* Good for Gregg Marshall, who Wednesday made it a point to call out Wichita State’s front line – or at least a couple of members of the front line – during a news conference.
Marshall cited a story about the Michigan State basketball team, in which Spartans coach Tom Izzo was critical of his team’s toughness and desire up front. Marshall read from the story, emphasizing Izzo’s quotes and implying that they were applicable to some of his players.
The Shockers haven’t been great yet this season. Good, but not great. And I think this team has the elements to be great sometimes. Durley can shoot, he needs to rebound It starts on the front line, where only senior Gabe Blair has approached his potential. Blair is averaging a team-high 5.3 rebounds in just more than 16 minutes of playing time per game.
If you think 5.3 rebounds is a pretty low number to be leading a team, you’re right. And I’ll guarantee you it’s a number Marshall isn’t happy with.
Senior J.T. Durley, for instance, is averaging 11.9 points per game, but only 2.9 rebounds. That’s unacceptable for a 6-foot-8 player, especially one with Durley’s experience. He has to mix it up more. He has to attack.
The same is true for 7-foot junior Garrett Stutz, who finished last season strongly and looked to be primed for a breakout junior year. The breakout hasn’t happened; Stutz is averaging only 5.0 points and 3.6 rebounds. It was reasonable, I think, to expect those numbers to be somewhere close to 12 points and 8 rebounds, wasn’t it? Is that outlandish?
I don’t think so.
The Shockers, who play Nicholls State tomorrow night at Koch Arena, still have time to become great. But because of the lackluster play of a couple of their most important big men, they’re not there yet.
* How can the NFL make such a big deal about the danger of head injuries and then be so adamant about a new collective bargaining agreement hinging on the players giving the OK to an 18-game regular season, up from 16?
It’s a great question and I’ve not seen a logical answer. The answer, of course, is revenue, but nobody is coming out and saying so.
You can’t have it both ways, can you?
Look at the number of injuries in this league from week to week. It’s amazing how many of these guys get seriously hurt. Yet the NFL wants two more games?
It seems outlandish to me. Almost criminal. But, as we know, money is the root of all evil.
A sports writer’s memories
In the early days of my Wichita Eagle career, there was also the Wichita Beacon. It was the afternoon paper until 1980, when it folded. But for my first five-plus years The Beacon was viable. For you old-timers, it was famous for its Peach section, geared toward young people and printed on peach-colored newsprint.
As a reporter, I did work for both The Eagle and The Beacon. Which meant that when I covered a weeknight event, I not only had to turn around a story for the morning paper, but also a next-day story for The Beacon. As you can tell, this is one of those “I walked 10 miles to school in the snow” stories.
But it was different.
For instance, I covered the Wichita Aeros for a couple of seasons in the late 1970s. So after being at the ballpark late into the night and filing a story for The Eagle, I’d get up early the next morning and do another story for The Beacon. True, it’s not exactly digging ditches, but finding two stories about the same game wasn’t the easiest thing in the world, either.
The deadline for Beacon stories was around noon, if I remember correctly. But the guys on the desk appreciated it when those second-day stories were finished as early as possible. And I’m nothing if not compliant.