Most mornings, Wichita State basketball player Carl Hall comes to the Koch Arena academic center around 8:15.
He's not there bright and early because he's behind, in trouble, or scheduled for study hall. He's there voluntarily and routinely, so he doesn't fall behind.
If Hall, a junior transfer from Northwest Florida State College, takes care of his responsibilities on court as well as he does off, he's due for good things. In Wichita less than a month, he is a favorite of the academic advising staff because he is organized and motivated.
"I'm always in the study hall," he said. "I'm trying to do something, trying to stay ahead. I try to get my business done first, before I do anything else."
While basketball is second on Hall's priority list, it's important. It needs to be, because he's the most important addition to the roster. WSU must replace three big men — J.T. Durley, Aaron Ellis and Gabe Blair — who played key roles in their National Invitation Tournament title. Hall (6-foot-8, 235 pounds) needs to contribute immediately as an enforcer in the lane.
"He's definitely a bruiser," WSU guard Joe Ragland said. "He wants to screen, and he wants to help the team. He also blocks a lot of shots, more than you would expect."
Hall is prepared to play a different role at WSU after averaging 17.6 points at Northwest Florida.
"I was the focal point," he said. "I was the point guard on the block."
At WSU, scoring will be more balanced, which is fine with Hall.
"Everybody is talented and everybody can score," he said. "Part of offense is setting screens, and the better screen I set, I'm probably going to be open more."
Hall, like all the Shocker newcomers, is on campus and working out. The players stretch and lift six days a week, usually following with a pickup game. Hall said the conditioning take on added importance because he lives with a heart arrhythmia. He takes medicine three times a day for the irregular heartbeat. "It takes me longer to get in shape than it does anybody else," Hall said. "It might take me an extra two weeks. It takes my body a long time to adjust to certain amounts of running."
The condition cost him three games last season, but he is cleared for full workouts at WSU.
"Full speed," he said. "I'll be good, playing at a high level, rebounding and blocking shots."
Don't forget the ace — The major leagues drafted three WSU starting pitchers in June. The guy with the most success — senior Tim Kelley — wasn't one of them.
Kelley missed most of the season with pain in his elbow and forearm. He recently had surgery to remove scar tissue from his right elbow, pitching coach Brent Kemnitz said. When Kelley is ready to pitch, Kemnitz hopes he gets a chance in the minor leagues. Rest assured, he will tell every scout in his contacts list about Kelley, who went 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA in eight starts before the injury.
"Somebody's going to look really smart," Kemnitz said.
Kemnitz said he thinks Kelley likely goes in rounds 10-15 had his senior season stayed on course.
He throws 87-90 mph, not overpowering for a right-hander, which is the main reason pro scouts ignored him after his junior season. Kelley is a precision pitcher with a nasty slider who turned himself into WSU's ace after attracting more attention as a basketball player in high school in Tulsa.
* Former Shocker star Joe Carter will serve as a honorary hitting coach for the College Home Run Derby on July 2 in Omaha. CBS will show the derby at 1 p.m., July 3. The event, at TD Ameritrade Park, will pit eight hitters against each other. Paul Molitor and Frank Thomas will join Carter.
Making the case — Even though director of administration and personnel Ruth Matz claims an emotional attachment to the trophies, it's time to find a new home.
Five of WSU's Missouri Valley Conference All-Sports Award trophies sit on file cabinets in the athletic director's suite, where Matz works. Athletic director Eric Sexton wanted a more fitting showcase.
By the time school starts in August, they will move to a trophy case in the Koch Arena atrium, next to the elevator.
"It's a point of pride for our department," Sexton said. "We didn't have a good spot to display them."
WSU owns 18 all-sports awards, although it doesn't possess 18 trophies — yet. The MVC used to recognize the conference's top all-around program with a traveling trophy. Sexton said WSU will make replicas to represent years it won the traveling trophy.
WSU won the 2010-11 award, giving it six of the past eight.
Worth noting — Deadline for WSU volleyball camps for grades 4-8 is Wednesday. Deadline for high school camps is July 11. For information call 316-978-5549.... Creighton freshman Doug McDermott earned a spot on the USA Basketball under-19 World Championship team. McDermott, a sophomore, left for Europe on Friday. The tournament begins Thursday in Latvia.... Bradley center Will Egolf is expected to miss the 2011-12 season, according to the Peoria Journal Star. Egolf tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in early June. Coach Geno Ford told the Journal Star he is confident Egolf will receive a sixth season of eligibility for 2012-13. He averaged 8.0 points and 4.1 rebounds as a junior.