Wichita State scrimmaged Brookwood Elite on Monday night at College Jean-de-Brebeuf, a game added to the schedule late to give the WSU reserves a chance to play. The Shockers won 87-63.
▪ Coach Gregg Marshall gave his veterans the option to sit out. Shaq Morris and Rashard Kelly chose not to play.
▪ Darral Willis led the Shockers with 18 points. Conner Frankamp scored 15, with Daishon Smith adding 14, Eric Hamilton 12 and Landry Shamet 11. Complete box scores were not kept because of the informal nature of the scrimmage.
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▪ Brookwood Elite is a Canadian AAU team. NCAA rules allowed the Shockers, on this exhibition tour, to play them in a game. Recruiting contact was prohibited, said tour organizer Damon Stephenson. WSU originally planned to practice in the Brebuef gym at the same time as Brookwood Elite. The MVC advised the Shockers that playing the team was safer according to NCAA rules.
▪ Many of the same defensive breakdowns from Sunday’s loss at Carleton University bothered the Shockers early in the game. They had a hard time keeping the AAU athletes from driving and scoring. WSU tightened up and took over in the second quarter to lead 34-29 at halftime.
▪ WSU’s press was again effective and the turnovers it created helped expand the lead in the second half.
▪ Frankamp made a four-point play to give WSU a 48-31 lead and force a Brookwood Elite timeout. He made a defensive play that stood out to me, throwing his body in between a screen and dribbler to try and disrupt a dribble handoff. Good, physical defense.
He also made a three to end the third quarter, benefiting when a defender left him open to chase another Shocker. That won’t happen often for Frankamp, whose shooting ability will lead almost every scouting report. On Sunday, Carleton, which did scout the Shockers, blanketed him.
Frankamp and Shamet offer the potential to grow into a high-powered scoring backcourt. Both are good shooters. Shamet appears to be gaining more confidence in his driving ability and Frankamp is good at finding open spots. If those two develop a chemistry with drive-and-dishes, they can torment defenses. It might be a case where neither one is a pure point guard, but together they make it work.
▪ Smith put together a nice sequence to help the Shockers pull away in the third quarter. He ran the pick and roll with Hamilton and his bounce pass got Hamilton a dunk for a 50-37 lead. On WSU’s next trip, he beat his defender into the lane to get Zach Brown a good look at the basket. Smith’s three-pointer, from Brown on a fast break, gave the Shockers a 56-37 edge.
Smith is fast, really fast.
Shockers assistants don’t think they’ve had anybody who could beat him in a sprint. The names who came up as challengers included Demetric Williams, Matt Braeuer and Tekele Cotton. Those guys ran fast. I think Smith is faster.
Marshall wants to see more of it in all situations. In his mind, Smith isn’t using his best asset to maximum effectiveness. Sometimes he’s not hustling. Other times, he’s out of control.
The knock on Smith in junior college was shooting. His shot looks good to me and he’s been accurate in Canada.
▪ Willis finished the game with two strong moments. The Shockers ran a good play, and he helped with a solid screen, to produce a dunk. Seconds later, he powered over two defenders to grab an offensive rebound and score. Marshall is regularly on Willis to rebound with two hands.
Willis often prefers to reach with one hand and he’s lost several rebounds during the trip when he can’t secure the ball.
Willis owns some crafty left-handed moves and a soft touch. He is too easily bumped off his line when trying to score in the lane now. When he adjusts to that physical defense and picks up WSU’s system, he will be an effective scorer from many places on the court.
▪ Hamilton is at his best when he can get to open spaces. Give him a few steps and a clear lane to the basket and he can fly.
In traffic, he’s not as effective and that holds him back in the half-court offense. He doesn’t protect the ball from defenders and isn’t able to use his height and leaping ability when guarded closely.
▪ Walk-on Kaelen Malone ended the game on high note by driving into the lane and finding Zach Bush cutting to the basket with a nifty pass for a layup.