As a junior, Park Hill (Mo.) guard Landry Shamet entered the season with little recruiting attention.
That changed in one dramatic December night. He scored 19 points and beat Blue Springs (Mo.) South with a three-pointer. His play against Kevin Puryear, a forward with a reputation, impressed the right people.
“I had five phone calls the next day,” Shamet said. “It went from no attention to almost everything I have now.”
Shamet, a 6-foot-4 senior, visited Wichita State last week to watch practice, watch film and tour the campus. He came to two games last season and lists WSU among his top three choices, with Kansas State and Colorado. Others — such as Creighton and Missouri — are in the picture. He won’t think about narrowing his list until August, after he recovers from a busy July playing for the Kansas City Pumas.
“I like that (WSU) is up and coming,” Shamet said. “They’ve said to the world that we’re a dominant team in the country. I want to go somewhere and win. I want to play professional basketball. Everything has to combine into making those two things come true.”
Shamet averaged 20.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists for Park Hill, which went 14-14. He earned All-Class 5 honors and honorable mention All-Metro from The Kansas City Star. He grew several inches and improved his athletic ability from sophomore to junior year, bringing about the increase in recruiting interest.
Shamet, according to Park Hill coach David Garrison, can run the team or score in the post. He can guard perimeter players and inside scorers. Shamet describes himself as a combo guard.
“The biggest asset he has is his versatility,” Garrison said. “We can put him at any position and he can thrive. He allows us to put a kid that's very unselfish and a great teammate and put him anywhere on the floor.”
Garrison is as impressed with what Shamet does off the court — in school, the weight room and the locker room — as he is on the court. He said Shamet carries a 3.5 grade-point average and is the type who will take 1,000 jump shots a day when a coach suggests 500 will do.
“I'm a leader,” Shamet said. “Guys gravitate toward me. I take such pride in playing with good guys and having guys that like to play with me too.”
“The (power five) conferences want a bigger piece of the pie and to legislate rules and it will be interesting to see how it plays out,” WSU basketball coach Gregg Marshall said on last week’s coaches conference call. “I don't think they'll do anything to cause the NCAA Tournament to go away, but something short of that might be possible.”
The instinct of the coaches is to compete. MVC coaches expect their schools to do their best to keep up with schools in the Big 10, Big 12 and others.
“I want to be on that side of the line with those leagues in terms of what we can do for our student-athletes, what we can do for our programs,” Loyola coach Porter Moser. “We want to reach for that level. I know the Valley feels that way. We’ve got work to do.”
“The opportunity to get high-quality home games is hard for everybody in our league,” Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson said.
MVC coaches are forced to use other ways to strengthen their schedule. All MVC teams are strongly encouraged to participate in a tournament, a good way to face good competition on a neutral court. Bradley will play at Kansas State and at Memphis (with no return) this season. Missouri State played at Louisville last season and travels to Texas Tech this season. Some coaches are open to two-for-one series or a series that includes a neutral-court game that favors the other team (such as WSU did playing LSU in Bossier City, La., in 2010).
“We’re really open to all options,” Missouri State coach Paul Lusk said. “We're going to Texas Tech for a guarantee. We would be open to the neutral deal with BCS schools. We're even open to the two-for-ones.”
WSU, thanks to its recent success, is in a different spot. Marshall won’t go on the road for a check and doesn’t have to go that route. WSU’s schedule is strong, with series against Alabama, Saint Louis, Tulsa and Seton Hall in progress and a neutral-floor game against Memphis. The Shockers go to the best holiday tournaments, because their fans travel.
Questions about playing Kansas and Kansas State won’t go away and Marshall addressed them again during the conference call. Offers of playing at Kansas City’s Sprint Center as part of the series and to play at Intrust Bank Arena, instead of Koch Arena, aren’t swaying hearts or minds.
In short, nothing’s changed over the past decade (WSU last played Kansas State in 2004) and it doesn’t appear likely to change.
“Those guys aren’t really receptive to playing anywhere,” Marshall said. “Those games probably aren't going to happen. I don't know why, but they're not. That's their choice and they have that choice.”
Guard Gal Mekel (Dallas) and forward Nick Wiggins (Golden State) are on rosters. Rookie Cleanthony Early, drafted Thursday by the New York Knicks, should play. Toure Murry, should he sign for a second season with the Knicks, should join him. Murry could also play for another team should it make the free agent an offer.
The Vegas league begins July 11.
Taylor, running for Northern Arizona Elite, ran a time of 15 minutes, 25.63 seconds.
She ran at WSU from 2007-2009 and holds WSU’s indoor record in the mile and outdoor records in the 800 and 1,500.