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Shockers back to work

Wichita State practiced Sunday night and returned to Koch Arena on Monday morning for film and a light practice. Monday afternoon, they were scheduled for a more serious workout.

The Shockers are busy, and they need to get used to it. Because of the BracketBusters game in late February and the early March start for the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, schedules are crammed with games in late December and early January. WSU plays five games in 12 days beginning with Wednesday’s game against Evansville at Koch Arena.

Coach Gregg Marshall said coaches focused on detail work Sunday. More than once, he’s talked about the need for this team to do what it takes to be great, not just good. I suspect that will be a theme throughout the season. We know WSU is a good team. It can perform every skill adequately or better. But can the Shockers do those things for 35 minutes instead of 32? Can a player box out 9 times out of 10 instead of 7 out of 10? Can a player give max effort on defense on all possessions, or just 90 percent? Those small things can be the difference between winning at an acceptable level and winning big.“Everybody had a good mind-set,” Marshall said after Monday morning’s workout. “We’re 9-2 but there are a lot of things we can do to get better. Consistency – I hate to say this, but there are guys that need more consistent effort. More consistent attention to detail, with rebounding and guarding. Actually running our stuff properly, screening someone and getting them open. It’s the same things you talk about with the same guys all the time.”The Shockers produced good offensive numbers in almost every game in the pre-Christmas schedule. Defense was more inconsistent. When players talk about losing focus on defense as a result of pushing the ball on offense, Marshall gets a little irritated. In his mind, great players can score on the break and hustle back to play defense.“When you push the ball up, and this is just my opinion, you get a little less diligent in your mind-set every possession defensively,” he said. “That’s an excuse. Really great players do both. Guys like (Michael) Jordan – he was a pretty good scorer. He was also defensive player of the year.”