Wichita State Shockers

Wichita State's top 2018 recruit Alex Lomax granted release from letter of intent

Wichita State basketball recruit Alex Lomax.
Wichita State basketball recruit Alex Lomax. Courtesy photo

The "sensational six" has become the "fantastic five" following the news Tuesday that Wichita State's top 2018 recruit, Alex Lomax, requested and been granted a full release from his letter of intent with Wichita State.

Lomax is a four-star point guard who just led Memphis East to its third straight state championship and was recently chosen Tennessee's Mr. Basketball for the third straight season.

He was the cherry on top of coach Gregg Marshall's most-heralded recruiting class when he signed his letter of intent with WSU during the fall signing period to complete the "sensational six."

But Lomax's mind changed when Memphis fired coach Tubby Smith after two seasons and introduced Penny Hardaway, a father figure to Lomax and his AAU and high school coach, on Tuesday. Lomax is expected to follow Hardaway to Memphis and will be eligible to play immediately.

Lomax did not respond to a text message from the Eagle on Tuesday.

"I have a lot of respect for Alex Lomax and his family," Marshall said in a statement. "When they chose Wichita State in the fall, over several other very nice offers, my staff and I were honored. Obviously, we take commitments to the Shocker program very seriously, but this is a very unique situation where a young man's mentor and coach since the fifth grade has become a Division I head coach. Allowing him out of his NLOI without any kind of penalty is the right thing to do at this time."

WSU's incoming recruiting class includes shooting guards Erik Stevenson and Chance Moore and a trio of posts in Isaiah Poor Bear Chandler, Morris Udeze, and Jaime Echenique. Lomax's departure leaves a point-guard void in the class, although WSU will gain a scholarship and have the spring recruiting period to find a replacement.

Landry Shamet, WSU's current point guard, will weigh his professional options this spring and could decide to leave early for the NBA draft, which would leave the Shockers with senior-to-be Samajae Haynes-Jones as the only point guard on the roster. The Wichita native averaged 5.3 points, but did not appear in eight of the final nine games of the season after falling out of Marshall's rotation in his first season with the team.

WSU did extend a scholarship offer to James Akinjo, a four-star point guard who had signed his letter of intent with Connecticut in the fall but was also granted his release on Monday after the firing of Kevin Ollie. The high school senior from California has already fielded a dozen offers since the re-opening of his recruitment, including offers extended by Georgetown, Arizona, Gonzaga, Maryland, Wake Forest, Utah, Oregon State, California, and Tennessee.

Akinjo is a top-100 recruit according to ESPN's latest rankings and is ranked ahead of Lomax.