Highlights from the first practice of WSU alumni basketball team
Former Wichita State players from different eras of Gregg Marshall’s tenure with the Shockers came together on Monday evening at Koch Arena for their first practice as the Aftershocks, a WSU alumni team competing for a $2 million grand prize in The Basketball Tournament.
The Aftershocks were selected to host one of eight regionals in the tournament with games starting Thursday, July 25 and also featuring alumni teams from Kansas, Kansas State, Marquette and Colorado. Single session and all-session tickets are still available on GoShockers.com.
About half of the roster was in attendance for Monday’s practice with 2018 graduates Conner Frankamp, Zach Brown and Rashard Kelly, 2012 graduate Garrett Stutz and 2011 graduate J.T. Durley. The team’s only non-Shocker, Shannon Shorter, was also there with coach Karon Bradley, who played at WSU from 2004-07, leading the practice.
“I’ve been all around the world and played in front of thousands of fans and played for years overseas, but there’s no place like home,” Stutz said. “Koch Arena is home for all of us. We’re all really excited to be back and play in front of our home fans.”
Bradley said he expects the rest of the team to join practice on Tuesday with Malcolm Armstead (2013 graduate), Clevin Hannah (2010), Cleanthony Early (2014), Toure’ Murry (2012), Tekele Cotton (2015) and Shaquille Morris (2018) all expected to play.
Being back together was a special feeling for Frankamp, Brown and Kelly, who most recently led the Shockers to a 25-8 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance in the 2017-18 season.
The Aftershocks open TBT play on Thursday, July 25 at approximately 8 p.m. when they play Iowa United.
“We’ve had some good memories together the last few years at Wichita State,” Frankamp said. “Hopefully we can make some more by getting out of the regional. I’m sure these guys will be ready and put on a good show for the crowd.”
“It’s a cool nostalgic feeling, for sure,” Brown said. “I’m excited to be here. I know the fans are excited to see us play again. I hope everyone comes and supports us since this is a first-time thing.”
Since they were limited to six players, Monday’s practice featured light work. The players went through stretches, a couple of shooting drills, then concluded the night with a 3-on-3 pick-up game featuring Shorter, Kelly and Stutz against Frankamp, Brown and Durley.
For Bradley, who created the Aftershocks, it was exhilarating to finally see his dream turn into reality on Monday.
“It’s an exciting time right now to have the guys back,” Bradley said. “We just want to get in a great rhythm. We don’t have a lot of practice time, but that’s why I set this up to try to get as much as possible. We’re going to get up and down and try to start flowing together. It will be tough because we have different eras coming together, but we’ll make it work.”
And for the players, the incentive is obvious.
“2 million dollars over the summer time?” Kelly said. “I mean, that would pay for all of the money I spent this summer.”