WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Kansas State (K-State) alumni team, Purple & Black’s first game will also be the first time K-State legends Michael Beasley, Jacob Pullen, and Bill Walker will play together in 14 years.
As Purple & Black continue to practice ahead of Friday’s ‘The Basketball Tournament’ (TBT) opener against the Lonestar Legends, the chemistry between Pullen and Walker seems to already be coming together.
“It’s always fun to get back with friends and old things like that,” explained Walker. “And I’m just looking for a great experience.”
It’s a reunion that head coach Jordan Henriquez can’t wait to see.
“It’s special,” said Henriquez. “The guys taking their time to come together and play. I think it’s a good thing for the TBT and a good thing for the K-State community.”
In 2008, the Kansas State Wildcats were a force to be reckoned with. Their season highlighter by being the first Wildcat team to beat Kansas in Bramlage Coliseum, a moment forever etched in K-State lore. Now they hope to bring that same chemistry to this year’s TBT.
“You know I just decided to play with my boys again,” added Pullen. “Bill and Mike wanted to play, and I’m home doing nothing, so Jake put it together and we should be able to win a couple of games, hopefully.”
Their reunion isn’t only special for themselves but also for their TBT teammates.
“I was telling somebody this yesterday, it’s pretty surreal,” explained Mike McGuirl, a Purple & Black guard and a K-State guard between 2017 and 2022. “Like yesterday we were just at practice and Jacob Pullen was doing his thing right out the gate and I was just like, ‘Wow, I’m on the same team as him.’ I grew up watching bill Walker, and Mike Beasley. This is just an amazing experience, and I’m having fun.”
And while the group is happy to once again share a basketball court, they’re focused on the goal ahead of them, regardless of who is in their way.
“When you’re at a high level, a pro level, it doesn’t really matter who is out there,” said Walker. “They’re all good. So you’re on a level where everybody is serious players and it’s going to be tough either way.”
Henriquez added, “It’s very competitive, I don’t think we’d be taking our time away from our family and friends if we didn’t want to win it, so for us to take this time to come together and get everything right going into TBT, we want to make the most of it by winning.”