Jerome Tang is in no rush to finalize Kansas State’s basketball roster. If the Wildcats still have open scholarships at the end of the spring, he won’t be worried.
Much like last year, he is perfectly content to wait out the NBA Draft and monitor the transfer portal for as long as it takes to find the best possible additions for his team.
But he would like to have 13 scholarship players on campus by August 1.
Why? Because he plans to take the Wildcats on an overseas trip later that month for a string of exhibition games against professional teams in both Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
Tang says the trip to the Middle East will include stops in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi. The team’s departure is set for August 10 with a return date of August 21.
“If we can have everything done by the first part of August that would be ideal,” Tang said. “That way, the group that we’re going to have next year can get 10 days of practice and then go on this foreign tour together.”
College basketball teams are allowed to travel abroad and compete against foreign competition every four seasons. In the past, the Wildcats have traveled to Brazil (2012) and Italy/Switzerland (2016). They were scheduled to make another trip to Europe in 2020 before COVID wiped out those plans.
Tang thought this was summer was an ideal time to make his first foreign trip with K-State as the Wildcats look to build off his tremendous first season, which ended with 26 victories and a trip to the Elite Eight.
“It gives guys an incredible opportunity to team build and it’s a great trip,” Tang said. “We’re going to be in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi. We will play three or four really good games and also get a chance to see Team USA Basketball while we are in Abu Dhabi. It’s a terrific trip and a great opportunity for the guys. I’m excited about it.”
Tang took part in a few foreign tours while he worked as an assistant coach under Scott Drew at Baylor. Most of those trips were short ventures into Canada. But the Bears once went to Italy and Tang still raves about the experience.
“It was the best trip ever,” Tang said. “I hope this one is just as good. It will give our guys a cultural experience and a learning experience. The whole thing should be really special.”
The last two times K-State went on a foreign tour, good results followed. The Wildcats shared a regular season Big 12 championship in 2013 and reached the NCAA Tournament in 2017.
Both of those teams used extra practice and game experience to get a head start on the upcoming season. This group of Wildcats will look to do the same with Cam Carter and Nae’Qwan Tomlin expected to lead a new roster that will feature heralded North Texas transfer Tylor Perry.