Wichita State’s men’s basketball team will play four exhibition games in Canada in August to start the post-Baker and VanVleet era.
The tour opens on Aug. 6 with a game against the University of Quebec at Montreal. On Aug. 7, WSU plays Carleton University in Ottawa before returning to Montreal for games against McGill University on Aug. 9 and the IndiSport All-Stars on Aug. 10.
By NCAA rule, WSU can practice 10 times before the trip. Coach Gregg Marshall considered taking the trip last summer before deciding it fit the needs of the 2016-17 team. The Shockers lost five seniors, including starters Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet, Evan Wessel and key reserve Anton Grady, from the 2015-16 team. Marshall will use the time to start to assemble a team that will include four new scholarship players, plus guard Peyton Allen, who redshirted last season.
NCAA Division I schools regularly visit Canada for exhibitions. Last August, Carleton lost to Murray State 63-59, Baylor 80-78 and Texas Tech 67-60. It defeated Valparaiso 77-59 and Baylor 79-73. McGill lost games to Valparaiso (80-60) and Texas Tech (54-46).
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The tour is organized by Damon Stephenson of IndiSport, a former assistant to Marshall at Winthrop. Tour packages are available through indisport.net.
WSU last took an exhibition tour in 2011, when it played five games in Brazil and went 3-2. In 2006, WSU played exhibition games in Vancouver.
A look at the newcomers
▪ Guard Daishon Smith (6-foot-1) earned All-Panhandle Conference honors for Tallahassee (Fla.) Community College. He averaged 16.2 points, making 41.7 percent of his shots and 37 percent of his threes, for Tallahassee (21-12). He averaged 5.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.3 turnovers.
▪ Pearl River (Miss.) Community College forward Darral Willis (6-8) was named to third-team NJCAA All-American, All-Region 23 and All-MACJC South Division. He averaged 18.4 points and 10.4 rebounds for the Wildcats (16-9), making 59 percent of his shots and 75.3 percent of his free throws.
▪ Guard C.J. Keyser (6-4) of Brewster (N.H.) Academy is listed as a three-star prospect by ESPN.com and 247sports.com. He averaged 10.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists for Brewster, which went 29-5.
▪ Cedar Ridge (Ark.) guard Austin Reaves (6-4) averaged 32.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists in leading his team to the Class 3A title. Reaves scored 56 or more four times, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, with a high of 73 against Forrest City in a 117-115 triple-overtime win in December.