Anthony Andre spent one season playing basketball at Wichita State before coaches told him he wasn’t good enough. A year later, according to Andre, they wanted him back. He declined.
Maybe you remember him as Tony Andre, who served as a little-used understudy to the late Bob Elmore at center for the 1976-77 Shockers. Even veteran fans can be excused if that name doesn’t ring a bell. Andre played in four games and made one basket.
Now, however, you can remember Andre as a man who played a small role in the getting Kadeem Coleby to Wichita State last week. Coleby, a 6-foot-9 center, decided to leave Louisiana-Lafayette and landed at WSU for several reasons. One is the recommendation from Andre, coach at Daytona (Fla.) State College, where Coleby played as a sophomore.
Andre told Coleby he enjoyed his time at WSU, short as it was.
“The fans were great,” Andre said. “It was a really good atmosphere to be in for a basketball player.”
Andre said Shocker coaches sent him to Butler Community College the next season. Instead of returning to WSU, he followed former Shocker assistant Ed Murphy to Livingston University, now known as West Alabama. He is in his sixth season at Daytona State.
Coleby will sit out this season and play in 2013-14 for the Shockers. Andre said WSU got a player who will take advantage of the practice time to improve.
“He learned a lot in the one year I had him here,” Andre said. “He’s still fairly new to the game and still learning. He’s like a sponge.”
Coleby averaged 9.5 points and 4.9 rebounds for Louisiana-Lafayette last season, starting 30 games. He blocked 2.4 shots a game and led the Sun Belt Conference in shooting percentage (56.1). At Daytona, he averaged 10.2 points and 8.1 rebounds.
“He can score a lot better than when he first came,” Andre said. “Tremendous athlete.”
Andre’s connection to WSU is one of several factors that infuenced Coleby. He is from the Bahamas, and the basketball people there are familiar with Wichita. Sunrise Christian Academy has become a popular place with prep players from the Bahamas and that pipeline made it easier for Coleby to choose the Shockers. He was acquainted with WSU coaches from past recruiting, and did his own research on the Internet to fill in blanks. Coleby, because Louisiana-Lafayette did not release him, could not talk to coaches while searching for a new school and must pay his own tuition. He will receive a scholarship in 2013-14.
WSU assistant Greg Heiar remembered Coleby from his junior college career. Coaches found video of him at Louisiana-Lafayette. As the possibility grew, WSU coach Gregg Marshall said he was determined not to get too excited about Coleby until he enrolled and attended class.
“I had never met him until he walked in here the other day,” Marshall said. “They did a lot of research on us, in terms of the way we develop players. That’s what he said. I think our program sold itself, in particular, and the development of players was vitally important to them. He wants to be a pro.”
Waiting game — Coleby wasn’t the only summer bonus for Marshall. Former Goddard Eisenhower star Zach Bush decided to walk on at WSU after previously signing with NCAA Division II Washburn.
Bush, a 6-foot-6 forward, has not been released from his letter of intent by Washburn. At stake is a season of eligibility for Bush, who willl redshirt this year.
Marshall said he isn’t sure if WSU will lobby Washburn on Bush’s behalf. It’s common for schools to deny releases in these situations. Most relent at some point.
“My hope is, ultimately, they don’t penalize the kid a year of eligibility,” Marshall said. “I would think, in the end, you let him go. You get bad pub when you start not letting kids transfer and my feeling is, do you really want a guy who doesn’t want to be there?”
Texas trail — Dallas Baptist’s baseball admission to the Missouri Valley Conference should boost the Valley’s power ranking most seasons. That should help recruiting, at least a bit, at the other eight schools.
Wichita State occasionally grabs a player from Texas and coaches scouted the state over the summer. Last season’s roster featured one Texan, pitcher Kris Gardner. His brother, Austin, is expected to sign with the Shockers in November and a recruit from Texas visited WSU last week. While it’s unlikely WSU will ever get away from Kansas and Oklahoma as its primary turf, recruiting in Texas might be helped by Dallas Baptist’s membership. WSU will play a weekend series there every other year, giving a high school player a chance to watch the Shockers. The MVC Tournament could land in Dallas. It’s unlikely MVC schools will become a preferred destination for a large numbers of Texans, but WSU, a mere six hours from Dallas, could benefit.
“It does give you some opportunity to recruit into Texas,” WSU coach Gene Stephenson said. “Anybody that would get us to see us live would like the way we play and I think that, from our standpoint, it gives us a presence that would allow us to cultivate coaches in the area.”