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December 27, 2013

Special Q&A: Jevon Thomas

Prior to the season, Kansas State freshman Jevon Thomas said the biggest thrill of his young life was signing to play college basketball. Well, that might change come Saturday when he actually gets to live out his dream.

According to K-State Sports Information, Thomas is expected to play at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. when K-State, 8-3, plays Tulane, 7-6, at 4 p.m. CST. It will mark the first time the 6-foot, 180-pound point guard will suit up for the Wildcats this season since becoming eligible on Dec. 20. He was in Wichita for last Saturday's 72-62 win over then-No. 21 Gonzaga, but watched from the bench in street clothes and did not participate in warmups.

Here's the transcript from Thomas' first media availability of the season:

On his journey the last 10 months after signing in February and having to sit out
"The last 10 months have been kind of rough. I have had my ups and downs especially with the start of the season and seeing my teammates out playing games and not being able to be there. However, I just stuck with it. It's been good in a way because it has given me time to think."

On what has been the hardest part of not being eligible until now ...
"The hardest part has just been watching the games. It's hard to watch them and not be able to play. To see some of my closest friends out playing and not being able to help, especially the games we lost, has been tough. I'm glad it's behind me now."

On his training schedule the past year
"When I first came here, I would go to the (Peters Recreation Center) Rec every day and play pick-up games with the guys. I would lift every day. I had some off-campus friends that I would go workout with. Once I got back from my trip to Lithuania (with Athletes in Action), I got more serious. I would go to the Rec early in the morning when no one was there and work out. I would have a student manager or another friend come rebound for me. I would also work on some drills that I got from some other trainers. It was a tough time because there was no one else there to push me, but I had to stick with it."

On how he has kept up to speed with the team without practicing with them
"I just stuck around the team. That's why I don't think my transition will be bad because I was around them all the time. Off the court, I was always around the other freshmen, Marcus (Foster) and Wesley (Iwundu), and I tried to spend time with Shane (Southwell) and the other seniors to find out what Coach Weber wants and what he doesn't want. It's like I'm there but I'm not there because I get everything that the coaches are saying from my teammates."

On his game
"I'm a pass-first point guard who is very aggressive on defense and willing to do anything to win. I like to have fun on the court. You got to have fun when you are out there. That's the one thing I think I got back when I was away from the game, to have fun when I'm out there. I just realized how short it can be. You never know how much you love something until it is taken away from you."

On his emotions right now as he prepares for the first game
"I think right now I'm just happy to be here. I think if my first game had happened back in November [with all the other freshmen], I would be more nervous. I have just had to wait so long for my chance, I'm just happy that it's finally here. Also for my first game to happen so close to home makes it even more special. My family can't travel that far, so that's the best part about it."

On how quickly he expects to play and contribute
"I think that's up to Coach Weber. I feel I can be an impact on the game regardless of the amount of minutes I play. I will give it some time, but I'm a quick learner. I know with the amount of time that I have spent with the guys, I know what the coaching staff wants and what they don't want."

On when he expects to play at 100 percent
"It's hard to say, but I think it will be quick. Like I said, I'm a fast learner. I'm real comfortable with the team and my coaches."

On his thoughts on the team
"I like our team. We are young but talented and defend well. I think we are only going to get better as the season goes on. We have all the pieces to be a really good team. Early on, we couldn't get everything together. It took us awhile to understand our strengths and weaknesses, but now we are starting to gel. I feel it's a lot like last year's team."





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