Wichita State Shockers

WSU planning on taking Asbjorn Midtgaard home next summer with foreign trip: Marshall

The next foreign trip is in the books and Wichita State is headed to Denmark and Spain next summer, according to Gregg Marshall.

Marshall revealed plans for WSU’s upcoming summer plans on Monday morning at the American Athletic Conference media day in Philadelphia when discussing his non-conference scheduling philosophy.

After saying he wants to schedule tough teams in the non-conference to “harden” his team up before conference play, Marshall said “we’re going to take a foreign trip this coming summer to Denmark to take the Big Dane home and then we’re going to go to Barcelona as well.”

The Big Dane in this case is Asbjorn Midtgaard, the 7-foot center from Helsingor, Denmark who will be a senior heading into the 2020-21 season.

The summer trip will give WSU a head start preparing for the season, as the NCAA allows teams to practice 10 times before the trip on top of the game experience WSU will pick up in Denmark and Spain.

Programs are permitted to take foreign exhibition trips once every four years and the Shockers are eligible next summer. WSU played four games in Canada in 2016, five games in Brazil in 2011 and four games in Vancouver in 2006.

Here are other Marshall quotes from his press tour at AAC media day on Monday.

On the impact of the 3-point line moving back...

“I don’t think it’s impacted us that much. Our guys let it fly regardless. We shoot it a couple feet behind the line. We played four games in the NIT where they used it as an experimental rule and I didn’t see much difference there. I had a very young team last year and I had a problem especially when we played on courts with the NBA 3-point line. They wanted to show people what they couldn’t do.

“I think guys will adjust to it. I do have one player that I’ve suggested it might be a step and a half too much for him. He’s a pretty good mid-range shooter. He’s still a freshman, so it’ll take awhile. The only problem I see with it is shooting the ball in the corner is a really difficult shot now. A lot of people teach for right-handed shooters the left-right foot movement, but you have to be almost a Craig Hodges stick-the-landing-with-two-feet type of shooter in the corner. Otherwise, there’s going to be a lot of people stepping out of bounds.”

On Wichita State’s fan support...

“It’s one of the reasons I came. I remember in 2006 when the Shockers went to the Sweet 16, I was in the same regional and I saw the tremendous fan support. I went out for a visit and I see they had sold out for four or five straight years when (Mark Turgeon) was here and building the program. I have not coached in a game less than a sellout for 12 years. It’s an incredible atmosphere and one of the things that’s amazing about our fans is last year with our youth and inexperience, we played some really ugly basketball for several months to start the season. Our fans never wavered. They actually helped me raise that young group of freshmen. In the end, by not abandoning those guys, they helped them turn their season around and help them have success in the latter part of the season.”

On his favorite NCAA Tournament moment...

“In 2013 when we beat the No. 1 seed (Gonzaga) in the whole tournament in Salt Lake City to go to the Sweet 16. We were down seven with under eight minutes and we came back and scored like 23 points in nine possessions. When the Shocker band cranked up ‘You don’t want to go to war with the Shockers’ and all of our guys were dancing and I was talking to the young lady from CBS and my family rushed out, that was a pretty cool moment.”

On last year’s experience...

“I had 10 new players last year and it was two springs ago it was like the worst spring ever for a college basketball coach. If it could go wrong, it went wrong. I had like five firsts in my college coaching career. We were really young last year. We had a bunch of neophytes. The objective is to get old and stay old and we were able to do that for a handful of years and hopefully we’re headed to that again. We have five freshmen and five sophomores and all of them can play. There may not be any (NBA) lottery picks, but there could be if they keep developing and working. What we need to do is keep this core together and hopefully we’re good this year and can continue that for the foreseeable future.”

On the outlook of this season...

“The returners have enjoyed some success down the stretch of last year. They felt the difference from last year early when we couldn’t make a basket or win a game to going on the road and beating some really good teams in the NIT. Now I think our guys understand how it feels to win and what that can do for a program and you individually.

Our freshmen are very dynamic. They’ve come in and really picked things up quickly. They’re precocious. They do a great job of working hard every day and I think they’re going to blend in very well with these returners. We have a chance to have a special team.”

On replacing Markis McDuffie...

“Trey Wade has really shown in the last handful of practices he’s going to be a core guy, if not a starter. He’s a good basketball player. He does everything well. He’s not spectacular in any one thing, but he does everything well. He has very few weaknesses and he’s just a wonderful kid. I’ve got 16 guys on my team and they’re all tremendous people and they’re all working extremely hard. They’re very coachable. They’re great people on and off the court and they make it a lot of fun to come into work every day.”

On his non-conference scheduling philosophy...

“It’s almost like we’re back in the Valley where we had to (schedule tough). We don’t have to do that in the American, but we’re still scheduling like that. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I want to play the best. I want these guys to be hardened when it gets to conference season. Last year it was a mistake. We scheduled over our heads with our inexperience and youth. This year we should have some exciting pre-conference games.”

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