Ryan Prickett, Sports Information Director
HAYS, Kan. – Fort Hays State Men’s Basketball will travel east on Interstate 70 twice to open its 2017-18 season with exhibition contests at Kansas State and Kansas. The Tigers take on the Wildcats on Sunday, October 29, at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan then take on the Jayhawks on Tuesday, November 7, at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence.
The Tigers are coming off an 18-11 season in 2016-17. FHSU enters its 17th year under head coach Mark Johnson, who owns an overall record of 322-149 (.683). Fort Hays State has produced nine 20-win seasons and reached the NCAA Tournament seven times in his tenure.
The Tigers graduated two seniors from the 2016-17 squad in Rob Davis and JaQuan Smith. Davis was an All-America selection, averaging 21.4 points per game. He became the first player at FHSU since 1996 to average at least 20 points per game. Both Davis and Smith were All-MIAA performers for the Tigers last year. FHSU returns nine players from its squad last year, led by senior Hadley Gillum who also earned All-MIAA honors last year at 13.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
Kansas State enters its sixth year under head coach Bruce Weber, who enters the 2017-18 season with an overall head coaching record of 413-223 over 19 seasons. He guided the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament last year with a record of 21-14, winning a game over Wake Forest in the First Four round before getting knocked out by Cincinnati in the round of 64. The win over Wake Forest gave Weber 100 wins as head coach of the Wildcats.
Kansas enters its 15th year under head coach Bill Self, who has guided the Jayhawks to 13 consecutive Big 12 regular-season championships and one national title in his tenure. He has a record of 416-88 (.825) at Kansas and 623-193 overall in 24 seasons as a head coach. The Jayhawks advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last year before falling to Oregon, putting together a record of 31-5. Last year the Jayhawks reached the No. 1 national ranking during the regular season for a second straight season and have held that ranking multiple times in previous years under Self.
Fort Hays State’s exhibition contests in 2017-18 will feature head coaches (Johnson, Weber, and Self) combining for 1,358 wins over 59 seasons of experience. Game times of the exhibition contests will be announced on a later date.