This past weekend was an important one for Wichita State’s 2019 basketball recruiting class, as the Shockers hosted a pair of highly touted prospects in top-150 and four-star guard Grant Sherfield and junior-college wing Trey Wade on official visits.
The Shockers are in pursuit of two players following the departures of Ricky Torres and Rod Brown, who both announced last week they were transferring. And with the spring signing period opening Wednesday, Gregg Marshall and his staff put the full-court press on Sherfield and Wade.
For Sherfield, a Wichita native who returned this year to play at Sunrise Academy, he was familiar with Marshall and the WSU program. But for Wade, a Marietta, Georgia native and a Texas junior-college player, it was all new to him.
The players went to Greystone for dinner on Friday, Doo-Dah Diner on Saturday morning, Chicken N Pickle for lunch, played pickup basketball with some of the returners in the afternoon, and finished with a dinner at Marshall’s house.
After the 48 hours, each came away impressed with what the Shockers had to offer.
“What really stood out to me was how close-knit everybody is,” Sherfield said. “They treat everybody like family and they made me feel welcomed. That’s what you look for since you’re going to be spending a lot of your time over the next four years there. You want to go play with a close-knit group.”
“The community is really big into basketball, so that’s a good thing,” Wade said. “Coach Marshall was really excited about trying to get me and that’s always a good thing, too. I’m very interested in the situation at Wichita State.”
Sherfield, a 6-foot-2 combo guard, is a unanimous four-star recruit who is ranked No. 110 in the country by Rivals, which would make him the second-highest recruit and the fifth top-150 recruit in the Marshall era. WSU has another top-150 guard signed in its 2019 class in Tyson Etienne (No. 121).
He originally signed with UCLA, but was released from his letter of intent in the winter when coach Steve Alford was fired. Sherfield has narrowed his choices to WSU, Minnesota (led by former WSU assistant Kyle Lindsted, a longtime family friend who helped place Sherfield at Sunrise) and Wake Forest.
Sherfield has one official visit remaining but told The Eagle he doesn’t plan on using it and will likely make a final decision this week after talking with his family.
“I was really just looking to see how I would mesh with the players and to get to know Coach a lot better,” Sherfield said. “I’ve known him for about four years now, but I just wanted to talk with him some more. That conversation went very well. Coach Marshall thinks I have a chance to come in and help lead them. That’s always a good thing to hear from the head coach.”
Sophomore Dexter Dennis was Sherfield’s player host over the two days and Sherfield said the two instantly formed a bond. Whether it was playing pickup basketball or talking about life as a student-athlete, Dennis made a strong impression on Sherfield.
“He really took me under his wings and that was really cool to have him be my host,” Sherfield said. “The young core that they have coming back is phenomenal. And then they have Teddy Allen coming back too. It’s just a great young core.”
Wade was paired with senior Jaime Echenique as his player host. The two also hit it off, as Echenique could relate to Wade being a junior-college transfer himself.
“He showed me around and that’s a guy who understands the ropes at this point of his career,” Wade said. “He was kind of in the same situation last year at Wichita State, so he was able to talk to me about the fit. I’m looking for an opportunity to play next year and produce at a high-level, so I’m definitely interested in Wichita State.”
Wade is a 6-7, 210-pound wing who signed with UTEP out of high school but was a non-qualifier and had to sit out a season. He averaged 7.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in less than 18 minutes per game as a freshman in 2016-17, then transferred to South Plains Community College. Last season, Wade averaged 13.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 blocks as a sophomore.
While Wade offers some positional versatility, WSU made it clear to him how they envision him next season.
“When I came in the first person they said came to mind was Markis McDuffie,” Wade said. “They think I kind of play in the same style as him and I can replace him and make an impact right away.”
Right now WSU would be forced to play Dennis or Allen, both undersized for the post, or incoming freshman DeAntoni Gordon at power forward. Not only does Wade offer a few more inches to guard down low, but WSU would keep defensive versatility on the floor with Wade being able to switch any screen. He’s an ideal fit for how Marshall and the Shockers want to play going forward in the American Athletic Conference.
This was the first official visit for Wade, who said the only other visit he has planned is Florida this coming weekend. He’s heard from other high-major teams, but so far WSU and Florida are the teams at the top of his list.
“I don’t really have a timeline and I don’t want to rush it too fast, but I also don’t want to wait too long either,” Wade said. “I’m just looking around to find the best situation for me. But I think the situation at Wichita is not a bad one at all, it’s actually a great one.”