The Kansas State men's basketball team began preparations for its 10-day trip to Brazil in August with the first of 10 on-campus practice sessions beginning Friday. First-year head coach Bruce Weber will break the 10 workouts into two, five-practice sessions over the next two months before the Wildcats leave for Brazil on August 8.
The first two practices are this weekend, starting today and then again on Sunday. The team will also practice the next two Tuesdays -- July 10 and July 17 -- then again either Monday, July 23 or Tuesday, July 24. In addition, the squad will practice the five days leading up to its departure on Friday, August 3, Saturday, August 4, Monday, August 6, Tuesday, August 7 and Wednesday, August 8.
"Our staff, as well as the players, couldn't be more excited about the start of team practice," said Weber. "We have already been taking advantage of the new rules regarding the summer workouts, but this will be the first time getting the entire team together for a workout. We are looking forward to continuing to implement our system and getting better acclimated with the players."
The 10-day trip from August 8-17 will include four games against Brazilian club teams in the cities of Sao Paulo (August 9-11) and Rio de Janeiro (August 12-16). The Wildcats will play their first game on Friday, August 10, against the Mogi das Cruzes Club team before a tilt with the Sao Jose dos Campos Club team on Saturday, August 11. The final two games will be against the Pingdamonhangaba Club team on Sunday, August 12, and the Tijuca Sports Club on Tuesday, August 14.
The NCAA allows teams to make a foreign trip once every four years, but this will be the first by the men's basketball team since playing four games in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, in October 2004. Overall, this will be the program's fourth trip outside the country, which includes excursions to Japan in 1981 and Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden in 1993.
Weber's team returns 13 lettermen, including seven players with starting experience, in 2012-13. The group is headlined by two-time All-Big 12 performer Rodney McGruder (15.8 ppg., 5.2 rpg.) and fellow Big 12 All-Defensive Team member Jordan Henriquez (7.6 ppg., 2.4 bpg.) as well as senior guard Martavious Irving (5.5 ppg., 1.5 apg.). McGruder was recently one of 18 college players invited to take part in the Kevin Durant Skills Academy in Chicago.
K-State made its fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the last five seasons in 2011-12, as the Wildcats posted a 22-11 overall record and earned a tie for fifth place in the Big 12 standings with a 10-8 mark. It was the school's unprecedented sixth consecutive 20-win season and sixth straight trip to the postseason.