MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State men’s basketball received some good news on Tuesday afternoon (March 23) when senior Mike McGuirl announced that he was utilizing his extra season of eligibility and returning to the Wildcats for the 2021-22 season.
“This was an easy decision for me,” said McGuirl. “The coaches and the Kansas State community have been so great to me and I wanted another year with my brothers on the team.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA announced in October that they had agreed to grant fall and winter sport student-athletes an additional year to complete their eligibility.
An All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection, McGuirl is coming off solid senior season in 2020-21, in which, the Ellington, Connecticut native either led or was tied for the team lead in 12 categories, including points (342), double-digit scoring games (20), field goals made (112) and attempted (315), 3-point field goals made (60) and attempted (190), free throws made (58) and attempted (76), assists (103), steals (30) and minutes (34.3). He was second in scoring (11.8 ppg.) to freshman teammate Nijel Pack.
“We are excited to have Mike back for his extra year,” said head coach Bruce Weber. “I have said many times how bad I felt that he didn’t get a freshman season since we had to pull his redshirt late in the year due to some injuries. I told him, ‘God has a path for you, and now you have an opportunity to get your freshman year back’.
Obviously, he had a memorable experience in the NCAA Tournament with his great game against Creighton, helping us advance to the Elite Eight.
“Mike showed so much commitment and sacrifice this year. Despite everything going on, he didn’t miss one practice or game. I’m happy that he has the opportunity to build on the progress that he made this season and hopefully continue how he finished the year (double-figure scoring in 5 of the last 6 games). He has the chance to become one of the elite guards in the Big 12 next season.”
McGuirl’s 20 double-digit scoring games doubled his entire career total (10) that he had entering the 2020-21 season. He opened the year with his first career 20-point game vs. Drake on November 25 with 22 points then equaled it against Fort Hays State on December 8, while he had a team-high 19 points in the upset of No. 7/8 Oklahoma on February 23 that included a career-best 5 3-pointers. Of his 705 career points, 542 have come in the last two seasons in 58 games played with 49 starts (9.3 ppg.).
The only player to start all 29 games, McGuirl showed his versatility by leading the Wildcats in scoring a team-best 11 times, while he also pacing the team in rebounding 4 times, in assists 14 times and in steals on 10 occasions. He led the team in scoring (16), rebounding (9) and assists (5) in the win over TCU on February 20, a win which started the team’s late surge to end the season (4 wins in the last 6 games).
In addition to his scoring, McGuirl also set up his teammates, dishing out a team-best 103 assists (to 77 turnovers) in 2020-21. He had 11 games at least 5 assists this season, including a career-best 8 against Milwaukee on December 11, while he had 7 assists in the narrow 74-68 loss to No. 2/2 Baylor in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship on March 11. He is the 40th Wildcat to tally 100 assists in a single season, while he is the 28th player in school history to eclipse 200 in his career.
Entering the 2021-22 season, McGuirl has scored 705 career points in 104 games played with 51 starts on 37.3 percent (235-of-630) shooting, including 32.4 percent (118-of-364) from 3-point range, to go with 247 rebounds (2.4 rpg.), 209 assists (2.0 apg.) and 85 steals (0.8 spg.).