@AU_MBasketball Opens 2017-18 Season at Kansas State

American Visits Kansas State

Game #1• American (0-0) at Kansas State (0-0)
Fri., Nov. 10, 2017 • 9 p.m.ET • Manhattan, Kansas • Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)
All-Time Record: 
First Meeting
TV: 
Fox Sports Kansas City / ESPN3 — Ben Boyle (play-by-play), Stan Weber (analyst)
Stream
Live Stats

Game Notes:  American  |  Kansas State

KANSAS CITY — The American University men's basketball team begins the 2017-18 season on the road at Kansas State on Friday evening. The Eagles under fifth-year head coach Mike Brennan return sophomores Sa'eed Nelson and Mark Gasperini along with juniors James Washington and Matt Cimino.

News, Notes, and Storylines

NO EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: American is one four teams to not have a senior on the roster join Kentucky, Holy Cross and Bowling Green. American is also on a list with 13 teams with nine or more underclassmen and one senior or fewer, joining Kentucky (12/0), Auburn (12/1), American (10/0), The Citadel (10/0), Wofford (10/1), Toledo (10/1), Tennessee (10/1), Holy Cross (9/0), Bowling Green (9/0), Kansas State (9/1), Louisiana Tech (9/1), Marquette (9/1), Montana (9/1) and Oklahoma (9/1).

BIG JERSEY BRAND: Sa'eed Nelson finished in the top-20 among freshman in NCAA total points. Of that list, six players were drafted by an NBA team. Nelson finished with 447 points, just 77 points behind the second pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Lonzo Ball from UCLA.

IT'S A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT: Sa'eed Nelson ended his rookie season third nationally in minutes per game (37:52). Matt Mobley (38:18)from St. Bonaventure and T.J. Williams (38:10) from Northeastern finished ahead of the American point guard. Nelson averaged two more minutes played per game over the closest freshman (Adam Grant, Bryant (35:41)) in the NCAA.

THE STICKY BANDIT RETURNS: Sa'eed Nelson was eight overall in steals per game at 2.40. He was the highest rated rookie with the closest ranked 22nd (Shamorie Ponds, St. John's) with 2.06. In total steals, Nelson finished 13th overall with 72.   

HOT SHOT: Mark Gasperini finished the 10th in national rookies last season in field-goal percentage at 48.9 percent. He was also 20th in centers and in the top 125 overall.

THE UNICORN: Mark Gasperini had 19 double-figure games last season with one double-double at Colgate (1/2/17) where he had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Gasperini began his collegiate career with 14 points at Maryland (11/11/16). The center had a seven-game double figures streak from 11/22 in the home opener against Wagner (11/22) until 12/21 at Villanova. During the span, Gasperini averaged 13.2 points per game. Also during the seven-game streak, he had five or more rebounds four times with his highest output of eight rebounds twice against Wagner and Western Illinois (11/29). During the season, Gasperini had five or more rebounds 11 times. 

MATTY ICE READY FOR BIG SEASON: Matt Cimino was a late addition to the Eagles after transferring from George Washington. He finished the season on a strong note with back-to-back 12 point performances in starts against Navy (2/22) and Loyola (2/25).

WEST COAST WASHINGTON: James Washington had four double-figure contests as a sophomore. Washington started the first 10 games before moving to a key role player off the bench. He netted a season-best 18 points in the third game of the year at Akron (11/17). Washington shot 39 percent from the field and 74 percent from the line. He returns as the best rated free throw shooter having connected on 17-of-23.

AMERICAN IN SEASON OPENERS: The Eagles have posted a 44-46 all-time record in the season opener. The Last time American began a season at Bender Arena was in 2010-11 when the Eagles defeated Saint Francis (Pa.), 62-52. Mike Brennan is looking for his first season-opening win after falling to George Mason, Temple, Rhode Island and Maryland. 

AMERICAN VS. BIG 12 CONFERENCE: American is 1-8 all-time against Big 12 Conference opponents. The lone win is against West Virginia on Jan. 3, 1975 at the Presidential Classic, hosted by American University. The Eagles will continue their Big 12 non-league slate against the Mountaineers on Nov. 15 at the WVU Coliseum. 

AMERICAN AGAINST THE SUNFLOWER STATE: American is 1-2 against teams from the state of Kansas. The Eagles defeated Wichita State, 72-71, on Dec. 13, 1989. 

WHO IS CB DIALLO?: Junior transfers Cheikh Diallo will see time in the Eagles' frontcourt rotation. Diallo tremendous skill sets that will give American a 3-point shooting, rebounding and tough defender. Diallo comes to American from Kilgore College, a Division 1 junior college in Texas. In 59 career games with the Rangers, Diallo averaged 24.0 minutes, 9.6 points and 2.2 rebounds per game along with 124 assists. A strong shooter, Diallo connected on 38.6 percent of 3-point opportunities and 81.4 percent of free throws. Diallo had a career-best 26 points in the 2016-17 season opener against Louisiana Christian School He netted 20 or more points three times last season and reached double figures 12 times as a sophomore.

LITHUANIAN BORN, CHICAGO BRED: Junior Larry Motuzis sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, but Motuzis is poised for a breakout year with the Eagles. He spent two seasons at Saint Xavier University, an NAIA school in the Oak Lawn section of Chicago. Like fellow transfer Diallo, Motuzis is a pure shooter who can make baskets from inside and outside along with a high free throw shooting percentage. Motuzis played in 63 games with the Cougars, averaging 15.9 points per game. As a sophomore, Motuzis led the team in scoring with 20.7 points per game.

MEET THE EAGLETS; American welcomes seven freshmen, the largest incoming class in the Mike Brenna era. Sam Iorio and Drew LaMont were the first two signees along with Marvin Bragg. The Eagles then secured Jesse Little, Stacy Beckton Jr., Nick Macarchuk and Tyler McFarland during their spring semesters.

AMERICAN IN SEASON OPENERS: The Eagles have posted a 44-46 all-time record in the season opener. The Last time American began a season at Bender Arena was in 2010-11 when the Eagles defeated Saint Francis (Pa.), 62-52. Mike Brennan is looking for his first season-opening win after falling to George Mason, Temple, Rhode Island and Maryland.