MTXE was the 1980s equivalent of Play Angry. Mental Toughness Xtra Effort became household words as Gene Smithson began to turn around Shocker basketball. MTXE was affixed to towels, T-shirts, jerseys, anything with yellow and black.
Things really turned upon the 1979 arrival of Antoine Carr and Cliff Levingston, quickly dubbed the Bookend Forwards and starters from Day 1. Combined with upperclassmen Randy Smithson and Tony Martin, and 6-foot-11 center Ozell Jones, they got WSU back into the national spotlight, even as an NCAA probation was keeping it out of the tournament for in 1982 and 1983.
Pick your memory: Randy Smithson falling backward as the game-sealing free throw goes in against Iowa, finishing a 15-point second-round comeback in a frenzied Roundhouse? Mike Jones 25-footer to beat Kansas five days later in the Superdome? Xavier McDaniels 43-point, 20-rebound performance in 1985 that showed Bradley coach Dick Versace his stats werent padded?
Carr, Levingston and McDaniel were All-Americans and progressed to long NBA careers. MTXE didnt last as long.
Gene Smithson was fired in 1986, but Eddie Fogler arrived and immediately took two more WSU teams to the NCAAs. Shocker hoops was seemingly back on the big stage to stay.
|Season||Overall||MVC (Finish)||Coach||Top scorer|
|1979-80||17-12**||9-7 (T2nd)||Gene Smithson||Cliff Levingston (15.7)|
|1980-81||26-7*||12-4 (1st)||Gene Smithson||Cliff Levingston (18.5)|
|1981-82||23-6||12-4 (T2nd)||Gene Smithson||Cliff Levingston (16.0)|
|1982-83||25-3||17-1 (1st)||Gene Smithson||Antoine Carr (22.6)|
|1983-84||18-12**||11-5 (3rd)||Gene Smithson||Xavier McDaniel (20.6)|
|1984-85||15-13*||11-5 (T2nd)||Gene Smithson||Xavier McDaniel (27.2)|
|1985-86||14-14||7-9 (T5th)||Gene Smithson||Gus Santos (15.0)|
|1986-87||22-11*||9-5 (3rd)||Eddie Fogler||Henry Carr (11.8)|
|1987-88||20-10*||11-3 (2nd)||Eddie Fogler||Sasha Radunovich (14.1)|
|1988-89||19-11**||10-4 (T2nd)||Eddie Fogler||Steve Grayer (14.0)|
* NCAA Tournament; ** National Invitation Tournament
|Off the bench|