“Leadership: Everyone can set the example.” Goal #15 of Bill Snyder’s 16 Goals for Success.

I wholeheartedly agree with Goal #15. However, every team needs a couple players to step up and be the unquestioned leaders of a team. I believe the K-State football team has this type of player leadership. Clearly Chris Harper and Collin Klein are leaders on offense while Arthur Brown and Ty Zimmerman are leaders of the defense. All four of those players set the example while performing at a high level. I’m sure with a football team there are many more leaders throughout the whole structure. Simply because of numbers a basketball team requires fewer leaders.

In my limited basketball coaching experience, I felt that a hoops team should have at least two players be leaders. It may seem like a weird analogy but it almost needs to be a good cop/bad cop type of leadership combo. Think about some successful NBA franchises of the past decade. The Boston Celtics is one example. Paul Pierce (hate to use a KU guy as an example) was the sole leader of some bad Celtic teams. He was the good cop. When Kevin Garnett was added to the roster, they had their bad cop. With Garnett they added the crazy-intense, in-your-face leader.

Rodney McGruder was one of two leaders on the Wildcat basketball team last year. Jamar Samuels was the other. He always reminded me of Garnett Lite, intense and in-your-face. Through 6 games this season, I don’t know where our bad cop is. McGruder is still the unquestioned leader of the team, but he lacks the fire of Samuels. Who can be that second leader for the Cats? Jordan Henriquez? Thomas Gipson? One of the starting guards? Someone needs to step up. I love the energy that D.J. Johnson provides off the bench, but I don’t know that a freshman can be that type of leader unless they are a truly dynamic player.

K-State will have a good season. They have good players and good guys on the team. If they want to be great, they’ll need a second leader to emerge, someone with the fire to spark the team when times get tough. The Wildcats could’ve used someone like that in the opening minutes of the 2nd half against Michigan.

Some K-State fans think that the intense leadership should come from the coach. I disagree. The fire and toughness should come from within the players. I firmly believe in a quote from another legendary coach, UCLA great John Wooden:

“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”

I think we have a coach that believes that. Now we just need another leader to emerge as this team heads into the always tough conference schedule.

About The Author

Seth is a 2000 graduate of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism at Kansas State. While in Manhattan he wrote for the Kansas State Collegian, reported for the Wildcat 91.9 and interned at KSNT-TV in Topeka. He teaches now, but still play with his journalism degree. Living in the middle of Missouri makes it harder to follow the Cats, but he wears enough purple to draw stares at the grocery store. Follow him on Twitter at @catbacker77

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