Wichita State freshman Jake White, still in his uniform shorts, went to the practice gym for extra shooting after Saturday’s game.
Great idea. Bad timing. Not one basket was available in all of Koch Arena. All of the baskets in the practice gym were raised to the ceiling. The stage for graduation ceremonies occupied the main arena floor.
White usually has no problem finding open rims. With a manager rebounding and passing and hip hop music by Drake as background noise, he said he takes hundreds of extra shots after practices.
“Every day, I’m shooting,” he said. “I hardly ever go out. I stay away from the parties. I started doing this senior year in high school, putting in a lot of extra time, and it showed up on the court.”
WSU (7-2) is entering a period where players such as White and junior James Anacreon can make a move for more playing time. The Shockers play Chicago State (0-9) tonight and NCAA Division II Newman on Monday. Then there is lots of practice time before the Missouri Valley Conference opener at Bradley on Dec. 28.
WSU coach Gregg Marshall is pleased with the nine-man rotation and its five-game win streak. He is always open to more depth. Freshman guard Evan Wessel is in a tough spot behind four seniors and a junior for playing time in the backcourt. It is more likely White or Anacreon could add to the frontcourt.
“One of them is going to get the call, first, in these next couple of games,” Marshall said. “You’re trying to get minutes, and you want to be that first guy to get that opportunity, not the second guy.”
With two weak opponents on tap, White and Anacreon will likely get a chance to show Marshall they can perform. White, a 6-foot-6 forward from Chaska, Minn., has played in five games. Anacreon, a 6-foot-7 forward from Lake Land (Ill.) Community College, has played in three.
“I have to earn his trust,” White said.
White is a good shooter who needs to get stronger so he can defend and rebound against bigger players. Both players need to improve their perimeter defense so they can guard forwards who are capable of driving to the basket. Marshall describes Anacreon as a slasher.
“He’s got to figure out a way to score,” Marshall said. “The best thing he does is offensive rebound, and he’s got to continue to get in better shape to utilize what should be his strength, his quickness and speed.”
Regardless of how much he plays, White plans to be in the gym. His routine is to make 10 shots from five different spots inside the three-point arc and 50 from three-point range. Then he works on pick-and- pops, catching and shooting and other drills.
Then he repeats that routine, all with what he describes as laidback hip hop playing.
“It’s my way to get away from the craziness of practice,” he said. “My whole life is all intense, so that’s why I prefer that (music).”
While WSU should handle its next two opponents without much drama, Marshall has points he wants to make. The Shockers gave up 56 points in the second half of Saturday’s 83-76 win over Utah State. The Shockers — with point guard Joe Ragland a notable exception — relaxed and allowed the Aggies easy avenues to the basket in the second half.
“It played right into our hands as far as coaching them this week,” he said. “You’ve got to perform. The video (of the second half) . . . makes my job pretty easy. People are going to be called out. The eye in the sky doesn’t lie.”
CHICAGO STATE AT WICHITA STATE
Pos. Chicago St. (0-9) Ht. Yr. Pts. Reb. F Lee Fisher 6-5 Sr. 12.2 7.1 F Jeremy Robinson 6-9 Jr. 14.6 6.0 C Quincy Ukaigwe 6-19 Jr. 0.6 1.6 G Ardarius Simmons 5-10 Sr. 5.4 x-2.4 G Matt Samuels 6-0 Jr. 11.7 2.4
Wichita State (7-2) F Carl Hall 6-8 Jr. 9.7 5.9 C Garrett Stutz 7-0 Sr. 10.3 7.1 G David Kyles 6-3 Sr. 10.8 4.7 G Toure Murry 6-4 Sr. 13.6 5.0 G Joe Ragland 6-0 Sr. 12.6 x-3.1 x-assists
Chicago State: The Cougars are playing their eighth road game. They lost at Iowa (96-53), Creighton (95-61), Southern Illinois (73-57) and Illinois State (85-41). In their most recent game, the Cougars outre-bounded DePaul 49-38 and shot 50.7 percent from the field in a 102-95 loss. . . . CSU averages 20.3 turnovers and 10.6 assists a game. F Aaron Williams, who has started two games, came off the bench to score 15 against DePaul. Williams, from Chicago, played at Dodge City Community College.
Wichita State: The Shockers don’t want to slip during this stretch of games. “We’re staying in the gym, and being confident in our abilities,” Kyles said. “There are a lot of ways we can beat teams, but we’re finding our groove.” . . . Kyles and Joe Ragland were two of the Shockers taking extra shooting practice before Tuesday’s workout. Ragland has impressed coach Gregg Marshall in recent games with his shooting, defense and passing. He is averaging 19 points while making 24 of 37 shots and 15 of 21 three-pointers in the past four games. He has 31 assists and five turnovers in those games. . . . This is the second game of a two-season contract with CSU. WSU defeated the Cougars 91-51 last season with Kyles scoring 15 points.