Wichita State basketball coach Gregg Marshall knows the future of one of his absent recruits. The future of the second remains up in the air.
Center Henry Uwadiae, from Nigeria, will attend junior college. Uwadiae, 6-foot-10, attended the Evelyn Mack Academy in Charlotte, N.C. last school year. He is expected to attend Kirkwood (Iowa) Community College, a school with connections to the WSU coaching staff. Uwadiae must attend junior college for two years and graduate in order to play NCAA Division I basketball. The earliest he could sign a letter of intent is November 2013.
“The NCAA Clearinghouse ruled him a non-qualifier, and he’s going to be at a junior college,” Marshall said. “We’re trying to solidify that.”
WSU associate head coach Chris Jans coached two seasons at Kirkwood, where he won the NJCAA Division II title in 1998. Jans coached WSU assistant coach Greg Heiar at Kirkwood. Jans and Kirkwood coach Doug Wagemester played together at Loras (Iowa) College.
Two seasons in junior college may benefit Uwadiae, who is regarded as a project. He grew up playing volleyball and did not start with basketball until 14.
WSU is working on the eligibility of Teddy Hawkins, a 6-foot-8 forward from Dayton (Ohio) Dunbar. Hawkins and Uwadiae are the only Shockers not to be on campus this summer for classes and practices. When Hawkins signed in November, Shocker coaches knew he had work to do academically to qualify.
“It’s very complicated,” Marshall said. “There are a lot of hurdles. It’s a long, drawn-out ordeal, and I really can’t get into too many specifics. He is still in there fighting. He and his mom have been great, communicating with us.”
WSU has the NCAA limit of 13 players on scholarship, plus walk-on Joe Mitchell. If a scholarship is not available at WSU, Hawkins could pay his own way to school, or attend a prep school, where he would not lose a season of eligibility and could sign with WSU again in November. He could also attend junior college. Marshall declined to discuss possible scenarios for Hawkins, who was ranked a three-star prospect by Rivals.com.
“I’m not going to speculate on it until there’s a definitive ruling,” Marshall said.
All the dates — Marshall is pleased with his non-conference schedule, finalized on Tuesday with the announcement of a game against Southern Mississippi on Dec. 22 at Intrust Bank Arena.
WSU also plays at Virginia Commonwealth, Air Force and Tennessee and plays Tulsa at Koch Arena. The Cancun Challenge matches the Shockers against DePaul and either Iowa or Western Kentucky in Mexico.
“We’ve team from high-major conferences like DePaul and Tennessee and, possibly, Iowa, so we’ve got those opportunities,” he said. “Then we’ve got teams, not from BCS conferences, but teams that are from very good programs and very good leagues that have accomplished things, such as Southern Miss.”
WSU was close to getting Alabama to come to Intrust Bank Arena. When that deal fell through, it looked as if it may forgo the downtown game. Marshall was happy to get Southern Miss, an NCAA Tournament team last season, to fill that spot.
“We want to play at least one game there, so we can use it in recruiting,” he said. “About 26,000 people watched us the last two years there, and we’re 2-0.”
The game will be promoted by Russ Potts Productions, the same company that organized last season’s game against UAB, and tickets will not be a part of WSU’s season-ticket package. Season-ticket holders will get first shot at tickets, as they did last season. Prices will start at $17 and tickets will go on sale in October.
Southern Miss will receive a guarantee for making the trip to Wichita. WSU can earn money depending on the amount of tickets sold. Last year, both UAB and WSU received a guarantee check of $125,000. That game drew 11,204 fans to Intrust Bank Arena.
Worth noting — The Shockers practiced for a final time this summer on Tuesday afternoon. Most players will go home until classes start next month. . . Guard Ron Baker missed most of July after having his appendix removed. He is cleared for non-contact work and competed in shooting drills. . .Forward Evan Wessel also missed some practices with a knee injury, although he practiced on Tuesday while wearing a brace.