WSU senior guard Joe RaglandWichita State coach Gregg Marshall mentioned Joe Ragland as one of the MVC’s top point guards at media day in October in St. Louis. Not everybody in the media bought Ragland in a category with Creighton’s Antoine Young or Indiana State’s Jake Odum.
Last season, Ragland had his moments. He didn’t play as well as either of those two consistently. This season, however, he is on a roll that makes it easy to see why Marshall is so happy with his point guard. He is playing hard and leading, Marshall said while watching Ragland shoot before Tuesday’s practice.
In his past four games, Ragland is averaging 19 points while shooting 20 of 37 from the field and 15 of 22 from three-point range. He has 13 assists and five turnovers in that span.
For the season, Ragland is averaging 12.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He is shooting 56.7 percent from the field and 53.1 percent from three-point range. As a junior, Ragland shot 31.3 percent from behind the arc, mystifying Marshall, who saw a much better shooter in practice. Ragland started the season playing passively, he admitted, trying to fit in and not turn the ball over. He became more aggressive late in the season and became a fixture in the starting lineup in February. He scored in double figures in six of WSU’s final 11 games. In five NIT games, he averaged 8.4 points and made 5 of 13 threes.
He was one Shocker who didn’t go to sleep in the second half of Saturday’s win over Utah State. He scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half. When WSU’s offense slumped, he revived it with drives to the basket. Early in the half, he ended a scoring drought of almost four minutes with a layup. His three-pointer with 3:18 to play gave WSU a nine-point lead.
Marshall hasn’t given Ragland his NIT ring yet. He is waiting on semester grades. On the court, Ragland is rewarding Marshall for mentioning him on the Valley’s honor roll of point guards.