NEW YORK — Lower than 24 hours after his historic Candy 16 efficiency, Kansas State guard Markquis Nowell mentioned his injured ankle is 85% to 90% wholesome. And he left zero doubt about his standing for Saturday’s Elite Eight sport in opposition to Florida Atlantic.
“It is good,” Nowell mentioned. “It’ll most likely be [better] tomorrow.”
Nowell mentioned that he was in a position to transfer round at observe on Friday.
“It was a scare,” Nowell mentioned. “I tweaked it a bit of bit, nevertheless it feels good now. Simply been icing it, elevating it, stuff you do with a rolled ankle.”
Nowell had one of many best particular person performances in NCAA match historical past in Thursday’s 98-93 extra time win over Michigan State, setting a match document with 19 assists whereas additionally contributing 20 factors and 5 steals.
A lot of that efficiency got here after Nowell suffered a seemingly severe ankle damage early within the second half. He was on the ground for a number of minutes and wanted to be helped off the ground by two Kansas State staffers.
After sitting on the finish of the bench and getting his ankle retaped, Nowell checked himself again into the sport two minutes later and propelled the Wildcats to a win.
The 5-foot-8 Harlem native awakened Friday morning to his face on the quilt of his hometown paper, the New York Put up, which declared him the “King of New York.” He obtained messages from a half-dozen present and former NBA stars, together with Trae Younger, Donovan Mitchell and Carmelo Anthony.
However Nowell is trying towards Saturday’s sport.
“Simply maintain specializing in issues that is vital. Going 1-0. Like we have been preaching the entire season,” Nowell mentioned. “We had an amazing efficiency yesterday, celebrated final evening and now at this time is the time to flip over the web page and concentrate on Florida Atlantic. … We simply gotta focus and lock in like we have been doing after video games.”
FAU is conscious that Nowell is the No. 1 merchandise on its scouting report. Nonetheless, as Owls coach Dusty Might identified, the objective is to decide on your battles and gradual Nowell down — not eradicate him utterly.
“You do not shut him down,” Might mentioned. “You attempt to make him rating inefficiently. You attempt to problem each move, each passing lane with anticipation, with our athleticism. However you do not cease a man like that, you simply hope to make him inefficient on that specific evening.
“It’s a must to choose your poison. … As a result of when you’ve gotten the vary, the midrange, the floaters to the rim, the passing to the left and proper hand, he has no holes in his sport and he will discover a resolution to no matter protection you are in.”
FAU gamers mentioned it is crucial to be cognizant of Nowell’s teammates and never enable him to rack up simple assists to wide-open cutters — as Nowell did in opposition to Michigan State.
“On-ball strain is an enormous key, and likewise the help-side protection and ensuring that the remainder of the defenders see their man and do not get backdoor reduce and various things that simply give him a possibility to seek out open individuals,” junior guard Bryan Greenlee mentioned. “I consider with our switching protection and the way attentive we’re to being disciplined, we are able to do a great job of containing him.”
FAU has expertise in opposition to high-level playmaking guards, going through Memphis’ Kendric Davis within the first spherical of the NCAA match and UAB’s Jelly Walker in convention play.
Nowell, who’s averaging 21.3 factors, 14.0 assists and three.7 steals in three NCAA match video games, will probably be a distinct take a look at.
“They’re an excellent crew that it’s a must to fear about,” Nowell mentioned. “I am not overlooking them as a result of I’ve seen what they did to individuals on this match.
“However Kendric Davis and Jelly Walker is them. I am Markquis.”
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