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Sports Illustrated focuses on Wichita State

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, at 10:06 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, at 6:55 a.m.

Wichita State’s basketball team was scheduled for a photo shoot Saturday before leaving for Evansville and Sunday’s Missouri Valley Conference game. It’s not just any photo session — Sports Illustrated is in town.

SI reporter Thomas Lake traveled (driving the whole way and polishing his Wizard of Oz references) with the unbeaten and fourth-ranked Shockers to Indiana State, Northern Iowa and to Wichita for Tuesday’s game against Southern Illinois.

WSU has received a ton of national attention in the past month. But to many sports fans, nothing matters as much as Sports Illustrated and the cover. Sure, that weekly arrival of SI isn’t as important as it was 25 years ago, when the magazine and its cover largely set the national discussion. However, it’s still a rare status symbol.

Plans change, so there is no guarantee the unbeaten Shockers grab the cover. At least Derek Jeter got his retirement out of the way.

WSU’s five starters were to take part in the photo shoot, which raised a problem for coach Gregg Marshall. His center position rotates and Chadrack Lufile, Kadeem Coleby and Darius Carter are all equally important in that role.

How to decide who joins Baker, VanVleet, Early and Cotton?

Marshall held three strings. Short string wins. Coleby drew first and got a long string. So did Carter. Lufile got the short string and, perhaps, a spot on the SI cover soon.

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