MANHATTAN, Kan. — When Kansas State assistant coach Jareem Dowling got back to Manhattan, he was in bit of rush.
“We’re going to go get some drinks, man. We’re going to do it respectfully. That’s how Coach (Jerome) Tang operates,” Dowling said.
They’re pouring one up for good reason, too — Kansas State advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.
“These things are hard,” Dowling said. “Like I’ve been telling our players, it just feels like a movie. Somebody from Hollywood needs to come get this check from us and make a movie because these kids deserve it.”
The Wildcats are about to go to New York, a particularly special destination for four players who get the chance to go to play in their home town.
“For them to be able to get to the Sweet 16 and do it at home, that’s a dream come true for them,” assistant coach Rodney Perry said. “I know at one point Markquis (Nowell) was like, ‘Y’all ain’t keeping me from going home.'”
“I was playing some old school Cam’ron, some Jay-Z, get the guys hype,” Dowling said of how they motivated players for a trip to New York City.
And just like the team, the coaches have a brotherhood, likening themselves to a big musical group.
“Coach Tang is gospel, Coach Ulric (Maligi) is R&B, Coach Perry is Jazz, (chief of staff) Marco (Borne) is Louisiana music, and I’m reggae and rap,” Dowling said.
And they realize it’s bigger than them. K-State’s coaches said they built this team when only two players were on the roster to start and have proved a staff of six African-American coaches at a Power 5 school can win.
“We laughed about it after the game, you know,” Maligi said. “Kareem and I talked about it. This is for the culture. It may be the first time ever in the history of college basketball, but it’s definitely been very special.”
And now, they’re focused on advancing even further.
“When they talk about us, and you do this on the news, talk to your producers and you got to say Kansas freaking State. Put some respect on our name,” Dowling said.