College of Charleston should present a challenge for Wichita State in Monday night’s basketball game at Koch Arena — the Cougars return all five starters from last season’s 25-win team, are ranked No. 77 in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, and are the pick to win the Colonial Athletic Association.
Making it even more challenging for Wichita State, however, is the familiarity Charleston coach Earl Grant and director of basketball operations Matt Braeuer have with WSU. Grant was an assistant to Gregg Marshall for six years, including three at WSU, and Braeuer is a former player and graduate assistant for Marshall.
“There’s no doubt they’re going to have us scouted very well,” Marshall said. “We’re not going to trick them. We’re not going to fool them. We’re just going to have to out-perform them.”
Grant and Braeuer downplay the advantage of their prior knowledge of Marshall’s system. Braeuer left in 2008 and Grant in 2010.
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This version of Wichita State, ranked No. 7 in the AP poll, might be Marshall’s most dangerous offensive team yet. The Shockers looked explosive Friday in their 109-57 season-opening win over Missouri-Kansas City.
“There are some similarities there,” Grant said. “Gregg has done a great job building that program for 11 years and he has it going right now. We’re going to have to be very sound on Monday on both ends of the floor.”
While Grant is running his own sets at Charleston, he has been heavily influenced by former Charleston coach and Hall of Famer John Kresse.
Kresse was the coach who gave Marshall his first shot as a Division I assistant in 1988. Marshall served on Kresse’s staff at Charleston from 1988-96. He says he still uses some of the sets from Kresse used back in those Charleston days.
“The beautiful thing is I’m still running a lot of his stuff and I know Earl is still running Coach Kresse’s stuff,” Marshall said. “It kind of comes full circle on Monday.”
Marshall said he isn’t sure if Kresse will be attendance at Koch Arena on Monday, but he knows he’ll be watching from his home in Charleston. The two still correspondent; Marshall said he talked with his mentor after the news of the federal investigation sweeping college basketball broke.
“I called him and I told him I really appreciated him and how he taught me to be a coach and taught me to do it with integrity,” Marshall said. “I spent eight great years there for Coach Kresse and we won a lot of games and he taught me how to do things the right way and how to handle running a basketball program from A to Z.”
Grant said he considers Kresse and Marshall to be mentors. Grant said he learned just as much away from the court as he did on it from Marshall.
“He was a great example of how to be a good father and a good husband,” Grant said. “Now I’ve got three sons and a wife and I remember watching Gregg and how he had that great balance. He put in a lot of work with his players and the program, but you also saw him with his wife and his kids.”
Charleston at No. 7 WSU
- When: 8 p.m. Monday
- Where: Koch Arena
- TV: CBS Sports Network
- Radio: 103.7-FM
- Records: CC 1-0, WSU 1-0