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Marshall opens door, lets words flow out

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, April 5, 2013, at 1:48 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, August 25, 2013, at 9:02 a.m.

— Gregg Marshall’s way with words is receiving major air time during the NCAA Tournament.

He opens his locker room to CBS cameras before the games. His postgame “Are you satisfied?” speech became a rallying cry for Wichita State players and fans after the opening win over Pittsburgh. When the Shockers advanced to the Final Four, he found the perfect way to celebrate — on a ladder, leading fans in a “Four, two, one” chant while counting down with his fingers.

“I don’t have any writers,” he said. “Maybe we can work on that next year, producers, directors. I just kind of go with what’s in my heart.”

Before last week’s game against Ohio State, Marshall told his team he wanted to cut down nets before getting on the plane back to Wichita.

“The mecca awaits in Atlanta,” he told his team. “We’ll leave next week. Don’t worry about that. You’ve got 40 minutes and here’s the beautiful thing — you don’t have to play a perfect game. You just have to play really well. If you play really well, we’ll do what we want to do and sing and celebrate and cut those nets down.”

Marshall collects his thoughts while the Shockers are warming up and his assistants are on the court. He writes key points on a dry-erase board and lets his words flow.

“I don’t know if he thinks about it or if it’s just natural,” WSU guard Fred VanVleet said. “He’s going to have it ready. He’s good at that stuff.”

Marshall’s NCAA speeches often return to the theme of sticking together, ignoring the spotlights and cameras and playing for each other.

“It helps remind us why we’re here,” junior Chadrack Lufile said. “It gives us an extra fuelage to our game and our desire and our hope. ”

Reach Paul Suellentrop at 316-269-6760 or psuellentrop@wichitaeagle.com. Check his blog at blogs.kansas.com/shockwaves, and follow him on Twitter: @paulsuellentrop.

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