TBT: Kansas State’s Michael Beasley Drafted No. 2 Overall, 6/26/08


His NBA legacy will be one of blown opportunities, but the night Michael Beasley was drafted No. 2 remains a moment Kansas State fans celebrate with pride.

When the Miami Heat drafted Michael Beasley with the number two pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, the assumption was they selected the guy who would shore up a front-court that wasn’t the same after Shaquille O’Neal’s trade to Phoenix. Well, not even the best NBA Draft experts could have predicted the 6-9 forward would adopt the “Super Cool Beas” persona and become his own worst enemy.

Beasley achieved one of the greatest freshman seasons in the history of college basketball

“[He] would be the answer to their problems,” wrote Christopher Cruz in his HoopsHype.com summary of Beasley’s disappointing career. Still, despite his run-ins with the law and failure to live up to expectations, the Kansas State family remembers Michael Beasley as a dynamic Freshman who led the 2007-08 basketball program to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1996.

It’s understandably easy to forget just how good Michael Beasley was at Kansas State. Coming into the program as one of the most successful AAU players in the nation, the kid from Notre Dame Prep dominated the collegiate hardwood. He averaged 26.2 points per game, led the nation in rebounds, and broke Carmelo Anthony’s freshman record for double-doubles (28). If there’s any doubt Michael Beasley achieved one of the greatest freshman seasons in the history of college basketball, then consider his 866 total points and 408 rebounds remain top three for frosh players in NCAA history.

The 2007-08 Wildcats weren’t able to advance beyond the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament, but this was the team that brought Kansas State basketball back to relevance. Not only did they end the 12-year tournament appearance drought but Kansas State won a tournament game for the first time in 18 years. This was Michael Beasley’s team and long after he became the first Kansas State alum selected in the NBA Draft since Norris Coleman (1986), the Wildcats basketball program continues to thrive.

He only played one season in purple but there’s little doubt of the ripple effect of the Michael Beasley era. The recruiting has improved, facilities have been upgraded and most importantly, Kansas State has made the NCAA Tournament in 5 of the past 6 seasons.