Wichita State Shockers

Early to Ragland to Murry to Clemente to Frankamp? Shocker alumni team in the works

Wichita State’s Kadeem Coleby, Cleanthony Early and Tekele Cotton celebrate the 2014 MVC Tournament title.
Wichita State’s Kadeem Coleby, Cleanthony Early and Tekele Cotton celebrate the 2014 MVC Tournament title. The Wichita Eagle

Picture Toure’ Murry taking control of a fastbreak with the option of lofting an alley-oop for Tekele Cotton or dumping the pass off to Cleanthony Early for a thunderous jam.

Imagine Conner Frankamp coming off a pin-down screen set by Garrett Stutz, catching a pinpoint pass from Malcolm Armstead and firing in another three-pointer.

And who wouldn’t want to see the antics of Ramon Clemente and Shaquille Morris on the court together?

If things go according to plan, all sorts of Gregg Marshall-era Shockers could be coming together to play on a Wichita State alumni team called “The Aftershox” to compete in next summer’s The Basketball Tournament. The goal is to play its first round of games at Koch Arena.

The idea has been entertained before, but former Shockers P.J. Couisnard (2004-08) and Karon Bradley (2005-07) have taken the lead putting together the team and recruiting the players.

“This would be a dream come true, and the thing is we could put together a roster that could win the whole thing,” Couisnard said. “We would probably be the underdogs and probably be wrongfully seeded like Wichita State always is. But these guys are fighters, and it would be beautiful to see and even more fun to watch.”

While the plan is still in its infancy, here’s what Shocker fans need to know about what to look for:

What is TBT?

The Basketball Tournament is a 72-team, single-elimination tournament held every July with a winner-take-all $2 million prize. The tournament, which began in 2014, is picking up in popularity with broadcasts on ESPN thanks to more alumni teams coming together to represent their college teams.

The teams are comprised mostly of professional players and the 5-on-5 games feature 9-minute quarters instead of 20-minute halves.

How can the WSU alumni team get in?

The Aftershox would likely apply for one of the 18 slots in the Midwest region. One will go to the 2017 champion and four more will go to teams who pay a $5,000 entry free.

But Bradley says he wants the team to qualify through fan voting, which sends the top nine teams through to the tournament. There are also an additional four at-large berths, but Bradley is confident WSU fans can vote the team through.

“I think once the word kind of gets out there, it’s going to spread crazy like wildfire,” Bradley said. “A lot of fans are going to be really excited about this idea and especially if we can bring the first-round games to Koch Arena.”

Team applications begin next April with fan voting running through June. The top team in the Midwest region this summer was the Ohio State alumni team, which had 1,644 supporters on the TBT website.

Who will play for the Aftershox?

This remains the biggest question, and Bradley said he won’t be able to finalize the roster until the event draws closer.

But here’s his wish list:

Guards: Malcolm Armstead (2012-13), Tekele Cotton (2011-15), Conner Frankamp (2015-18), Clevin Hannah (2008-10), Gal Mekel (2006-08), Toure’ Murry (2008-12), Joe Ragland (2010-12), Nick Wiggins (2012-14).

Forwards: Ramon Clemente (2007-09), J.T. Durley (2007-11), Cleanthony Early (2012-14), Carl Hall (2011-13)

Centers: Shaquille Morris (2014-18), Garrett Stutz (2008-12).

“It’s going to be a challenge getting everybody together,” Couisnard said. “Most of those guys are still playing professionally overseas, so it’s hard to ask them to pull out of their season. We’re just going to have to see who is free and who can make it.”

Cousinard and Bradley would serve as the team’s coaches. They’re hoping to gain the support of WSU coach Marshall along with Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker, who could help lead the fan voting.

Fans are encouraged to join the Facebook group Bradley has set up for further updates on the team.

Could they really play at Koch Arena?

The precedent is certainly there, as Marquette and VCU alumni teams were given games at their campus arenas this summer.

But if the Aftershox is going to get a chance to play at Koch Arena, then WSU fans will likely need to make sure they are at or near the top of the fan voting.

“I think that would give everyone crazy chills,” Bradley said. “Everyone knows the kind of support we have in Wichita, and I think Shocker Nation is ready for the challenge. It would bring back a whole lot of memories for everyone, and I think it would be a lot of fun.”

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