Why it matters: Former Wichita State basketball Jamie Arnold possessed plenty of talent. Long and athletic, he was also blessed with a good outside shot. He could have been remembered as one of the bright spots of the 1990s. He led the MVC in rebounding in 1995. Arnold (a 6-foot-8 forward) led the Shockers in scoring as a freshman and during an abbreviated senior season. He averaged 12 points and 8.6 rebounds in 87 games over four seasons. Instead, his turbulent career summed up a turbulent decade, full of coaching changes and instability, for the Shockers. He spent the second half of his final game as a Shocker in the stands, at one time going to the concession stand for a hot dog and soda. One day later, coach Randy Smithson kicked him off the team with four games remaining.
Date: Feb. 15, 1997
Short version: Smithson pulled Arnold late in the first half of a game against Evansville at Levitt Arena. The two exchanged words, and Smithson told Arnold to leave. He changed out of his uniform and sat two rows behind the bench during the second half. The day after, Smithson dismissed Arnold after a 55-minute meeting in his office. “Let’s just say I think Jamie and myself both think that we did the best we could,” Smithson said. “We just didn’t get it completely finished.”
More details: The end of Arnold’s WSU career came with plenty of foreshadowing. He clashed with coach Scott Thompson during the 1995-96 season and lost playing time. He was suspended for one game. Injuries also cut into his playing time. He started strong under Smithson in 1996-97. averaging 17.3 points and 10.1 rebounds after 11 games. By the end of the season, he averaged 15 points and 9.1 rebounds, leading the Shockers in both categories.
Oddly enough: Despite the ups and downs, Arnold finished his career with 1,046 points, the 30th Shocker to pass the 1,000-point mark. He is No. 32 on the list entering this season.
Quotable: “I think this is a young man we need to understand has endured a great deal over four years. We must recognize that he made big contributions to the early turnaround of the program.” – Smithson.