FOR ALL THE
publicity surrounding Beasley and his outstanding play to back it up, this much
is also true: Kansas State (9--4 through Sunday) is looking not so much like a
national championship contender but rather an NCAA tournament bubble team; the
Wildcats were drilled by unranked Xavier 101--77 on Dec. 31 as Beasley had a
season-low five points after committing three quick fouls. Almost nobody thinks
Beasley will be back in Manhattan next season, so it's worth asking: Is it
possible to leave a legacy at Kansas State if he bolts for the NBA after one
year? "I don't think so," he says. "A legacy would be like Carmelo
Anthony at Syracuse: one year, one championship. If I leave after this year and
haven't done anything, where's my legacy? I want an NCAA championship. That's a
B-Easy says he's
mostly enjoying the college experience. Among his first-semester classes, he
calls Computing and Information Sciences "bogus" and Basic Nutrition
"a waste of my time," but he'll talk at length about the theories of
"old-time guys like Freud" from his Human Development class and his
fascination with retinal scans, which he studied in Mass Communications.
Beasley vows that whenever he departs from Kansas State he'll finish that
semester's classes and leave with his eligibility intact, which would prevent
the Wildcats from losing any scholarships per the rules of the NCAA's Academic
Progress Rate (APR).
These days the
kid who used to mumble in response to his teachers (when he bothered to show up
for class) can sit in a room at K-State's Bramlage Coliseum and talk for hours.
"Now I want to be heard," explains Beasley, who says he earned a 3.1
GPA in the first semester. "I have a new outlook. I'm still the same old
neighborhood Mike. But to make it in this world you have to meet people. Who's
to say my neighbor in the dorm won't end up being the next Bill Gates or Donald
For that matter,
who's to say the kid in the white tank top back at the Rec won't end up being
the next Kevin Durant or Michael Beasley? On a cold Saturday in December a
13-year-old guard named Jujuan Shivers was hard at work under the watchful eye
of Stink Brown. Stink passed up the chance for a payday by making an
instructional video ("I just do this for the love of the game and the kids
in the community," he says), but you can always find him here, running
Jujuan and a few dozen other neighborhood boys through the same drills that
produced present and future NBA millionaires. "The Rec is like my
family," says Jujuan. "It keeps me motivated to say, I could be like
Kevin Durant, or I could be like Michael Beasley."
To which Beasley
no doubt would smile and say: Be easy, Jujuan, be easy.