Bruce Weber has spent over three decades scouring the state of Indiana for basketball talent, so just because he is now further west than he has ever been in his coaching career doesn't mean that he won't be seen in gyms across the Hoosier State anymore.
Weber took over the Kansas State program this spring after being dismissed by Illinois. He and his top assistant, Chris Lowery, who is an Evansville native, still have a lot of connections in this state and they plan on tapping into those.
“We'll still reach out to the people that we have relationships with in Indiana,” Weber said. “We'll pick and choose and see what we can do.”
One of the Indiana players that Weber has chosen is Hamilton Heights High School senior Alex Etherington. The 6-foot-5 forward visited the Kansas State campus on Monday and holds a scholarship offer from Weber.
Etherington is a physically strong and athletic player, much in the mold of the players that Weber sought when he was a long-time assistant at Purdue under Gene Keady. He waxes nostalgic at times when he recalls some of the players that he coached in West Lafayette and he hopes to reconstruct the Purdue program in Manhattan.
“We're going to have to do what we did at Purdue and find the (current NBA player) Brian Cardinal's of the world,” Weber said. “The tough kids that end up being overachievers and find great success.”
Weber is a Wisconsin native and obviously developed recruiting contacts throughout Illinois when he was leading the programs in Champaign and at Southern Illinois. He emphasized that he'll take the same approach to those states that he will Indiana, in that he'll get involved with specific kids that are interested in the Wildcats, but probably won't be blanketing the state.
However, aside from Kansas, he and his staff will make a concerted effort to find players in Texas, and that is due to the abundance of talent throughout the Lone Star State. To make inroads there, Weber hired Houston native Alvin Brooks III to help in that regard.
“We have to go to Texas with (being in) the Big 12 Conference,” Weber said. “There are lots of players there.”