Kansas State’s Markquis Nowell has had a spectacular tournament. He had 17 points and 14 assists against Montana State and followed that up with 27 points and nine assists vs. Kentucky. “The little kid,” as UK coach John Calipari called him (he later apologized), is a killer.
This was never more evident than it was against Michigan State Thursday night.
Nowell was injured in the second half and left the game for a few before returning. He made a few mistakes - three very long threes that missed at critical points in the game and driving into the trees when he’s 5-8 - but his successes far outweighed his mistakes.
Nowell set a record for assists with 19 and his individual play was otherworldly.
There were two plays in particular that were jump-out-of-your-seat great: one was an alley-top to Keyontae Johnson - while appearing to argue with his coach. The other saw Newell drive from near the bench, go under the basket to try a pass that went awry. He just kept going, picked it up when a Michigan State player stumbled, turned, kind of stumbled and let it go from behind the three point line.
Of course it went in. He banked it in.
This kid has shown immense heart throughout the tournament and he’s showing that he has the heart of a champion. How far can he push K-State?
It’s not like anything we’ve seen in years. Be glad it’s not over.