There are two pervasive principles that guide Bruce Weber's recruiting efforts.
Both, along with a successful gamble, came into play Wednesday in landing what easily is the most decorated signing class of his eight-year Kansas State coaching tenure.
"One of the biggest things — I emphasize it and I learned it at Purdue," Weber said Wednesday night in discussing what is a consensus top-20 class nationally. "It's not who you recruit, but who you can get."
The other, oft-repeated mantra, is that if he can get prospects on campus for a visit, he likes their chances.
When it came to Nijel Pack, a four-star point guard from Indianapolis, there was a limited window for both — getting him to campus and getting him, period — so Weber and his staff took a chance.
"He's a really good player, but a couple of local schools there had taken somebody else," said Weber, who is well connected in Indiana after a long term as a Purdue assistant. "We took a chance and brought him in in June on an official visit when we never really have done that before.
"We thought he was that good, that if we could get him here before everyone else saw how good he was, that we'd have a chance, and he committed to us on the visit. It shocked me, it shocked his mom, but obviously we were excited."
For good reason, as it turned out.
Playing for the Indiana Heat AAU team on Nike EYBL summer tour, the 6-foot, 165-pound Pack was a breakout star in the prestigious Peach Jam tournament, averaging 20.8 points, 8.2 assists and 6.2 rebounds.
He was ranked No. 80 nationally by ESPN, No. 104 by 247Sports.com and No. 132 by Rivals.com.
As a junior at Lawrence Central High School, he averaged 16.5 points on 52.4% shooting, including a 43.2% 3-point clip, along with 4.1 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals.
"He just has a great feel of the game," Weber said. "For the future, it gives you another point guard (and) you always need that.
"You build with a point guard."
Pack is one of two four-star prospects in the four-man class. The other is 6-4, 195-pound shooting guard Selton Miguel, of West Oaks Academy in Orlando, Fla., by way of Angola.
Weber and assistant Bruce Lowery turned to their St. Louis pipeline for the remaining signees — 6-5 guard Luke Kasubke and 7-footer Davion Bradford.
Miguel is ranked No. 106 by Rivals and 143 by 247 Sports and was a third-team all-state selection by the Orlando Sentinel after averaging a team-high 17.9 points with a 45.2 3-point percentage, plus 3.8 rebounds and 3.0 steals in just 23.8 minutes per game at West Oaks.
"The first time I saw him I loved him," Weber said of Miguel. "He's a dog. He wants to guard, he takes pride in it (and) he plays so hard. And he is better offensively than I thought initially."
More importantly, he is an explosive athlete and possible replacement for senior Xavier Sneed.
"I told the coaches our No. 1 thing we had to get was someone with some physical presence at that wing spot," Weber said. "You have Xavier and get spoiled with that, and hopefully he can give us that."
Kasubke is another shooting guard who averaged 22.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists as a junior at Chaminade High School in St. Louis. He also played on the MoKan Elite AAU team that won the Peach Jam title in July.
"He gives you that scorer, that shooter, that 3-point shooter," Weber said. "He has some length, he has some size for that shooting guard and he's got a little more bounce than even people know."
The final player to commit was the 7-foot, 260-pound Bradford, Kasubke's AAU teammate with MoKan Elite. He averaged 16.5 points and 11 rebounds with 2.48 blocks per game as a junior at Mehlville High School.
"He is a big body, a big guy," Weber said. "I thought he had a great summer, again with Luke, part of MoKan, they win the Peach Jam, which is notoriously the best tournament of the AAU's circuit and he was a factor."
Combined with this year's three freshman and junior college point guard David Sloan, K-State now has put together back-to-back solid recruiting classes as well as met their position needs across the board.
"You've got to build a team, and I think that's something I've learned through the years," Weber said. "You can't take all shooters, you can't take all athletes, you can't take all big men.
"You've got to have a mix."
K-State women sign two
Kansas State's women's team signed two players Wednesday, going big with 6-6 center Taylor Lauterbach from Appleton, Wis., and adding 5-11 guard Jada Moore, from Denver.
Lauterbach, ranked No. 85 nationally and 13th among centers by Prospects Nation, averaged 12.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks last year for Appleton West and helped the Wisconsin Blaze two a pair of national titles.
Moore, who is the No. 3-rated player in Colorado by prepgirlshoops.com, averaged 9.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists in leading Regis Jesuit to a 23-4 record.