We started the season wondering about leadership. Who has emerged as Wichita State’s leaders?
David Gonzalez: Not following the team off the court, it’s hard to say who’s filled Ron (Baker) and Fred’s (VanVleet) leadership roles. On the court, both Daishon Smith and Landry Shamet stand out as the emerging leaders.
Their playing time has to some extent affirmed this with Daishon replacing Conner (Frankamp) as the starting point guard and Landry maintaining his starting role. It also shows that both are adjusting to Coach (Gregg) Marshall’s system well enough to play significant minutes.
Ty Houseman: It looks like Landry is taking on more leadership, and you can see some out of Daishon as well. Obviously replacing the leadership Fred, Ron and Evan (Wessel) provided is a process.
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Bryan Steele: This picture is still fuzzy, as a clear leader has not really emerged. Landry Shamet has certainly become more consistent over recent games, and Zach Brown’s defense certainly sets the tone for the team when they are in the game. Daishon Smith seems like he is becoming more vocal on the floor.
But I don’t yet feel like there is a player that everyone is looking to as the leader of the team. Maybe that’s a good thing on a team this deep.
Loren Honse: Darral Willis is one of the best leaders on WSU’s squad. He works well with others like McDuffie and Shamet which makes the team ultimately better but he also has a great presence at the No. 5 spot which makes Morris and Nurger better.
Mike Burrus: It appears to me that the starting guards – Shamet and Smith – have become the team’s main leaders at this point.
I don’t see a lot of vocal emotion from either of them, but they do seem to be the ones who are pulling the rest of the guys together when there is a need for a change in the team’s direction or to regain its focus.
Patty Beamer: I don’t think Coach Marshall has turned over the leadership reins yet. I see the five members that are on the floor, but they all look at Coach Marshall. I don’t see one person talking and taking control in the huddle.
I would like to see Daishon step up consistently as point guard and leader, but I currently see leadership by committee and not one single leader as of yet.
Sara Orr Jones: Seems the storyline hasn’t changed. Just when you think a clear-cut leader or two have come to the fore, by the end of the next week’s series of games, the scenario no longer plays out that way.
Wichita State started Tuesday with an RPI ranked No. 92 and two games remaining against top-100 opponents. When you do you start to pay attention to RPI rankings and NCAA Tournament projections?
David Gonzalez: It’s unfortunate/frustrating that the Shockers have only two games remaining against the top-100 with 13 games left in conference play.
It goes to show the current state of the MVC, which is not helping the Shockers, and how limited the opportunities are to secure resume-building wins. Because teams like Wichita State make their best case for the NCAA tournament during non-conference play, I start to monitor the RPI rankings at the beginning of the season. I start to pay attention to NCAA Tournament projections about mid-way through conference play.
Ty Houseman: I usually don’t pay any attention to RPI, and start looking at the tournament projections about the last third of the conference schedule. I tend to look at Kenpom.com more than any other.
Mike Burrus: I start watching the RPI and tournament projections from the very first day they’re developed, which is usually in the spring and early summer. I’m just very interested in knowing how others see the Shockers, both objectively (RPI) and subjectively (bracket projections).
Patty Beamer: I don’t pay attention to RPI and I only look at tournament projections to see where Joe Lunardi has the Shockers going. If I pay attention to everything, it is maddening. This will all be a moot point the first week of March when the Shockers when the Missouri Valley tournament in St. Louis.
Sara Orr Jones: It’s fun to follow all the polls, ratings, rankings, projected standings and Magic 8-Balls, as soon as they start appearing.
But the RPI is real, measurable and usually much more serious business than many other yardsticks. However, since any lower-ranked team can beat a top-rated team on any given night, the RPI is going to remain fluid — and it’s a long season not to exhale.
Joe Stroud: I have already started looking at NCAA Tournament projections and RPI rankings, but it truly does not matter until Saturday. This is when we play Illinois State who is in the 40's when it comes to the RPI rankings. Plus our RPI can still improve if Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Louisville can get some quality wins in their respective conferences.
Russell Lowden: I look at both RPI and tournament projections year round. I know there is not a lot of important information in them until at least conference play but I love numbers!
Starting in January they are very important, but RPI is just a piece of the puzzle. I firmly believe in Kenpom.com and Sagarin.
When you watch Shocker basketball on TV, do you favor impartial analysis, a significant and positive focus on your team or something in between? Who does it best in TV land?
David Gonzalez: I will always favor a significant and positive focus on my team, which is why I really enjoy the local broadcasts on Cox.
Along these lines, something I really enjoy from the NCAA Tournament is that TV viewers have the option to watch team-specific presentations tailored to the schools participating in the Final Four. I wish more of this was available throughout the NCAA Tournament, maybe even as early as the Sweet 16.
Two of my favorite TV commentators are Kevin Harlan and Gus Johnson. Mark Adams of ESPN also does a great job of giving non-Power 5 teams like Wichita State a good spotlight. His dynamic commentary and intriguing references are also fun to follow.
Ty Houseman: I would prefer impartial analysis when watching on TV, but generally like to turn the sound off and listen to Mike Kennedy on the radio.
Bryan Steele: Honestly I don’t really favor either, and could easily do without the commentary (I add enough on my own anyway).
Regardless of bias, it is always apparent when a commentary crew has done their homework and knows the ins-and-outs of a particular team. Those guys are probably my favorite and they usually have the most thoughtful insight during the course of a game.
Right now I’m really enjoying Mark Adams. He’s a bit over the top, but always very prepared.
Loren Honse: CBS Sports (Network) does a decent job with their knowledge of Wichita State and their opponents. I like the impartial commentary and the enthusiastic tone they have for both teams.
I am not a fan of ESPN and their uncanny ability to talk more about Baker and VanVleet than the guys on the court. They mistakenly point out that that we aren’t as strong without those two and forget about others because those are the only names they recognize.
Mike Burrus: When the games are on a national network, I greatly favor impartial analysis; I’m just very interested in knowing what “experts” see and think about the Shockers.
When the games are on local media outlets, I enjoy the insight and enthusiasm of the local guys; they are great cheerleaders for our beloved Shockers, coaching staff, basketball program, university, and community.
Patty Beamer: I prefer a positive focus on the Shockers. I love Mark Adams and Rich Hollenberg.
If the announcers are partial to the other team, I listen to Mike and Dave (Dahl) on radio while watching on TV with the volume down. (My favorite was Bill Raftery calling NIT games in NYC).
Who does it best in TV land?
Bob Hull and Shane Dennis. Because they know the players and call them by the correct name 99 percent of the time.
Sara Orr Jones: Hands down, it’s much more fun and stress-reducing to follow analysis that has the Shockers in our corner. I enjoy hearing a knowledgeable commentator who follows all opposing teams, as much as ours, and has the ability to share the stats and records about both teams, along with informative tidbits about the players, coaches and their school histories — and do it in an entertaining, engaging way.
Shane Dennis provides good, fast-breaking, play-by--play commentary. Having a long-running Shocker background and someone who always does the necessary homework before each game, he’s a natural.
I’d also like to give a shout-out to radio broadcaster and commentator Mike Kennedy. He doesn’t come by the tag “Voice of the Shockers” without earning it over and over again. How fortunate for us in the Shocker community to have such professionals as Shane, Mike, Bob Hull and Dave Dahl broadcasting on television and radio during game times.
Joe Stroud: I always enjoy impartial analysis on TV, if they said everything positive about one team it would lead no room for growth and to see mistakes.
One of the commentators that I enjoy the most is Mark Adams. He analyzes both teams, and he teaches the television audience about the important history of both teams and what they are doing well and what they need to improve on.
I also enjoy his Twitter posts called #DoMoreWithLess Reports, it gives respect to the mid-majors who defeat the Power 5 schools during non-conference and how each school has improved.
Russell Lowden: I like Mark Adams and Mitch Holthus as far as analysis from a Shocker perspective.
When it comes to impartial analysis, I like Seth Davis, Andy Katz, and Jay Bilas. I prefer something in between which is fairly balanced. I know all about my team anyway.