These are dark days in the college basketball world with the FBI investigation into widespread corruption revealing shady recruiting practices at several major programs.
But Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall showed Friday that integrity in the game still exists, at least on the Shockers’ sideline.
The act came when WSU was locked into an intense, competitive game against a very good Providence team. The Shockers were trying to protect an 80-72 lead with less than 90 seconds remaining.
WSU center Jaime Echenique blocked a shot and WSU’s Samajae Haynes-Jones and Providence’s David Duke both reached out to grab the loose ball, causing it go out of bounds with 1:07 remaining. The referees ruled it had last touched WSU, but it was close enough and in an important enough moment to review it.
“Did you touch it last, Samajae?” Marshall boomed from the sideline to his player.
Haynes-Jones nodded yes and as the referees were walking over to the monitor to review the play, Marshall told them there was no need.
“That’s OK, you don’t have to look at it” Marshall told them. “It went off our guy. It’s their ball.”
The referee smiled in appreciation of the gesture but still reviewed the television replay to make sure he had indeed made the right call. And sure enough, Haynes-Jones was telling the truth, and so was Marshall.
While the referees would have ultimately made the right call in the end, Marshall’s honesty was refreshing to see. It was a close game with WSU clinging to the lead and still enough time for Providence to rally. A defensive stop there (on a wrong call) could have been valuable to WSU’s chances of winning.
But Marshall and Haynes-Jones showed integrity still matters to some.