Wichita State forward Darius Carter finished his junior season scoring double figures in six of his final 10 regular-season basketball games and making 62 percent of his shots.
Those numbers show what the Shockers need from Carter, now a senior, in the upcoming season. He is WSU’s most experienced big man — really the only experienced big man. It is encouraging for his summer to include a stop at June’s Nike Skills Academy for big men, alongside such players as Kansas’ Perry Ellis, in New Jersey. In August, Carter (6-foot-7) will play for Athletes in Action on a tour of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
Carter sees those experiences as ideal preparation for a larger role this season. He averaged 7.9 points and 4.5 rebounds for WSU last season, playing 18.2 minutes a game.
“I’ll come back and I won’t lose a step,” he said. “It was good exposure, good players out there. We got to play in front of scouts and show how we play with people we don’t necessarily know.”
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WSU junior guard Fred VanVleet played with Carter at the Nike camp. As expected, he sees a player who is more confident and assertive. VanVleet watched former Shockers Carl Hall and Cleanthony Early improve as seniors, after transferring from junior colleges, and sees a similar path available for Carter.
“It’s a lot of fun to watch him grow,” VanVleet said. “That second year for juco guys can be a pretty special year. Hopefully, he can have that same jump.”
Carter said his time at the Nike camp showed him improvement is needed on his mid-range jump shot and consistently playing hard.
“I need to keep a high motor the whole time, rebound, crash the boards,” he said.
Carter must do that, and for 25 to 30 minutes a game, for the Shockers to continue their run of success. He is likely to be joined in the front court by junior transfers Tevin Glass and Bush Wamukota, redshirt freshman Shaq Morris and freshmen Rauno Nurger and Rashard Kelly. None has played a minute of NCAA Division I basketball.
“He’s going to be a focal point inside,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. “He just needs to continue to work and get himself in great shape. He’s not revved as much as some guys we’ve had. He can still make a stride or two there.”
Shockers on track — Former Shocker Austin Bahner will compete in the Thorpe Cup for a second time.
This week’s multi-event dual meet between the United States and Germany takes place Saturday and Sunday in Marburg, Germany. Last summer in Chula Vista, Calif., Bahner finished seventh with 7,051 points.
In late June, Bahner finished seventh in the USA Track and Field Senior Championships with 7,512 points.
Kord Ferguson, an incoming freshman, travels to Eugene, Ore., this week for the IAAF World Junior Championships. Ferguson won the discus with a throw of 201 feet in the USA Track and Field Junior Championships in Eugene earlier this month.
Ferguson, from Ottawa, set Class 4A meet records in the discus (206 feet, 2 inches) and shot put (64-7 1/2) at Cessna Stadium as a senior.
Last week, WSU coach Steve Rainbolt coached the men’s United States team in the Pan American Combined Events Cup in Ottawa, Ontario.
Kansas State’s Devin Dick, with 7,133 points, finished sixth in the decathlon as the top American. Cuba placed first, followed by Canada and the United States.
All-Star selection — WSU outfielder Daniel Kihle will play in the Cape Cod League All-Star game on July 27 in Bourne, Mass.
Kihle entered Saturday’s action with four home runs in the wood-bat league, part of a six-way tie for second behind two players with five. He is hitting .255 with 18 RBI, five doubles and seven steals in 30 games.
Kihle, a junior-to-be who played at Andale High, hit .313 with three home runs for WSU last season.
Former Shocker Casey Gillaspie led the Cape Cod League in home runs, with eight, last season.
Worth noting — The annual Volleyball 101 dinner is Aug. 23 at Koch Arena’s practice gym. Cost is $40. For information call (316) 978-3267.… WSU’s women’s tennis team earned all-academic honors from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and Veronika Blaskova, Montse Blasco Fernandez and Rebecca Pedrazzi were named ITA scholar-athletes. Tomislav Gregurovic and Guillermo Nicol were named men’s scholar-athletes. … Missouri hired former WSU cross country coach Marc Burns. Burns coached at Bradley since 2010. He coached at WSU from 2006-10 and won four Missouri Valley Conference women’s titles. … WSU golfer Taryn Torgerson, from Buhler, finished third in the Kansas Women’s Amateur last week, earning low junior honors with a 228 at Colbert Hills in Manhattan.