Basketball players who attract attention from NBA scouts is a new and rare thing for Wichita State.
No Shocker has been drafted since Henry Carr went in the seventh round of the 1987 draft. Maurice Evans, who played two seasons at WSU before escaping to Texas, is the only active NBA player with Shocker ties. Evans played for the Washington Wizards last season, his ninth in the NBA.
There is no guarantee that drought will end soon, but three Shockers from the 2011-12 team are getting a chance to show NBA talent evaluators their skills.
Center Garrett Stutz, a 7-footer, is getting the most looks and likely has the best chance of hooking on with a summer league team or other tryouts. The NBA Draft is Thursday and 60 players will be selected in two rounds.
ESPN.com’s Chad Ford ranks Stutz the No. 85 player in the draft class. He worked out for the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday, and also practiced for the Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs and others. Stutz helped himself greatly with strong performances in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, where he averaged 14.7 points and 11 rebounds and made the all-tournament team.
“I gained a lot of interest from NBA scouts and front-office executives,” Stutz told Slam Online. “A lot of people there had never had the chance to see me live. Plus, I measured at 7-1, which they seemed to like.”
Guard Toure Murry has worked out for his hometown Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers. Last week, he went to Salt Lake City to work with the Utah Jazz. Purdue’s Robbie Hummel, Missouri’s Kim English, Jorge Gutierrez of Cal and Villanova’s Maalik Wayns also worked out in front of Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin.
“Pretty much all of them are the same,” Murry told NBA.com in a video interview. “A lot of competing, one-on-one, three-on-three and a lot of shooting.”
The Jazz own one pick — No. 47. Murry said he thinks he fits with the team.
“They have a lot of young guards and I feel like I can come in compete and blend in and give whatever the coaching staff asks me to do,” Murry told NBA.com. “The 47th pick is an honor. There’s only 60 of them.”
The Clippers and Golden State Warriors checked out guard Joe Ragland in pre-draft workouts.
“They certainly liked what he did at Wichita State, and both teams liked what he did in workouts,” agent Dan Tobin said. “He’s a very efficient player, and makes the most of every possession. He did a good job in workouts adjusting from the college three-point stripe to the NBA stripe.”
At worst, these Shockers are in position to make a high-level team overseas. At best, all it takes is one NBA team to grow enamored of Stutz’s offensive skills, or Murry’s length and defense, or Ragland’s shooting.
On the beach — Beach volleyball looks like fun in the sun. It is, for athletes such as former Shocker volleyball player Emily Stockman. Like any pro sport, however, it is also a grind for Stockman and partner Leah Hinkey.
“It’s a battle, but that’s what we want to do,” Stockman said. “There’s not a lot of money in beach volleyball now.”
Despite the obstacles, Stockman and Hinkey, who played middle blocker at Tennessee, are pushing forward in their second summer together at Team Em-Le. They have two sponsors, one AquaHydrate, a bottled water company which employs Hinkey as a sales rep. They employ a coach and travel to tournaments on the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series. They played last weeked in a USA Volleyball International Developmental Qualifier and advanced to the quarterfinals in Playa del Rey, Calif. Stockman lives in Hermosa Beach, Calif. She met Hinkey playing junior volleyball in Colorado.
Their goal is to move up into international play and take a shot at making a future Olympics team. A year ago, Stockman and Hinkey finished ninth in the National Volleyball League’s Aspen MotherLode Classic, their best finish together. Stockman, an honorable mention All-American in 2008 and 2009 at WSU, expects bigger things as they put in more time together. Practicing and playing with the USA volleyball teams is a big help adjusting from the indoor game to the beach. The weather is an important variable. The beach ball is lighter and floats more.
“We learned a lot from last season,” she said. “It is a huge mental game, but there are only two of you on the court, so you have to work with what you have. There is so much to learn.”
OK with the NCAA — WSU’s Academic Progress Rates (APR) are in good shape for the four-year rolling average completed from the 2010-11 school year.
Volleyball, women’s tennis and men’s golf produced perfect scores of 1,000 to earn Public Recognition Awards from the NCAA, part of the list of 23 Missouri Valley Conference programs so honored. It is third straight perfect score for the volleyball program.
The APR statistics, based on years from 2007-08 to 2010-11, tracks scholarship athletes for retention and progress toward graduation. A score above 925 is regarded as good academic standing by the NCAA. All of WSU’s sports are well above that mark.
The current cutline for possible postseason penalties is a score of 900, although that will rise to 930 beginning in 2014. Connecticut’s men’s basketball team is one of 10 ineligible for next season’s NCAA Tournament due to a score of 889.
WSU’s baseball team ranks first in the MVC with a score of 972. Men’s basketball (954) and women’s basketball (984) are both seventh in the MVC.