In a game that quickly became all about birthday boy, Ben McLemore, and the No. 14 Kansas Jayhawks, No. 10 Kansas Sate Wildcats senior guard Rodney McGruder was still able to shine in a lopsided loss to his team’s in-state rival.
When the quirky ESPN broadcaster, Brent Musberger, wasn’t gushing over McLemore’s impressive shooting on his birthday, he did mention how impressive McGruder played. How good did he actually play if his team nearly lost by 20 points, you may ask?
McGruder poured in 20 points for head coach Bruce Weber on 7-14 shooting from the field. He also added six rebounds, four assists and four steals.
The 6-4 Washington, D.C. product has been averaging 15.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists on the season. And, as the leading man of the nationally acclaimed Wildcats this season, McGruder is nothing but deserving of a spot on the All-Big 12 1st Team come season’s end.
While the loss will most likely knock K-State out of the Top 10 of the Associated Press’ weekly Top 25 rankings, behind McGruder, the Wildcats are still likely on pace to snag a four-seed in the NCAA Tournament come the end of March.
However, after college, the senior guard should also have a bright future in professional basketball as well. At 6-4, McGruder has enough size to be a shooting guard off the bench for an NBA team, and will likely get a shot at being drafted in the late first round of this June’s draft. If he unfortunately lacks staying power in the League, he will also make a nice living playing professionally overseas.
Thus, despite his team’s loss to the Jayhawks, McGruder did shine Monday. He should continue to shine for many years to come.