Wichita State Shockers

Shockers overseas: All six 2018 WSU seniors off to good starts in their pro careers

All six of the seniors on last season’s Wichita State men’s basketball team are thriving in their professional careers overseas.

Conner Frankamp and Zach Brown are scorching the nets in Bulgaria and France, respectively; Rashard Kelly leads a top-tier league in rebounding; Darral Willis is the best player on the best team in Cyprus; Shaquille Morris has already changed teams in Japan; and Rauno Nurger has helped lead a quick turnaround with his team in Spain.

For those interested, here is the entire list of former WSU players playing overseas.

Here are the highlights from former Shockers playing overseas:

2018 graduates

Wichita St Baylor Basketball
Wichita State guard Conner Frankamp, right, scores over Baylor forward Tristan Clark in the first half Saturday in Waco, Texas. Rod Aydelotte Associated Press

Conner Frankamp has become one of the top playmakers in Bulgaria, as he is averaging the third-most points in the top-tier National Basketball League and led BC Beroe to a 5-2 record in NBL play and a 4-0 record in Balkan League play. Frankamp is averaging 21.2 points on 59 percent shooting, including 54 percent on three-pointers with 35 threes in 11 games. He’s also averaging a team-best 3.9 assists per game on top of averages of 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 28 minutes per game.

Zach Brown is shredding for CEP Lorient in France’s third-tier Nationale Masculine 1 league. After Lorient finished as one of the league’s worst teams last season, Brown’s arrival has spurred the team to an 8-4 record and second place in the Group B standings. Brown is averaging 17.7 points, second-best in the league, and making 50 percent of his shots. The 6-6 forward wasn’t known for his outside shooting at WSU, but Brown is shooting 46.5 percent on three-pointers and making nearly three per game. Brown is also averaging 5.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.7 steals in more than 31 minutes per game for Lorient as its starting small forward.

Rashard Kelly leads Russia’s top-tier VTB United League in rebounding at 8.3 rebounds per game, despite coming off the bench for Parma Basket (2-5). He is still playing 27 minutes per game and averaging 10.3 points, 2.4 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. Kelly still has a nose for grabbing offensive rebounds like he did at WSU, as he’s collecting more than two per game for Parma.

Darral Willis joined the best team in Cyprus and has made an immediate impact, scoring 14.7 points per game and grabbing a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game for Keravnos Strovolou. Keravnos is in first place atop Cyprus’ top-tier Division A league at 6-1. Willis was chosen as the league’s player of the week earlier this season and ranks in the top 10 in scoring (ninth) and rebounding (third), despite playing fewer than 22 minutes per game. Willis is making 54 percent of his shots and drawing fouls (he’s shooting six free throws per game and making 79 percent of them).

shaq flex.JPG
Wichita State center Shaquille Morris flexes his muscles against Tulsa during a game in January at Koch Arena. Travis Heying The Wichita Eagle

Shaquille Morris has already been with three teams since leaving WSU. He originally signed with a team in Israel before his contract was bought out by San-en NeoPhoenix in Japan. After playing three games with San-en, Morris then joined Kyoto Hannarz in the same top-tier B.League. In eight total games in Japan, Morris has averaged 14.9 points on 56 percent shooting and 7.3 rebounds in 27 minutes. Morris has recently been starting for Kyoto Hannaryz, which is 11-8 and in third place in the West Division of the B.League.

Rauno Nurger has helped turn around CB Penas Huesca (8-3) in Spain’s second-tier Liga Espanola de Baloncesta, averaging 10.5 points on 58 percent shooting and a team-high 6.6 rebounds in 23 minutes per game. Nurger has started as the team’s power forward for most of the season and his 6.6 rebounding average ranks in the top-10 of the league.

Anton Grady is a graduate transfer who came to WSU for his final season; many Missouri Valley Conference coaches are concerned about losing players in similar situations. Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

Other Shockers

Anton Grady has been producing video game numbers in Iceland’s second-tier Division I league. Grady, a 2016 WSU graduate, is averaging 26.4 points, 17.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.6 blocks in 33.4 minutes per game for Fjolnir Reykjavik, which is 5-3 and in fourth place. Grady leads the league in rebounding and is second in scoring, as he is making 60 percent of his shots.

Garrett Stutz has been putting up monster numbers in Japan’s second-tier B2 League. The 7-foot center, a 2012 WSU graduate, has averages of 22.7 points, 14.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists for a competitive Toyotsu Fighting Eagles Nagoya team that is 14-5 and in second place in the Central division. Stutz is making 61 percent of his field goals and knocking down 75 percent of his free throws, while playing a little more than 33 minutes per game.

Joe Ragland has become the starting point guard for the best team in the Serbian region. Ragland, a 2012 WSU graduate, is averaging 13.2 points and 5.8 assists across all competitions for Crvena Zveszda, which is 9-0 and atop the ABA League standings. Ragland ranks second in assists in the league, which also features former K-State star Jacob Pullen. Ragland is making 54 percent of his shots, including 37 percent from beyond the arc and 79 percent from the free-throw line.

Toure’ Murry has been scoring well in Italy’s second-tier Serie A2 league for UCC Assigeco Piacenza. Murry, a 2012 WSU graduate, is averaging 16.5 points per game and making three three-pointers per game on 43 percent shooting. Murry, the team’s starting shooting guard, also averages 4.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.8 steals in 30 minutes per game.

Carl Hall has gone south of the border to carve out a starting role in Mexico’s top-tier Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional. Hall, a 2013 WSU graduate, is averaging 14.8 points on 60 percent shooting and 6.0 rebounds in 27 minutes per game for Laguneros de Torreon, an 8-8 team in fifth place in the North division of the LNBP.

Tekele Cotton has found a landing spot in Italy’s top-tier Serie A league with Fiat Torino. While the team has struggled (its 2-6 in Serie A play and 0-8 in Eurocup), Cotton has played well as a starter averaging 29 minutes per game. Cotton is averaging 11.0 points per game with 44 percent shooting from beyond the arc to go along with 3.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 0.9 steals per game.

Cotton dunk vs. ESU
Wichita State’s Tekele Cotton was known for defense and dunks, not always in that order, during his Shocker career. The Wichita Eagle

Clevin Hannah has landed a starting point guard job in Spain’s top-tier Liga Endesa league. Hannah, a 2010 WSU graduate, is averaging 11.6 points on 43 precent shooting to go along with 4.2 assists per game across all competitions for Gran Canaria, which is 3-7 and near the bottom of the standings in both the Liga Endesa and Euroleague.

Gal Mekel has mostly played with the Israel National Team this year, but is on the roster in the same Russian league that Rashard Kelly is playing in. Mekel, a 2008 WSU graduate, has only played in four games for Zenit Saint Petersburg, but has started at point guard for the team that is 5-2 and in fourth place in the VTB United League.

Kadeem Coleby has found a starting center role in the Japan’s top-tier B.League, the same league that Shaquille Morris is playing in. Coleby averages 12.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in 28 minutes for the Akita Northern Happinets, which are 7-12 and in fifth place in the East division. Coleby, a 2014 WSU graduate, is making 56 percent of his shots.

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