The annual Shocker Madness is set to take place on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Koch Arena.
The Wichita State men’s basketball team will have a ring ceremony, receiving their championship rings for winning the Missouri Valley last season. That will be followed by a three-point contest, a dunk contest, and a 15-minute scrimmage by the men’s and women’s teams.
C.J. Keyser, a sophomore from Baltimore, has been brainstorming ways to make the dunk contest the signature event of the night.
“I’m definitely going to put on a show,” Keyser said. “I might try to jump over somebody, put it between my legs a few times, some 360s, might throw it off the side of the backboard. You never know.”
Keyser has been labeled the dunk favorite by his teammates, although Zach Brown and Rod Brown will attempt to give him some competition. A new champion will be crowned after two-time champion Eric Hamilton transferred to UNC Greensboro in the offseason.
After Keyser’s bid last year fell short when he couldn’t complete a dunk over 6-10 teammate Rauno Nurger, he says he has learned from last season.
“My legs were too tired by the end, so I might start with that this year,” Keyser said. “It’s all about technique. You can’t jump too early or too late. You have to know when to jump when you know you can go up there, catch the ball, and slam it in the hole.”
Austin Reaves and Kaelen Malone are expected to be among the challengers to Conner Frankamp in the three-point contest. Frankamp has won the event the last two seasons. The women’s three-point field is expected to be Rangie Bessard, Diamond Lockhart, Jeliah Preston, and Tamara Lee.
The scrimmage will also be a chance for WSU’s three newcomers — junior-college transfer Samajae Haynes-Jones and freshmen Asbjorn Midtgaard and Rod Brown — to acclimate themselves to Koch Arena with a crowd.
“I’m definitely excited to play in front of people on this court,” Midtgaard said. “Right now I’m excited, but I’m sure I will be nervous once I run out of the tunnel.”
The 15-minute scrimmage won’t be much, but players on the team said it has helped them transition to the Division I game in the past.
“We want to put out a good product of course, but it’s also a time for those guys to play for the first time in front of the public,” guard Landry Shamet said. “It’s a chance to have a little fun. I remember my first Shocker Madness how it was kind of a relief almost to get some of the jitters out of the way.”
After a sloppy end to Tuesday’s practice, coach Gregg Marshall had a warning for fans Wednesday night.
“Hopefully we don’t injure anyone at Shocker Madness,” Marshall said. “I’m not talking about players, I’m talking about people in the front row.”
Changes to the fan experience — Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and it’s probably wise to arrive a little earlier than in the past, as Wichita State will debut new security measures that will be adopted for this season.
For Wednesday, fans will enter from the main and east entrances then pass through metal detectors. A new bag policy will also be implemented, as no bags bigger than 14 inches by 14 inches by six inches will be allowed. All bags are subject to search.
Starting this summer, Wichita State is now a tobacco-free campus and there will be no smoking allowed outside the arena. WSU has a no re-entry policy to its sporting events.