Ever since Eisenhower High junior Trevon Evans attended a Wichita State basketball game as a seventh-grader, he’s been an avid follower of the Shockers.
“It’s their fans and how they get into it,” said Evans, a 6-foot junior All-State selection. “It’s how they play, how much swagger they have on the court, how Coach (Gregg Marshall) runs the team. I like everything about it.”
Evans has been to most of Wichita State’s home games this season, invited by assistant coach Chris Jans when there are tickets available. He met Marshall after one game.
And now that Wichita State is in the Final Four, has his interest in playing for the Shockers suddenly skyrocketed?
Not for Evans. He liked this program before the Shockers took over college basketball’s conversation and well before Saturday’s date with Louisville at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.
“There are probably a lot out there, though, that never really thought about Wichita State,” said Evans, who is getting interest from Wichita State, Creighton, Tulsa, Pepperdine, Clemson and Kansas State. “But now that they’re in the Final Four and they see how good they are first hand, it’s ‘Man, I should go there.’ ”
Shawnee Mission South sophomore Dainan Swoope, a 6-1 guard who has received interest from Wyoming, was a second-team All-Class 5A player. He averaged 14.4 points and helped lead SM South to the 5A title last month.
He wants to play Division I basketball and has expressed interest in playing at Syracuse. As for Wichita State?
“I never really looked into them at all,” he said. “But I like what they are doing now.”
The Shockers’ four wins in the NCAA Tournament have given people across the country an inside look into their style of play and the type of coach Marshall is.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt it tremendously increases the Shockers’ profile,” Lawrence Free State coach Chuck Law said. “With Wichita State, what will be most impressive to kids is how they play. A kid wants to go someplace where there’s a coach, like Coach Marshall, who is into it. They play with so much passion.
“A high school kid looking to play somewhere for four years, (the Shockers) get after it on defense, share the ball on offense. To me, it seems like that more than anything will improve the profile.”
Free State junior Khadre Lane has made two unpaid recruiting visits to Wichita State, including the game against Drake. Lane, a 6-4 junior, who averaged 13.4 points, led Free State to the 6A tournament.
“I liked it a lot,” he said of the Shockers. “They made me feel like I was at home. It was a family.”
Sunrise Christian Academy forward Marvin Clark’s first scholarship offer came shortly before he started school in the fall. And it was from Wichita State.
“I was intrigued,” said Clark, who is 6-7, 220 pounds and has been reclassified as a junior. “It was my first offer…. They seen something in me that no one else did. That will always be up on top of my list.”
Clark has been getting interest from Oregon, Iowa, Oklahoma, Missouri State and Arkansas
No postseason run, or lack thereof, will change the positive way Lane or Clark looks at the Shockers.
“It brings more national attention, but it didn’t change my perception because I already liked them,” Lane said. “I try not to look at how the players are doing but at the coaching staff, the campus, the program as a whole. (Advancing to the Final Four) would sway me a little bit, but not much.”