Marcus Marshall won’t get another shot at Wichita State, at least in a Missouri State uniform. The Missouri Valley Conference’s second-leading scorer is looking for a new school.
He no longer plays for the Bears after Friday’s announcement that player and coach Paul Lusk reached a “mutual decision” to part ways, according to the Springfield News-Leader. On Wednesday, Lusk suspended Marshall for a game for conduct detrimental to the team. That followed what the News-Leader described as a verbal altercation between the two at Wednesday’s pre-game practice after Lusk removed Marshall from the starting lineup.
“We both mutually decided he wants to look for other opportunities,” Lusk told the News-Leader. “We'll grant him his release at the end of the semester if he's in good academic standing.”
The 13th-ranked Shockers play at Missouri State on Wednesday, their return to JQH Arena after last season’s Jan. 11 landmark rally.
Marshall, a 6-foot-3 junior guard, injured his knee in last season’s overtime loss to the Shockers at JQH Arena. The injury ended his season and set up a year of “what-if” for the Valley team that came the closest to ending WSU’s unbeaten regular-season. The Bears led WSU by 18 points at halftime and 54-35 with 11:48 remaining. Marshall tore the meniscus in his right knee with about six minutes remaining and played the rest of the way in WSU’s 72-69 win.
The Bears, 12-4 after the loss, finished the season 20-13. Marshall’s return pushed preseason hopes and voters ranked MSU third in the Valley’s preseason poll. He earned MVC Freshman of the Year honors in 2013 and averaged 14.3 points as a sophomore before the injury. This season, he started 13 games and averaged 19.5 points, making 45.6 percent of his shots and 45.6 percent of his three-pointers.
No other Bear averages double figures and they look like a good bet to join Drake, Southern Illinois and Bradley on Thursday’s play-in games at the MVC Tournament. Lusk also regarded Marshall, when playing well, as his team’s best perimeter defender.
“Marcus is a good kid who is trying to find his way and we wish him the best,” Lusk told the News-Leader. “I think the one thing you constantly have to think about, if a guy is not committed to truly being here, not just for this season but the long haul, it affects everything.”
Another challenge — The MVC’s series with teams from the Mountain West Conference may resume, according to a story in the Terre Haute Tribune-Star.
“We're working hard to get it done,” MVC commissioner Doug Elgin told the Tribune-Star. “I think we'll get there.”
The conferences played a four-season series from 2009-12, although it lacked the cohesion of more prominent conference series. There was no comprehensive TV package. MVC coaches liked the series because it helped scheduling by locking in good non-conference opponents and included home games.
The series would likely resume in 2015-16, although Elgin said it may be delayed if schedules aren’t set within the next month.
The Mountain West won the four-year standings 22-13. The MVC won the 2009 series 5-4 and lost the remaining three.
Wichita State went 3-1, losing to San Diego State and defeating TCU, UNLV and Air Force.
Gregg Marshall for charity — WSU coach Gregg Marshall’s family history makes him fond of the Wichita Children’s Home when it comes to charity work.
The Children’s Home, founded in 1888 as the city’s first orphanage, offers emergency, temporary residential care for homeless children and children who may be at risk in their homes due to abuse and neglect. His mother spent time in a similar home in Greenwood, S.C. and that connection led Marshall to choose the Wichita Children’s Home for the Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge.
Last year, Marshall won $15,000 for the Children’s Home by finishing as one of four finalists. Entering Saturday, he ranked third among the 48 coaches competing.
“If we can help make their life a little easier by showing them some love and compassion, and hopefully winning $100,000 for the Children’s Home, that’s what we need to do,” he said.
Fans can vote for their favorite coach or charity at www.espn.com/infiniti. The contest starts with 48 coaches and runs for 10 weeks. The first round of voting ends Jan. 25. Each coach earns at least $1,000 and the winning coach earns $100,000.
Former WSU coach Mark Turgeon and former assistants Tad Boyle are also participants, as are Kansas coach Bill Self and Kansas State coach Bruce Weber.