MANHATTAN, Kan. (Kansas State Athletics) – Kansas State head coach Jerome Tang added significant experience to his backcourt on Wednesday (June 15) with the signing of transfer Desi Sills (Jonesboro, Ark./Jonesboro/Arkansas/Arkansas State) to a Financial Aid Agreement with the program for the 2022-23 season.
Sills is the sixth player to sign with the Wildcats since Tang was introduced as the program’s head coach on March 21, including the fourth Division I transfer following Cam Carter (Mississippi State), Jerrell Colbert (LSU) and David N’Guessan (Virginia Tech). Overall, Sills is the seventh newcomer added to the team for the 2022-23 season.
A 6-foot-2, 200-pound combo guard, Sills arrives at K-State after playing the 2021-22 season at Arkansas State, where he saw action in 28 of 29 games played with 27 starts. He helped guide the Red Wolves to an 18-11 record this past season, the program’s highest win total in five seasons. Prior to that, he saw action in 98 games with 47 starts in three seasons (2018-21) at Arkansas, including being a major contributor for a Razorback team that won 25 games and advanced to the Elite Eight in 2020-21.
Overall, Sills has logged 126 games of experience at the Division I level, including 74 starts, while totaling more than 3,000 minutes played for 24.4 per game average.
“The staff and I couldn’t be more excited to add a player like Desi to our team at K-State,” said Tang. “Obviously, experience has been a high priority for us, and he has significant experience having played major roles at both Arkansas and Arkansas State. And just like the rest of the guys, Desi is a winner. He has been a part of 81 wins in college with a trip to the Elite Eight, so he knows what it takes to be successful. We can’t wait to get him here to campus, so Wildcat Nation can get to know him for the quality man he is on and off the basketball court. We think he is a perfect complement to the other guys we already have in our program.”
Sills will have one year of eligibility remaining after the NCAA granted Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 sport student-athletes an additional year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sills has scored more than 1,000 points in his college career, totaling 1,110 points (8.8 ppg.) in his 126 games played on 43.5 percent (382-of-878) shooting, including 32.8 percent (129-of-393) from 3-point range, while knocking down 68.9 percent (217-of-315) from the free throw line. He has 50 career double-digit scoring games, including 27 games of 15 or more points and 8 20-point games. In addition, he has collected 326 rebounds (2.6 rpg.), 227 assists (1.8 apg.) and 135 steals (1.1 spg.) in 3,081 minutes (24.4 mpg.) in his career.
This past season, Sills played in 28 of 29 possible games, including 27 starts, for Arkansas State, ranking first on the team in steals (51) while placing second in scoring (12.6 ppg.) and field goals made (127) and third in 3-point field goals made (26), rebounds (101/3.6 rpg.) and assists (79/2.8 apg.). For the season, he connected on 44.6 percent (127-of-285) from the field, including 25.5 percent (26-of-102) from 3-point range, while hitting on 72.7 percent (72-of-99) from the free throw line.
Sills scored in double figures on 18 occasions for the Red Wolves, including three games of at least 20 points. He recorded his career-high of 25 points in a win at Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 8, 2021, hitting on 8-of-14 field goals attempts, including 3-of-8 from 3-point range, and a 6-of-7 effort from the line. He opened the season with a 21-point performance vs. Harding on Nov. 8, 2021, before duplicating that effort with 21 points in a home win against Sun Belt Conference foe Texas State on Jan. 22, 2022.
Beyond his scoring prowess, Sills demonstrated his abilities as a multi-dimensional player at ASU, dishing out 5 or more assists in four games, grabbing at least 5 rebounds in six games and recording at least 2 steals in 13 games. He had a career-best 9 assists at Texas Tech on Dec. 14, 2021, while he had career-high 5 steals vs. Georgia Southern on Jan. 1, 2022.
Sills played three seasons (2018-21) at Arkansas, where he averaged 7.7 points (758 total) on 43 percent (255-of-593) shooting, including 35.4 percent (103-of-291) from 3-point range, with 2.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.9 steals in 22.8 minutes per game while playing in 98 games with 47 starts. He scored in double figures in 32 career games, including registering 5 20-point games. His best scoring effort as a Razorback came at Auburn on Dec. 30, 2020, as he poured in 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, in 35 minutes.
Sills was the only Razorback to play in all 98 games those three seasons, where he played for head coaches Mike Anderson and Eric Musselman and helped the team to 63 wins and an Elite Eight finish in 2020-21.
His best season at Arkansas came as a sophomore in 2019-20, in which, he averaged 10.6 points on 42.5 percent (117-of-275) shooting to go with 3.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 0.9 steals in playing all 32 games with 24 starts. He scored in double figures in 17 games, including three games of 20 or more points. He was playing his best basketball in the last 11 games with 9 double-digit scoring efforts before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He scored 21 points at Georgia on Feb. 29, 2020, while he had 20 against Vanderbilt in the final game of the SEC Tournament on March 11 before the season was shut down.
A preseason All-SEC Second Team selection as a junior in 2020-21, Sills helped the Razorbacks to a 25-win season and a return to the Elite Eight for the time in 26 years. He averaged 7.5 points on 43 percent (83-of-193) shooting to go with 2.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.0 steals per game while playing in all 32 games with 15 starts. He enjoyed a strong start to the season with nine double-digit scoring efforts in the first 15 games, including a pair of 20-point performances against Auburn.
Sills was rated as the No. 3 player in the state of Arkansas by 247Sports and ESPN, while being a consensus top 50-pick among the nation’s top point guards. He helped guide Jonesboro High School to consecutive Class 6A State Championships in 2017 and 2018 while earning consecutive First Team Class 6A All-State honors. He averaged 20 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists as a senior in 2017-18 and was a USA Today First Team All-Arkansas selection.
Sills joins a signing class that already includes four fellow transfers in 6-foot-3, 185-pound combo guard Cam Carter (Donaldsonville, La./Oak Hill Academy [Va.]/Mississippi State), 6-foot-10, 216-pound center Jerrell Colbert (Houston, Texas/Houston [Tenn.]/LSU), 6-foot-8, 195-pound small forward Nae’Qwan Tomlin (New York City, N.Y./Urban Assembly School/Chipola [Fla.] College) and 6-foot-9, 205-pound power forward David N’Guessan (De Lier, The Netherlands/Mt. Zion Prep/Virginia Tech).
The class also includes a pair of high school standouts in 6-foot-5, 175-pound combo guard Dorian Finister (New Orleans, La./Carver) and 6-foot-8, 215-pound power forward Taj Manning (Grandview, Mo./La Lumiere School [Ind.]). Manning signed with the previous coaching staff during the Fall 2021 Signing Period and reconfirmed his commitment to attend K-State for the 2022-23 season.