Before Julian Rishwain could arrive in Wichita for his official visit, the Class of 2019 prospect received a taste of just how basketball-crazy Wichita can be.
On his connecting flight from Las Vegas to Wichita, he noticed a woman on the plane wearing a WSU jacket. He mentioned he was headed there to speak with the basketball coaches and within minutes, a crowd had formed around the recruit telling him how loud Koch Arena is, how great of a coach Gregg Marshall is, and how much the Shockers are adored in Wichita.
It was a recruiting pitch before the recruiting pitch and it left Rishwain, a 6-foot-5 guard from the Los Angeles area, in awe.
“When I got this offer, I wasn’t real sure because I didn’t really know anything about Wichita, Kansas,” Rishwain told The Eagle in a phone interview. “But when I was there, I was treated like royalty. I understand now the love of basketball there and I’ve for sure found a new love for the city of Wichita and the people there really are the nicest.”
WSU is narrowing down its list of targets for its final scholarship in its 2019 class and Rishwain appears to have made the cut. He took his official visit over last weekend alongside 2019 point guard Marquise Kennedy. WSU’s other scholarship is reserved for three-star power forward DeAntoni Gordon, who has been orally committed to WSU since last spring.
Marshall and his staff have identified Rishwain as a rising talent. He’s been rated as a three-star prospect by ESPN but Rishwain’s name doesn’t appear on any other major recruiting service.
He’s mostly been pegged as just a spot-up shooter at the next level, but Rishwain flashed his play-making skills as a lead ballhandler in the summer’s final event, the Las Vegas Fab 48 in late July. After playing with a star-studded cast in the Adidas Gauntlet for much of the summer, Rishwain switched to play for the Belmont Shore in Las Vegas, which put the ball in his hands more and allowed him to showcase his ability to create for himself and the court vision to create for others.
WSU extended an official offer after the tournament, in which Rishwain averaged 24 points per game. Assistant Isaac Brown has been the lead recruiter for the Shockers.
“He’s got a little bit of Conner Frankamp in him, just a longer version,” said Dinos Trigonis, his coach in Las Vegas. “He’s deceptively quick and deceptively crafty. He can create his own shot and is a much better ballhandler than people give him credit for. He has the potential to be a secondary ballhandler. He’s just not very big physically yet, so he’s got room for development.”
Rishwain said WSU’s recent success in the NCAA Tournament has made sure its brand carries weight all the way to California, even though the Shockers rarely recruit the West Coast.
He knew of Marshall, but did his research to find out what kind of coach he was. At first, the reputation as a fiery coach intimidated Rishwain. He said he’s never had an in-your-face type of coach before, but he knows Marshall’s method works and he’s intrigued by the winning.
“Wherever (Marshall) has gone, he’s won and won big,” Rishwain said. “He obviously knows what he’s doing. After meeting him, he’s a really, really cool guy. I was really impressed. And then he showed me Koch Arena and how it’s sold out every single game. That’s a dream right there to play for 10,500 people every game. I could definitely imagine myself playing in an arena like that, and I would say that I would thrive in front of a big crowd like that.”
If Rishwain were to come to WSU, he would take over the scholarship vacated by graduating senior Samajae Haynes-Jones. Ricky Torres and Jamarius Burton would likely handle the point guard duties in the 2019-20 season, while Rishwain would likely compete with Erik Stevenson and Chance Moore for minutes at shooting guard.
While Rishwain admits he’s more of an offensive player at this point in his career, he likes the “Play Angry” style of defense that Marshall’s teams have played in the past. Rishwain, who averaged 18.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists for Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks, Calif., as a junior, thinks his offensive game would be a plus.
“I think I’m a smooth player, my high school coach calls me, ‘Silky Smooth,’ “ Rishwain said. “This summer I was mainly just a knockdown shooter, but I think I’ve shown over the summer that I can drive, I can create, I can rebound, I have good court vision.
“I know I’m more of an offensive player, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes to win like WSU has and to make the fans go crazy and get to the tournament. All of that would make it well worth it. I know if I go there, defense will be a really big thing.”
Rishwain received more than 10 offers this summer, but told The Eagle he has narrowed his list down to four: Wichita State, Boston College, San Francisco and Colorado. He is planning on taking official visits to Boston College and San Francisco, while there is mutual interest with Colorado but an official offer has yet to be extended.
Class of 2019 recruits can sign their letter of intent during a one-week window later this fall, starting Nov. 14 and ending Nov. 21.