Wichita State's men's basketball players don't take a vow of silence on the court. However, they operate under the knowledge that coach Gregg Marshall enforces a low-tolerance policy for trash talking.
"Coach is pretty fired up himself, so we let our play do most of the talking," senior David Kyles said.
WSU coaches and players saw where smack talk can lead when the Cincinnati-Xavier game ended in a brawl last weekend. That level of hostility doesn't seem to exist in the Missouri Valley Conference, even in rivalries such as Bradley-Illinois State or Creighton-WSU.
"Our coaches and our players have done a great job as far as sportsmanship," MVC coordinator of officials Eddie Jackson said. "We haven't seen much problem with this from our Valley players."
The NCAA rule prohibits trash-talking, taunting and baiting. Any violation, even a word or two muttered quietly, is supposed to result in a Class-A technical foul — unsportsmanlike behavior not deemed flagrant.
That violation results in a personal foul and two free throws for the opposition.
"We've got lot of guys that have some intelligence," WSU senior Garrett Stutz said. "You can be tough and hard-nosed and you don't have to get up in the other guy's face to let him know it."
Coaches can't muzzle players — former Shocker Gabe Blair got a technical foul in last season's Missouri Valley Conference Tournament for something he said. Marshall makes it a clear that talking isn't acceptable, in practices or games.
"The few instances we have had where guys went over the line, Coach has no problem calling them out on it or correcting it," Stutz said. "He doesn't allow it to go on."
When Joe Ragland and Ehimen Orukpe bickered at each other early in fall workouts a year ago, Marshall ended the talk quickly.
"I want positive emotion," Marshall said. "We talk about that there is no place for negative emotion on our team. It starts in practice. It starts with the kind of people you have in your program."
Players get away with chatter if they're sly and pick the time when the referee's attention is diverted. Chatterboxes — such as former Shocker Jamar Howard or former Creighton guard P'Allen Stinnett — are rare.
"They're not perfect, but I think we hold our emotions in check fairly well," Marshall said. "You just nip it in the bud when it happens in practice and do that pretty emphatically and sternly."
Jackson sent out a reminder to his officials after the Cincinnati-Xavier brawl, asking them to review rules for taunting and fighting.
"Sometimes it takes situations like this to remind us there is a rule in place," he said. "It's pretty simple — there is zero tolerance."
Hoops in Mexico — Iowa appears likely to join Wichita State in the Cancun Challenge next November.
"I think it's pretty much done," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery told the Quad-City Times.
Another tournament that makes sense for WSU in the future is the Charleston (S.C.) Classic, another one of the ESPN-sponsored events the Shockers frequently attend. ESPN officials at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off made it clear WSU would be welcome in Charleston.
Not only does WSU enjoy a good relationship with the organizers, it would be a natural for Marshall. He coached at the College of Charleston from 1988-96. Rock Hill, where Marshall coached Winthrop for nine seasons, is around 200 miles from Charleston.
Next season's eight-team field is set. It includes Baylor, Colorado, Boston College and Southern Illinois.
Early entrant — If last week's Shocker Sports Hall of Fame announcement confused you, you're not alone.
Isn't former baseball player Carl Hall already a member?
Not officially, though it looked like it when he received an ovation at midcourt during a basketball game last season.
Hall's candidacy was fast-tracked last year for the benefit of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." The eight-person committee voted him in and he was told of the impending honor at the halftime ceremony in front of cameras.
In January, Hall, who was paralyzed in a car accident in 2010, will go through the ceremony with the rest of the 2012 class — pitcher Mike Pelfrey and distance runner Desiraye Osburn.