All senior days at Wichita State should be judged against Dave Stallworth’s final home game in 1965.
40 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists in a 96-76 win over Louisville.
And the perfect words:
“It’s been my pleasure playing for you,” he said.
On Saturday, five Shockers seniors will play their final regular-season home game. Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet are the stars of the group that helped return Wichita State to the same heights it experienced during Stallworth’s run. While they probably won’t score 40 points as Stallworth did — or a WSU record 47 as Antoine Carr did in 1983 — this is their chance to make one final memory at Koch Arena.
Here are how some of their predecessors went out in front of the home fans:
Cleo Littleton — Feb. 22, 1955 vs. Oklahoma A&M at the Forum
Littleton, the first star of the modern era, scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a 41-39 win over the Aggies, one dubbed “old-fashioned, but soul-stirring” by The Wichita Eagle.
The game was also the school’s final one at the Forum in downtown. The WU Field House opened on campus the next season.
Al Tate — March 5, 1960 vs. Tulsa
Tate ended his career by setting a school record with 40 points in a 90-73 win in front of 3,461 fans.
He topped Littleton’s mark of 38 points by making 15 of 24 shots and 10 of 12 free throws.
Dave Stallworth — Jan. 30, 1965 vs. Louisville
Stallworth’s senior night came much too early. Because he joined the Shockers in mid-season in 1962, his eligibility expired after the first semester during the 1964-65 season, a decision former coach Ralph Miller later admitted was a mistake.
WSU played at Loyola on Jan. 29 and Stallworth scored 45 points in a 93-92 overtime loss. That road trip gave Louisville some hope, assistant coach John Dromo said.
“Either he will be up so high or the club will be down from the trip to Chicago,” Dromo said.
Turns out, Stallworth definitely got up for the Cardinals. He departed after making a three-point play with 35 seconds remaining to a standing ovation from the crowd of 10,456. He finished his career with 1,936 points, then second behind Littleton’s 2,164.
Stallworth received a gold basketball goal, a scrapbook, a trophy and an autograph game ball. University president Emory Lindquist spoke, as did Miller, who left WSU to coach at Iowa in 1964, WSU coach Gary Thompson and teammate Dave Leach.
“The pleasure I had working with Dave Stallworth will never be forgotten,” Miller said.
The Shockers played the rest of the season without their All-American and won the MVC title and advanced to the Final Four.
Warren (Armstrong) Jabali — Feb. 26, 1968 vs. Loyola
Armstrong turned in a typically all-around dominant game in a 95-88 win in front of 10,105 fans.
He scored 19 points, grabbed 19 rebounds and handed out 12 assists.
Bob Elmore — Feb. 26, 1977 vs. West Texas State
Fans arrived at Levitt Arena for “Bob Elmore Pizza Hut Ballot Night,” an effort to vote Elmore into a postseason all-star game in Las Vegas. He made his case with 17 points and 19 rebounds in a 74-66 win that clinched a home game in the first MVC Tournament.
Cheese Johnson — Feb. 17, 1979 vs. New Mexico State
WSU handed out 6,000 “Cheese on a stick” souvenirs to fans, who went home with a cutout picture of Johnson mounted on a stick. It was also the final regular-season home game for Bob Trogele and Steve Kalocinski.
Johnson played 40 minutes in an 86-84 win and scored 27 points with 13 rebounds.
Antoine Carr — March 5, 1983 vs. Southern Illinois
NCAA probation meant no postseason for the Shockers and Carr ended his career by torching the overmatched Salukis for 47 points. He broke Stallworth’s record of 46 by making 21 of 36 shots.
“He deserved it,” teammate Aubrey Sherrod said after the game. “He’s done it for four years. He brought the program on the rise … he deserved it.”
WSU retired his jersey No. 35 after the game.
“If you ever had a feeling you didn’t want to leave some place, that’s the feeling I had,” he said that night. “I really don’t want to leave because people have been so kind to me.”
Xavier McDaniel, Aubrey Sherrod and Karl Papke — Feb. 23, 1985 vs. Bradley
Bradley is the perfect senior night opponent for McDaniel, who delighted in big numbers against the Braves after coach Dick Versace questioned his rebounding stats.
McDaniel responded ferociously, capping his run with 33 points and 22 rebounds in a 75-65 win. As it did for Carr, WSU announced the retirement of McDaniel’s jersey No. 34.
“There’s just something about them, “ McDaniel said after a the game. “I usually end up scoring 30 or more points.”
Sherrod scored 17 points.
Jamar Howard, Randy Burns, Rob Kampman — Feb. 28 2005 vs. Northern Iowa
Not all senior nights end in storybook fashion.
Howard, Burns and Kampman played large roles in reviving a slumping program when they arrived in 2001. As seniors. they wanted to take the final step and return to the NCAA Tournament.
It looked good until WSU lost five of six games in February. The slump hit bottom in a 67-66 loss to Northern Iowa on a running three-pointer at the buzzer by Ben Jacobson (not the current coach).
“This hurts,” WSU coach Mark Turgeon said after the game. “This really hurts. We had the game in hand. We just didn’t finish.”
Paul Miller — Feb. 22, 2006 vs. Illinois State
WSU restored the fun of senior night with a 64-57 win over the Redbirds. The Shockers cut down the nets to celebrate the MVC title.
“It’s awesome,” Miller said. “I’m happy for the team. I’m happy for the coaches. I’m happy for the city of Wichita.”
Miller, on his way to MVC Player of the Year honors, scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds.
Toure Murry, Garrett Stutz, David Kyles, Ben Smith, Joe Ragland —Feb. 25, 2012 vs. Drake
The group that returned the Shockers to the top of the MVC went out with a 81-58 win on their way to the NCAA Tournament.
Smith scored 18 points, Stutz 14, Murry contributed 14 points and seven rebounds and Kyles 13 point. Ragland played the first half before a headache and cold relegated him to the training room most of the second half. He came back for the final seconds of the game, the celebration and net-cutting.
“This is a well-oiled machine of a basketball team,” coach Gregg Marshall said. “We don’t have Joe Ragland. So we win by 23.”
Carl Hall, Malcolm Armstead, Ehimen Orukpe, Demetric Williams — Feb. 27, 2013 vs. Evansville
Evansville knocked off the Shockers, 59-56, to deny them a share of the Valley title and sweep the season series. All on coach Gregg Marshall’s 50th birthday.
“Disappointing, ‘’ he said. “And that’s an understatement.’’
Marshall moved senior ceremonies from before the game to after following this loss.
Cleanthony Early, Chadrack Lufile, Nick Wiggins, Kadeem Coleby — March 1, 2014 vs. Missouri State
The Shockers finished the regular season 31-0 with a 67-42 win. Early scored 19 points and the Shockers added to their collection of MVC trophies and nets.
“That was pretty special, “ Marshall said. “This group really enjoys a challenge. They embrace the grind. It’s really an easy group to coach.”
Tekele Cotton, Darius Carter — Feb. 28, 2015 vs. Northern Iowa
ESPN’s College GameDay showed up at Koch Arena to hype the game between No. 10 Northern Iowa and No. 11 WSU. The Shockers wrapped up another MVC title with a 74-60 win.
Cotton said farewell with a windmill dunk in the final minutes.
“My mom was here and she told me I should do it, “ he said. “I thought I was going to miss it for a second.”
at Wichita State
- When: 1 p.m. Saturday
- Where: Koch Arena
- Records: ISU 18-12, 12-5 MVC; WSU 22-7, 15-2
- Radio: KEYN, 103.7-FM
- TV: ESPN2
- Senior day schedule: At halftime, the scoreboard will show a “Thank you” video from the seniors. After the game, the five seniors and their families will be honored, followed by a presentation of the MVC championship trophy and net-cutting.
at Wichita State
ISU: The Redbirds have won six of seven games, losing at Northern Iowa a week ago, to move into a tie with Evansville for second place. That stretch includes a 58-53 win over the Shockers on Feb. 6 at Redbird Arena. Lee scored 19 points and Hawkins 14 in that win. ISU scored 37 second-half points to overcome a 16-point deficit. The Redbirds rallied with a zone defense that held WSU to 1-of-14 shooting from three-point range in the second half. Illinois State outscored WSU by 13 points at the line and grabbed 13 offensive rebounds.… Lee is averaging 15.7 points and 4.2 assists the past six games. He scored a career-high 21 points in Wednesday’s 73-50 win over Southern Illinois.… The Redbirds lead the MVC by making 36.7 percent of their three-pointers in conference play. They also lead the conference in attempts (387) and makes (142).
Wichita State: The Shockers are shooting 49.2 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from three-point range in their past four games, all wins. Opponents are shooting 36.7 percent and 22.4 percent. WSU won those four games by an average margin of 29 points.… VanVleet went 2 for 10 from the field and scored seven points in the first meeting. Baker went 3 for 11 and scored 10. WSU shot 6 of 27 from three-point range, a low in MVC play. … The Shockers have won four straight games by 20 or more points, the fifth time in school history. For the season, they have won a program-best 15 by 20 or more, 11 of those in MVC play.
RPIs as of Friday: ISU 103, WSU 41