Kansas State basketball loses forward Seryee Lewis for the season with knee injury

Arne Green
Topeka Capital-Journal
Kansas State sophomore forward Seryee Lewis (4) will miss the 2021-22 basketball season with a knee injury.

Kansas State had yet to hold its first official preseason practice when men's basketball coach Bruce Weber delivered the news that the Wildcat already are a man down.

Forward Seryee Lewis recently suffered a knee injury that will keep him out for the 2021-22 season, Weber said Thursday during his first preseason media conference.

Lewis, a 6-foot-9, sophomore from Chicago, appeared in 18 games last year as a freshman, averaging 2.0 points and 1.1 rebounds. But Weber said he had made steady progress during the offseason before tearing his ACL.

"That's the sad part of it. He had started to figure it out — how hard you have to play and the intensity at this level," Weber said of Lewis, who had surgery in the last 10 days. "One, we didn't have practice and he was in (COVID-19) contact trace twice and missed I don't know how many days.

"He was behind, there's no doubt, and I would have probably redshirted him if it was a regular year. He was starting to make some progress and then we had the injury, so it's sad for him. But like anyone who gets hurt, we always say, use this as an opportunity to get better at something and make a negative into a positive."

Weber also said that 7-foot junior forward Carlton Linguard is recovering from a procedure that sidelined him at the end of last season. But on a more positive note, junior center Kaosi Ezeagu is good to go after missing 10 games a year ago and playing no more than 22 minutes in any of the last 15.

That would help lighten the load inside for seven-footer Davion Bradford, whom Weber called the most pleasant surprise last year after he became a starter, averaging 7.7 points and 4.3 rebounds as a freshman.

"I think the big thing was Kaosi, getting him healthy," Weber said of the 6-10 Ezeagu, a transfer from UTEP, who began the season as the starting center and averaged 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds. "He's getting where he feels good. I don't know if he's ever going to get where he was, but he's making some strides and getting a little healthier.

"Davion is just getting stronger and better conditioned. The next six weeks will be really key for him, but if we can have him and Kaosi healthy, I think you've got a pretty good one-two punch."

Linguard and 6-9 freshman Logan Landers — "I think he's made as much improvement as anybody over the summer," Weber said — are the other inside players.

Point guard Nijel Pack led the team in scoring with 12.7 points and assists with 3.8 as a freshman last year, and Mike McGuirl returns for a super-senior season after averaging 11.8 points and 3.6 assists. Guard Selton Miguel is the other returning starter.

Because the strength of the team is its backcourt, Weber said the Wildcats likely will go with four perimeter players, though 6-9 Wake Forest transfer Ismael Massoud could be employed as a stretch forward.

Weber offered high praise for all three veteran newcomers — Missouri transfer Mark Smith, Little Rock transfer Markquis Nowell and Massoud. Landers and 6-5 guards Maximus Edwards are the two freshmen.

"It was important with five new guys to build some chemistry and build some togetherness," Weber said. "I think if you ask any member on our staff, the first thing when you say what's the best thing about our team, it's that they get along.

"They enjoy each other, and I don't know why. I wish it was some magical thing I did, but even the new guys, you've got three older guys that joined us in Mark, Ish (Massoud) and Marquis, and they just jumped in like they've been here forever and they're friends with everybody."

Kansas State to hold open practice

K-State will hold an open practice from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Bramlage Coliseum before the Wildcats' home football game against Oklahoma.

Fans can enter on the Northwest and Northeast corners of the arena.