Something was rotten in Marshallville on Tuesday night.
At about 6:45 p.m., there was WuShock, slapping five with Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and leading the City Council from the State of the City address to the strains of the Shocker “War” song.
And no more than 10 minutes later – maybe five – there was WuShock at Charles Koch Arena, leading the undefeated Shockers into battle.
Now, Wichita’s no Atlanta. But no one makes it from City Hall to 21st and Hillside in 10 minutes without help.
WSU’s top brass was particularly disingenuous.
“Honestly, I don’t see what the big deal is here. No one ever questions how Santa Claus accomplishes what he does in just one night,” offered Barth Hague, WSU’s head marketing guru.
“Maybe he had a police escort,” said Joe Kleinsasser, the school’s director of media relations.
Or maybe there’s more than one WuShock? Kleinsasser’s tone went dark.
“I can neither confirm nor deny that,” he said.
Vice Mayor Pete Meitzner, who was at City Hall and Koch Arena on Tuesday night, implicated himself in the cagey cover-up.
“Apparently, the rumor you can get anywhere in Wichita in 10 minutes is true,” Meitzner filibustered.
Riiight. So we dove into Twitter in search of basketball program insiders and the truth.
But not a word from Shocker coach Gregg Marshall, discretion being the better part of valor and all that. We figured he would still be smoldering after his team’s lackluster second half Tuesday night.
Nonetheless, if Coach Marshall’s on to the answer, we can confirm he isn’t letting it loose at home. His No. 1 son, Kellen, is as in the dark as we are on the Case of the Multiple Mascots.
However, the younger Marshall offered up the first plausible explanation we’ve heard.
“But ... He’s WuShock,” he tweeted. “#DriveAngry.”
Shocker athletic director Eric Sexton has Kellen’s back.
“All can think, guess and speculate all they want about whether there are two WuShocks as much as you think there are two Santas,” Sexton intoned.
“WuShock is ready at a moment’s notice to serve his mayor and to lead the Shocker Nation. I want to tell all to stop questioning the powers of Wu and know that WuShock can do what no mere mascot can – particularly when it comes to making the Shocker Nation proud.”
Here’s what we believe to be true: There’s more than one WuShock.
“But I don’t know if anyone’s supposed to know that,” cautioned Virdena Gilkey, Brewer’s assistant.
Don’t worry. We won’t tell a soul.