MANHATTAN, Kan. — She stood in the back of the interview room, wearing a bright yellow coat over a purple Kansas State sweatshirt, unable to comprehend much of what her son was saying.
She couldn’t help but smile anyway.
In the universal language of basketball, Jacqueline Tricoche still understood exactly what her son, Angel Rodriguez, had just done for the Wildcats. His 11 points and eight assists on Wednesday night in a blowout win over Texas had pushed them into a tie for second in the Big 12, and that’s why the sophomore guard was fielding question after question under blazing spotlights.
When the news conference finally broke, and Tricoche slipped into a hallway deep within Bramlage Coliseum, she was asked how it felt watching her son play at Kansas State for the first time.
She paused for a minute, and then said quietly, “Muy bonita.”
Rodriguez isn’t the Wildcats’ leading scorer, of course. That would be Rodney McGruder. He’s not the leading rebounder, either. That would be Thomas Gipson.
But his game is beautiful nonetheless.
The barrel-shaped spark-plug is the team’s best ball-handler, the key to making coach Bruce Weber’s motion offense run. He may also be the team’s best perimeter defender, the blood-and-guts glue guy for a program that keeps grinding out wins with a chip on its shoulder.
The Wildcats are off to a 16-4 start, their losses coming to top-ranked Michigan, second-ranked Kansas, and seventh-ranked Gonzaga, and on the road against another former Top 25 team, Iowa State.