Wichita State sophomore point guard Landry Shamet is expected to play in Friday’s season-opener against Missouri-Kansas City at Koch Arena.
WSU coach Gregg Marshall said that barring a setback, Shamet will make his regular-season debut in the opener after playing 12 minutes in Monday’s 113-55 exhibition victory over Newman. The sophomore is recovering from offseason surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot.
“We’ll have to see how practice goes (Thursday), but I anticipate Landry will play,” Marshall said. “More than likely he would come off the bench, but we’re not 100 percent sure on that either.”
In Monday’s exhibition, Shamet was the first guard substitution. Conner Frankamp and Samajae Haynes-Jones were the starting backcout and handled the point guard duties. It would be likely Marshall follows a similar substitution pattern, although Shamet’s 12-minute cap from Monday would be increased.
The goal is to make sure Shamet, who complained of ankle soreness last week, doesn’t suffer any setbacks by playing in two games in four days. On Monday, the Shockers play College of Charleston, a top-50 opponent according to Ken Pomeroy’s preseason rankings.
The next important landmark in Wichita State’s non-conference slate is the Maui Invitational, playing three straight games Nov. 20-22.
But before Marshall can worry about the future, he wants to make sure Wichita State takes care of the present.
“I want us to win and I want us to win handily,” Marshall said. “In a fashion that looks like we’re a well-schooled team and we’re ready to compete at a high level.”
In a non-conference slate that Marshall is calling the most difficult in his time at WSU, UMKC doesn’t pose the threat that Charleston and a trio of Big 12 opponents on the schedule do.
The Kangaroos lost all five starters from last season’s team that finished 18-17 and No. 219 in Pomeroy’s final rankings. UMKC is rated No. 308 in the country by Pomeroy entering this season.
UMKC coach Kareem Richardson is a former assistant at Louisville and has incorporated Louisville’s run-and-jump defense in Kansas City. Last season, possessions by UMKC’s opponents only lasted 15.8 seconds, the second-shortest average in the country.
“A lot of our defensive philosophy comes from my time with coach (Rick) Pitino at Louisville,” Richardson said. “We really like to press and try to create turnovers and try to win the possession battle that way. We really try to make the other team uncomfortable. But we know Wichita State takes good care of the ball, so it’s going to be really hard to turn those guys over.”
WSU assistant Isaac Brown, who is in charge of the UMKC scouting report, said seeing an opponent like this to begin the season can be beneficial to Wichita State.
“They’re going to play that same running and jumping and pressing style of play,” Brown said. “The first exhibition we had 18 turnovers, which is something we’ve got to work on.
“We need to play against teams that are playing that style and using their athleticism. In the Valley, no teams really ever pressured us. It was more halfcourt stuff. But as you move up in conferences, teams are going to play more aggressively and try to use their athletic ability a lot more.”
Marshall said he does not expect sophomore CJ Keyser, who sat out both exhibition games, to be in uniform for Friday’s game. Keyser sat on the bench in street clothes in both games.
WSU released a statement before last Saturday’s game that Keyser “has personal issues that need to be resolved before he can participate.” There has been no timeline given when WSU expects the issue to be resolved.