz with K State fever as Markquis Nowell was putting on a clinic with highlight reel plays.
Additionally , the feel good story of Keyontae Johnson’s return to the court after a collapse was the icing on the cake for anyone with a pulse to begin rooting for K State to keep going deep in the tournament.
Lastly, Tang and the team’s pregame ritual of playing The Low Down took the nation by storm.
They even let a 35 year old out of rhythm content guy in on the fun …
Tang is fun, full of energy and thinks outside the box , which brings us back to this surfing video.
Big man Patrick Ngongba is the 26th best recruit in the class of 2024. He recently announced he’s down to 8 schools, one of them being Kansas State.
He also recently worked out with NNA legend Tim Duncan, which after the workouts they enjoyed some time on a boat together. Duncan even showed his skills on the board.
Tang decided the best way to separate himself from the pack of schools vying for Ngongba was to agin think outside the box and recreate the Duncan video the best he could.
Now take it from someone who’s tried to get on of these boards, it ain’t easy. Not the least bit. Yet here’s Tang risking his life out there on the water trying to impress a top 30 recruit in the country. And nailing every detail right down to the Duncan jersey.
You gotta love this from a coach. I feel like we spent forever hearing about recruiting stories via word of mouth or urban legend of stars almost committing to schools and we finally have peeled back the curtain with social media to see coaches personalities. I love it. Give us guys embracing the new age of media, give me guys showing they can have fun and connect with kids. Long gone are the days of the stuff old guy in a suit sitting in a living room preaching to "take care of their son." Obviously coaches are still role models and very influential for these players, but they should be able to have a little fun as well. Tang proved just that, and shows why he is so much fun to root for.
PS - Let's also not forget to asst coach Jareem "Reem" Dowling his props for blowing this up on social media as well as all his connections this season. He got Mase and Camron to the Garden for the regionals. Keep killing it Reem.