Offseasons are meant for staying active and building chemistry with new and current teammates.
Kansas State senior Mike McGuirl and sophomore DaJuan Gordon are finding ways to do both while being back in their homes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
McGuirl has been riding a bike and has been working on his game while being back home in Connecticut.
"Just a couple of days ago, the bike broke down (and) a tire came loose, so that’s not an option," he said. "But that and jump rope. Jump-roping I do every day, some foot stuff and sprints. The hardest part is the weather here.
"It was raining every other day and the wind was crazy and it was cold. The weather’s been better. I’ve been getting in shape with my ball handling. There’s always ways to get to be."
Gordon’s uncle has a treadmill to keep him active during quarantine while being back home in Chicago.
While the two are in preparation for finals, they’ve been able to keep in touch with current and future teammates.
K-State will have seven newcomers, along with its returners. McGuirl will be the team’s lone senior for the 2020-21 season.
"I know we have a lot of good young talent coming in and older talent as Rudi (Williams) is coming in as a junior," McGuirl said. "We’ve all been in a group chat, text and Snapchat. We’re all talking and getting along really well, and getting to know each other through all this.
"I’m not too worried about having a whole new team and people leaving. With me being the only senior, I will be a leader, but we’ve got a lot of great young guys that are going to step up as leaders such as DaJuan, same with Montavious (Murphy) and Antonio (Gordon). They’ve been here for a year. They know really what it’s going to take."
Gordon said he’s just waiting his turn for his time to be put in the spotlight.
"I can play under any pressure against any good competition," he said. "I never thought I would be in this type of situation, but I know all the late nights and hard work that I’ve put in the summer before coming to school and the USA tryout. Coming from Chicago, a lot of adversity that helped me to be in this situation and fight through it."
While staying active and communicating with teammates, McGuirl and Gordon have found ways to get their sports fix in by watching old games on television and binge-watching movies and TV shows and playing each other in various video games. Both have been tuning in to ESPN’s "The Last Dance," a documentary following the career of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
Gordon was not alive when Jordan played in Chicago, and he wishes he had the chance to see one of the greatest players play the game of basketball live.
During his early days, he learned about Jordan through Jordan’s shoe collection and hearing that he was the "GOAT."
"It’s crazy to get to see Michael Jordan, you see how big of an icon he was," he said. "You can watch him all day. It was a big day for me to get to see him, because I never really got to see what type of person he was."
Even though the earliest the Wildcats could be back in Manhattan is August, McGuirl said this time loss could be a time where they could have gelled more together.
"A lot of teams are going to deal with the same issue and even teams returning," McGuirl said. "As a leader, my job is to motivate us so that we’re not doing what other teams are doing, and individually working harder than anyone else. We can’t wait for the time where we can get the whole team on campus.
"We’ll be good when the time comes."