Jul 4, 2012, 1:02 PM EDT
As Bruce Weber begins his tenure at Kansas State, the player standing out to him most in workouts may not be who you think.
“You know who has played really well?” Weber told the Wichita Star. “Omari Lawrence. I think he has been the surprise of the summer.”
Lawrence, the St. John’s transfer who spent at red-shirt year at junior college in Kansas, was used sparingly under Frank Martin, appearing in just nine games. He totaled 20 minutes, five points, and six rebounds on the season.
But Weber sees a chance for Lawrence to grow and contribute.
“He dropped a lot of weight and came in with a good attitude,” Weber went on to say. “He gave himself the chance to be in good shape. He has a better motor, he’s active and that’s all been good. He’s very committed right now. When he’s coming away from workouts you can tell he’s really putting the time in. I’ve seen a lot of good things from him.”
Coming out of high school in New York City, Lawrence was a highly rated prospect, signing with now-Kansas assistant Norm Roberts at St. John’s. When Roberts was fired and Steve Lavin was brought in, Lawrence transferred.
He averaged 2.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per game as a freshman at St. John’s, appearing in 25 games.
The biggest obstacle for Lawrence has been controlling his weight, which became an issue when he injured his shoulder toward the end of his high school career. Now at 6-3, 200 pounds, he could be ready to contribute.
“When the players left in the spring, we challenged them,” Weber said. “We obviously had some established guys, and we wanted to see more competition. Now there is good competition, and Omari is part of that. If he continues with this work ethic and attitude, he’s definitely put himself in position. He mas moved up the depth chart at this point. Again, he’s just been the nicest surprise of the summer.”
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