Landry’s back — When the day of Monday’s exhibition against Newman arrived, the plan for Landry Shamet was to take the game off and preserve himself for Friday’s season-opener against Missouri-Kansas City.
But Shamet, who is recovering from offseason foot surgery to repair a stress fracture, changed his mind early Monday afternoon. Shamet met with the coaching and training staff and they devised a game plan for him to play no more than 12 minutes on Monday night.
Shamet showed no rust in his first live action returning from the injury, as the sophomore guard made all three of his shots to score eight points and added two rebounds and two assists in 12 minutes as Wichita State defeated Newman 113-55.
“It felt good to get to run up and down a little bit and play against somebody else,” Shamet said. “Get back into a game rhythm. That way I’m not going from 0 to 100 playing in these real games.”
When Shamet returned to practice last week, he reported ankle soreness to Marshall following practices. That was why initially he wanted the extra three days of rest. But Shamet said he felt good on Monday and said there was no soreness following his 12 minutes of game action.
“It’s like the alignment of where the screw is in my foot,” Shamet said. “It rubs up against that ligament and that’s where it kind of gets bothersome. But it feels good now.”
Shamet played in three short spurts, delivering several highlights in the first half. He perfectly aimed an alley-oop lob to Shaquille Morris, then drilled a guarded three-point at the end of the shot clock. The performance suggested he will be ready to play minutes on Friday, although it remained unclear after the game if he will regain his spot in the starting lineup.
“He’s a very good player,” Marshall said. “We all knew that and he needed to get out there and play some game minutes. That was about what he’s doing in practice.”
For a good cause — All proceeds from Monday’s game will be donated to the American Red Cross to help provide relief for hurricane victims in the Houston area.
The announced attendance was 5,345, meaning at least $80,000 was raised in donations.
“The American Red Cross is going to get a nice check,” Marshall said. “Hopefully it was an entertaining basketball game, too.”
And suddenly... — For the first 14 minutes of the game, Newman remained competitive with Wichita State.
Guard Ben Ayre was wrecking havoc against Wichita State’s defense in the pick-and-roll, as he scored 11 points and kept the Jets within 34-28 with a little over six minutes remaining in the first half.
“We were pretty excited and we felt like we were right there with them,” Ayre said. “And then all of a sudden, you look up and you’re down 25.”
Wichita State scored on 12 of its final 13 possessions of the first half, which resulted in a 27-4 run to close out the half. Sure enough, Newman trailed 61-32 at halftime.
The Shockers hope they can deliver those types of deflating runs in the regular season.
“We can kind of explode like that,” Shamet said. “We’ve got a lot of options offensively.”
Haynes-Jones impresses again — Although it has come against two inferior opponents, the quickness of Samajae Haynes-Jones appears to be every bit as deadly as it has been in high school and junior college.
Haynes-Jones is already looking deadly in the pick-and-roll game, as his quickness and burst gives him the edge to the penetrating the lane more times than not. Once he’s in there, Haynes-Jones has showed the ability to finish at the rim (12 points on 4 of 6 shooting on Monday) or recognize when he draws a help defender and dump it off to the open big man (4 assists).
“We see how quick Samajae is and it basically makes it way easier for me to get wide open shots,” said center Rauno Nurger, who scored a game-high 16 points. “When he comes off the pick-and-roll that quick, it means the big man needs to come help and that gives me more room by the basket.”
Marshall has been impressed with Haynes-Jones’ decision-making filling in for Shamet as the team’s point guard.
“I’ve been very impressed with his basketball IQ,” Marshall said. “But he has played for some good coaches (East’s Joe Jackson and Hutchinson’s Steve Eck).”
Just a kid from Wichita — RJ Allen remembers coming with his father, longtime East High coach Ron Allen, to Wichita State games at Koch Arena when he was a child.
It was a surreal experience for the first-year Newman coach to be coaching on the sidelines opposite of Gregg Marshall on Monday.
“Growing up being a Shocker fan and coming to games, it was definitely a proud moment for me to be on the sidelines in my hometown competing against Wichita State and coach Marshall,” Allen said. “All we’re trying to do is duplicate what they’ve done in their program and learn from those guys and see how they go about their business.”
Midtgaard, Brown both improve — It was a shaky debut, at best, for the pair of Wichita State freshman on Saturday. Monday went much better for both forward Rod Brown and center Asbjorn Midtgaard.
Midtgaard scored nine points — all in the first half — in 15 minutes, scoring both of his baskets by sealing his defender in front and securing the lob over-the-top for the easy basket.
“He (posted up) with a lot of strength and a lot of toughness and showed both hands and worked with his behind and his hips to seal his defender,” Marshall said. “You can either be in front of him or behind him, but he’s so big that when you choose that, then if he does a good job of moving his feet and his hips, you’re basically stuck. Or it’s going to take you awhile to get around him. We have to do a good job of reading that situation and throwing it up to him.”
After committing five turnovers on Friday, Midtgaard said it was a relief to follow up with a better performance.
“I feel like the first game I was a little nervous,” Midtgaard said. “I didn’t know what to expect with the crowd. The second game I was a little more calm, collected. I just went out there and tried my best and it paid off.”
Marshall was pleased with Brown coming alive to score nine points, making all three of his field goal attempts and free throws, to go along with three rebounds in 13 minutes.
“He wasn’t a deer in the headlights,” Marshall said. “He didn’t look like a opossum and roll over. He actually competed on the glass. He was moving. We watched film of his performance on Saturday and it was kind of funny how he was not moving. He had stage fright. (Monday) he was running our offense, he was more active, he got on the glass, he ran the court. He only blew a couple of assignments defensively. He certainly looked much more like a player we’re expecting him to be.”