Shockwaves

Wichita State practices reveal newcomers are ready to compete

Wichita State’s reserves may be a bigger part of the rotation this season. Coach Gregg Marshall is pleased with the progress of his sophomores and freshmen in summer practices.
Wichita State’s reserves may be a bigger part of the rotation this season. Coach Gregg Marshall is pleased with the progress of his sophomores and freshmen in summer practices. The Wichita Eagle

Wichita State’s summer basketball practices are almost complete. The Shockers are allowed two hours of week for basketball and six for conditioning and they will wrap up, along with summer school, this week.

The two most pleasing developments appear to be that the newcomers are ready to play hard and that their development could make for a deeper team this season.

“They seem to know how we compete,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. “That hasn’t been an issue at all. There were times last year when we had to teach certain guys how to compete. We haven’t had to do that with this group.”

It’s no surprise that Anton Grady and Conner Frankamp, players with college experience, are ready to go. The freshmen, particularly guard Landry Shamet and forward Markis McDuffie, are making strong impressions.

Shamet is an eager student of the game, always asking questions, and physical enough to play both guard spots and forward. McDuffie is long and athletic with range beyond the three-point line. The group of returners — players such as Zach Brown, Rashard Kelly and Bush Wamukota — who were newcomers appear ready to take on more minutes. Kelly is enjoying a fine summer, after a solid freshman season, in which he is expanding his offensive skills and improving his strength and conditioning.

“It’s certainly beneficial,” Marshall said. “The two hours are greatly appreciated. We’re working with the youngsters, teaching them our system and how we play.”

The result could be a team that looks a little more like the Marshall teams that went 10 (or more) deep as opposed to the 2015 version, which had three players average 30 or more minutes and four scored 70 percent of the points.

▪  The July recruiting period is in full swing and WSU’s needs are clear. The Shockers will lose five seniors: guards Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker, forwards Evan Wessel, Grady and Wamukota. While the 2016-17 depth chart features three players — Frankamp, Shamet and freshman Tyrone Taylor — who could play point guard, Marshall points out none have done so in college for significant time. In the post, Marshall will know much more about sophomores Shaq Morris and Rauno Nurger and their ability to hold down that position after this season. Freshman Eric Hamilton, who made good use of his season at Sunrise Christian Academy, is a power forward who could grow into an option at center.

“We’ve got to look for another point guard and another post,” Marshall said.

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