Their legs may be a little heavy on Saturday night, but Wichita State basketball players don't want the fans to see it in their Shocker Madness performance.
"The fans are the reason why we were 25-10 last year," WSU senior Gabe Blair said. "So we want to show them what we're bringing to the table and show them that we've got an even better team this year and we want you continue to show up and sell out this season."
Shocker Madness, WSU's annual tip-off for the basketball season, begins at 3:30 p.m. with the Shock Cancer Walk. The volleyball team plays Evansville at 5 p.m. The basketball is scheduled to start at 7 p.m., and will include 15-minute scrimmages by the men's and women's team, a three-point shooting competition and a dunk contest.
The WSU women started practices on Oct. 4. The men start Friday night and will also practice Saturday morning.
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WSU coach Gregg Marshall has been working with the Shockers, in small groups and as a team, in one-hour sessions this fall. He is eager to have more time to teach.
"We'll finally be able to go as long as we need to, as opposed to just an hour," Marshall said. "We're working hard, maybe trying a little too much. There's going to be a lot of competition for minutes and we need to slow down. We'll be able to slow down as coaches because we're not under that constraint of being done in an hour."
A ticket is needed for the volleyball match. Admission to the basketball portion of the event is free after the second set of the volleyball match. Basketball players will sign autographs before the women's scrimmage.
The Shock Cancer Walk is a two-mile walk through campus to raise money for cancer research. Marshall and women's coach Jody Adams will walk.
Marshall said redshirt freshman forward Jerome Hamilton is slowed by an ankle sprain and is not expected to practice.
"It's getting better, but it's been a couple weeks now," Marshall said.
Walk-on Josh Walker, a forward from Derby, is out with a toe injury.
In the park — WSU ended fall baseball practice on Wednesday afternoon, allowing coach Gene Stephenson an accounting of the new bats.
WSU played eight scrimmages with the old bats and hit 17 home runs. The Shockers finished the fall with new bats mandated by the NCAA and hit four homers in the final 14 scrimmages.
The new bats will perform more like wood. The NCAA reduced the speed that the ball comes off the bat as a response to composite bats judged too bouncy to be safe.
Time to go — The championship season is close for the WSU cross country teams.
The Shockers travel to NCAA Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday. It is their final preparation before the Missouri Valley Conference Championships, held Oct. 30 in Augusta.