Wichita State’s men’s basketball team landed commitments from Tekele (Tuh-kell) Cotton, a combo guard from Atlanta’s Whitefield Academy, and forward Jake White from Chaska, Minn., last week. Add them to Heights guard Evan Wessel, a shooting guard/small forward, and the Shockers own three commitments with one scholarship scheduled to be open with the scheduled departures of seniors Graham Hatch, J.T. Durley, Gabe Blair and Aaron Ellis.
Chaska coach Dana Kallman said White came to Wichita for his official visit on Thursday leaning toward WSU. The visit went well and, as planned, he committed to WSU on Friday. I’m going to call White a “stretch 4″ like they do in the NBA. Kallman thinks he can play the 3 or the 4. He is 6-foot-7, 210 pounds (although I think he looks bigger on YouTube). Kallman said he made 38 percent of his threes last season and is an accurate mid-range shooter. White might not be able to post up some power forwards in college, but he appears able to score from the outside and give WSU another weapon who can stretch the defense to the three-point line.Whitefield Academy coach Tyrone Johnson raves about the WSU program in general (loves the coaches, loves the facilities and loves the fan support) and assistant coach Chad Dollar in particular. Dollar (not to mention Gregg Marshall) should keep the Shockers strong recruiting in the South. Dollar, a native of Atlanta and son of a well-known high school coach, is connected. Johnson said Dollar possesses a good eye for player and he doesn’t allow reputation – schools that are or aren’t recruiting a player – to cloud his vision. “A lot of coaches can’t evaluate talent,” Johnson said. “Chad has an uncanny ability. He’s going to be able to out-recruit people, even from bigger schools.”Where do the Shockers go from here? Good question. They are in the enviable position of doing almost anything they want. A big man seems to be the likely target and the biggest area of need for 2011-12 and beyond. Could that change? Perhaps. Aaron Ellis could redshirt. It’s been discussed, although I don’t know how seriously. It’s a move that wouldn’t be decided until well into practice. The progress of Ehimen Orukpe and Jerome Hamilton could play a role in the decision. If the coaches think they are progressing quickly enough to be rotation players in 2011-12, the need for big men isn’t as crucial ( if Ellis redshirts). Then there’s always the possibility of another scholarship opening up. Regardless of how it shakes out, I would think Marshall is in his office, looking at his whiteboard, smiling, and thinking he can be patient and take a potential star at small forward if he is willing to sign in November, or look for a big man.While I’m speculating, another player who might want to consider redshirting is junior David Kyles. A redshirt season would separate him from classmate Toure Murry at shooting guard. The Shockers are stocked at shooting guard-small forward with Murry, Hatch, newcomer Ben Smith and Tyler Richardson. Demetric Williams is capable of playing shooting guard. In 2011-12, Hatch is gone, theoretically moving Kyles up in the rotation. For his senior season of 2012-13, Smith and Murry would depart, leaving Kyles WSU’s most experienced big guard. It would also give WSU a veteran at a spot where players such as Richardson are going to have a hard time earning minutes the next two seasons.