Two former Kansas State basketball players find new homes while Wildcat recruiting stalls

MANHATTAN — While Kansas State basketball's recruiting momentum has seemingly ground to a halt, two former Wildcats found new homes closer to home on Wednesday.

Freshman guard RJ Jones will remain in the Big 12 after committing to TCU, near his hometown of Denton, Texas. Center Jerrell Colbert, from Houston, also ended up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area at Southern Methodist University.

Colbert, a 6-foot-10, 235-pound sophomore, started the last 13 games at center for the Wildcats after redshirting in 2022-23 as a transfer from LSU. He averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 31 appearances with 32 blocked shots.

Colbert, one of the first players to sign with new Wildcat coach Jerome Tang in 2022, scored a career-high 15 points with 17 rebounds in a March 2 game at Cincinnati. He also had 10 points and eight rebounds against North Alabama in December.

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Jones was a four-star high school prospect out of Wasatch Academy in Utah last year and part of a highly touted 2023 Wildcat recruiting class along with guard Dai Dai Ames and forward Macaleab Rich. Only Rich remains on the roster after Ames, K-State's starting point guard, also entered the portal at the end of last month.

Related: Kansas State basketball forward David N'Guessan reveals his plans for next season

Related: Kansas State basketball takes another portal hit with guard Dai Dai Ames' departure

Former Kansas State center Jerrell Colbert (20) shoots a free throw against Iowa State during the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals in Kansas City, Mo.
Former Kansas State center Jerrell Colbert (20) shoots a free throw against Iowa State during the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals in Kansas City, Mo.

Jones, one of seven K-State players to enter the portal since season's end, appeared in 28 games for the Wildcats, averaging 2.4 points, 0.8 rebounds and 0.7 assists in limited playing time. His best 2023-24 performance came three games into the season when he scored 14 points with three assists in 19 minutes against South Dakota State.

During his single season with the Wildcats, Jones was primarily a 3-point shooter, with 57 of his 68 field goal attempts and 17 of his 20 made baskets coming from beyond the arc.

Colbert and Jones were the third and fourth K-State transfers to find a new landing spot. Earlier, junior guard Cam Carter, the Wildcats' second-leading scorer with 14.6 points per game, signed with LSU, and backup guard Dorian Finister with Sam Houston State.

Meanwhile, it was a rough recruiting week for Tang and his staff, which missed out on its top two portal targets. Rutgers center Clifford Omoruyi committed to Alabama and Arkansas guard Khalif Battle to Gonzaga, both after visiting Manhattan and listing the Wildcats as finalists.

Related: Kansas State basketball adds sharpshooting Villanova guard from transfer portal

On top of that, junior forward Arthur Kaluma cut ties with K-State by entering the portal after he already had declared for the NBA Draft with the option of returning. Kaluma was the team's third-leading scorer behind Tylor Perry, who graduated, and Carter, averaging 14.4 points and a team-best 7.0 rebounds.

Tang has signed four transfers along with a four-star high school recruit, but still has five scholarships to give to reach the 13-man roster limit. He said recently in a series of interviews that he had hoped to have most of his team in place by the first week of May.

With Kaluma's departure, three players remain from a 2023-24 Wildcat team that went 19-15 and lost to Iowa in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament. Forward David N'Guessan announced he is returning as a fifth-year super-senior after starting 21 games, averaging 7.8 points and 6.8 rebounds, but the other two are seldom-used freshmen forwards Rich and Taj Manning.

The newcomers so far for 2024-25 are former Michigan point guard Dug McDaniel, Chicago Illinois shooting guard CJ Jones, Villanova sharpshooter Brendan Hausen and Arkansas big man Baye Fall, along with high school guard David Castillo.

Related: Kansas State basketball is headed to the Big Apple in December for Big 12/Big East battle

The 5-11, 175-pound McDaniel averaged 16.3 points and 4.7 assists as a Michigan sophomore, and 6-5 wing Jones 11.4 points and 4.5 assists, also as a sophomore, at UIC. Hausen, at 6-4, 205 pounds, was a key reserve for Villanova in his sophomore season, contributing 6.2 points as a 38% 3-point shooter.

All three guards shot better than 36% from 3-point range, addressing a glaring need for the Wildcats.

Fall, a 6-11, 215-pounder from Senegal, appeared in nine games as a freshman at Arkansas, but comes with a big upside. He was a 2023 McDonald's All-American at Accelerated Schools in Denver.

K-State's most immediate need is veteran help on the front line, where N'Guessan is the only experienced post player.

Arne Green is based in Salina and covers Kansas State University sports for the Gannett network. He can be reached at or on Twitter at @arnegreen.

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Two former Kansas State basketball players find new homes