by David Cassilo / @dcassilo
The shaky start to the season for Kansas State hit another bump in the road Tuesday when Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly, two of the team’s top three scorers, were suspended by the NCAA after receiving improper discounts at a clothing store. Pullen, who had made 82 straight starts for the Wildcats, received a three-game ban, while the length of Kelly’s suspension is yet to be determined.
Without both players, Kansas State dropped a home game to UNLV on Tuesday night for its second consecutive defeat. The Wildcats managed just 59 points and were led by 12 from sophomore Nick Russell, who is currently averaging just 4.3 ppg.
After the game, Frank Martin was clear he was behind his players, but he also believes that their punishment is justified.
From The Kansas City Star:
“These young men have worked hard to represent themselves and Kansas State in a positive manner,” said basketball coach Frank Martin in a statement. “Having said that, they made a mistake in judgment and have to pay a price for that decision.”
When asked for further comment after the game, Martin angrily refused to elaborate.
With games against UMKC and North Florida next up, the team should be able to stop its losing skid without Pullen, the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year. Still there are serious doubts surrounding the team, with or without these players. Kansas State has failed to lived up the lofty expectations set for the program this year and must overcome this turmoil to get back on the right track.