Cliff Levingston and Antoine CarrIn today’s Eagle/Kansas.com, our Shocker season preview focuses on the big men. Coach Gregg Marshall accumulated a nice group of tall fellows. By the end of the season, it’s a group that could take a spot among the best front courts in Shocker history. Before joining that select group (as picked by me), they need to do a lot of work and win a lot of games.
Antoine Carr, Cliff Levingston, Jay Jackson. Reserves – Xavier McDaniel, Greg Dreiling, Zarko Durisic. Four NBA guys. Three first-round draft picks (Dreiling went in the second after transferring to Kansas). Two McDonald’s All-Americans. One NBA Director of Player Personnel.
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Dave Stallworth, Dave Leach, Nate Bowman. Reserves: Jamie Thompson, Vernon Smith, Melvin Reed. Stallworth is WSU’s best. Bowman was a first-round NBA Draft pick. Leach added outside shooting. Thompson and Reed later starred in starting roles. Unfortunately, this group didn’t play a full season together. Stallworth’s eligibility ran out after 16 games. Academics sidelined Bowman after 14. Those who remained finished 21-9 and went to the Final Four.Dave Stallworth3. 1963-64
Stallworth, Bowman, Leach. The Shockers went 23-6, won the MVC and played in the NCAA Tournament. That team played a loaded non-conference schedule, not to mention the Valley toughies, and might own the most impressive regular-season in program history.
Carr, Levingston, Ozell Jones. Reserve: Jackson, Mike Jones. Jones joined Carr and Levingston in the NBA. Jackson did the dirty work and Jones gave the group a shooter.
Carr, McDaniel, Durisic. Reserves: Karl Papke, Gilbert Wilburn. Carr and McDaniel didn’t need much help. The Shockers went 25-3, 17-1 in the MVC.
Sam Smith, Jerry Kittiko, Wayne Durham, Gene Wiley, Stallworth. Stallworth joined the group for the second semester and averaged 19.8 points. Wiley, a future NBA player, recorded four triple-doubles (points, blocks, rebounds) that season.
Stallworth, Durham, Bowman. Reserves: Kittiko, Leach. Stallworth and Bowman team up to lead the Shockers to the NIT.
Cheese Johnson, Bob Elmore, Robert Gray. Reserves: Neil Strom, Doug Yoder. Johnson averaged 11.2 points and 6.9 rebounds to earn MVC Newcomer of the Year. Elmore led WSU in rebounds with an 11.9 average and grabbed All-MVC honors. Gray led the team in scoring (13.3 points) on his way to second team All-MVC. That group got the Shockers back in the NCAA Tournament.Paul Miller9. 2005-06
Paul Miller, Kyle Wilson, P.J. Couisnard. Reserves: Ryan Martin. The Shockers went to the Sweet 16 with Miller earning MVC Player of the Year honors. Wilson’s shooting made him a perfect fit with Miller, and Couisnard added defense and slashing to the rim. Martin, only 6-5, gave WSU a good defender and rebounder.
Thompson, Reed, Warren Armstrong. Small, but talented enough to carry WSU to the NIT. Reed played center at 6-5 and averaged 13.3 points. Thompson averaged 22 points. Armstrong averaged 16.5 points, 11.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists as a sophomore, starting his career as one of WSU’s greats.