A couple of weeks ago, I produced a list of the 10 greatest Wichita State basketball players from the Gregg Marshall era, which is obviously ongoing and subject to revision.
That list sparked a lot of debate, which is what good lists do. So in the coming weeks, I’ll be putting together lists – one man’s humble opinions – of the best players in other eras of Shocker coaching, starting today with the 10 best from the Mark Turgeon era, which encompasses 2000-01 through 2006-07.
To make a list, a player has to have spent the majority of his career playing for a particular coach. Or, let’s say a player spent two seasons each with a particular coach. In that case, a player’s best seasons will be the deciding factor.
Here we go with the Turgeon Top 10:
10. Aaron Hogg, F (2002-04) – Hogg was a junior college transfer whose role was to score points off the bench. Sometimes he was really good at doing so, sometimes he struggled. As a junior in 2002-03, Hogg averaged 12.2 points per game and was a cog in helping WSU reach the NIT, its first postseason berth in 14 years. But he wasn’t quite as good as a senior, averaging 8.3 points. Still, Hogg did a good job giving the Shockers what he was recruited to give them – instant offense as a deep-range shooter.
9. Jerome “Fridge” Holman, PG (2002-04) – Holman was one of the most colorful Shockers ever, a point guard who played with the flare that matched his charismatic personality. He also had talent and became the Shockers’ starter late during his junior season after transferring from Trinity Valley Community College in Texas. Holman averaged 10.4 points and 5.3 assists as a senior in 2003-04, when the Shockers won 21 games, topping 20 victories for the first time since 1987-88.
8. Rob Kampman, F (2001-05) – Kampman played in 121 games during his career and was one of the first of Turgeon’s recruits who helped set a foundation for the program, along with Jamar Howard, Randy Burns and Paul Miller. Kampman just missed 1,000 points for his career, finishing with 974. He averaged 8.0 points and 4.4 rebounds during his four seasons and shot 49 percent from the field.
7. Sean Ogirri, G (2004-07) – Ogirri was one of Turgeon’s top recruits and signed with the Shockers after an outstanding high school career in Denver. He spent three seasons at WSU with Turgeon, but transferred to Wyoming for his senior season after Turgeon left Wichita State for Texas A&M following the 2006-07 season. As a Shocker, Ogirri was at his best as a three-point threat, making 44.2 percent of his attempts as a sophomore and averaging 12 points per game as a key part of the Shockers’ 26-9 team that reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
6. Matt Braeuer, PG (2004-08) – Braeuer was the tough floor general on Turgeon’s best Shocker teams, playing in 96 games during his first three seasons and hitting a huge game-winner against Creighton on Feb. 14, 2006, to give the Shockers a 62-61 overtime win. Braeuer was a senior as Wichita State transitioned to Gregg Marshall in 2007-08. Though he missed several games because of a concussion, Braeuer averaged a career-high 12 points per game that season and finished his Shocker career with 744 points and 309 assists.
5. Kyle Wilson, F (2004-07)– Wilson transferred from Illinois after his freshman season and had three outstanding seasons as a Shocker, averaging 11.6 points and five rebounds during his career. He averaged 13.7 points and 5.2 rebounds as a senior and was a career 45.5 percent shooter from the field, 38 percent shooter from three-point range and 84 percent shooter from the free-throw line. Steadiness and consistency were Wilson’s biggest traits. He rarely had a bad game.
4. Randy Burns, G (2001-05) – Burns exemplifies the Shockers’ rise in stature under Turgeon more than perhaps any other player. He played in 124 games during his WSU career, including 115 starts, and scored 1,599 points, the eight-most in Wichita State history. Burns averaged at least 12.1 points per game in each of his four seasons, including a career-high 15.1 points as a sophomore in 2002-03. Burns made 39.2 percent of his three-point attempts and his 248 treys are the most in Shocker history.
3. P.J. Couisnard, G-F (2004-08) – Couisnard is one of the best all-around players in Shocker history – an outstanding scorer, rebounder, passer and defender who averaged 10.3 points and 5.4 rebounds during his career. Couisnard was a key part of Wichita State’s Sweet 16 season in 2005-06, when he averaged 10.2 points and 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists as a sophomore. He spent his senior season playing for Gregg Marshall and averaged a career-high 13.4 points in 31 games.
2. Jamar Howard, F (2001-05) – Nobody played with more energy than Howard, who became the Shocker player fan bases around the Missouri Valley Conference loved to hate. He averaged 12.7 points and 5.7 rebounds during his career and was a two-time All-MVC first-team choice. He shot 53 percent from the field in 124 games, 117 of them starts. Howard loved to be physical and didn’t back off from anyone. That endeared him to Shocker fans, but not so much to opposing players and fans. He was jeered when he visited other arenas, but the hatred fueled his fire and he often played at an even higher level on the road. Howard finished his WSU career with 1,571 points (ninth all-time) and 711 rebounds, just missing the top 10.
1. Paul Miller, C (2001-06) – Miller was the Missouri Valley Conference player of the year as a senior in 2005-06, the Shockers’ Sweet 16 season, when he averaged 13.1 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 51.2 percent from the field. His basketball career started slowly, derailed by injuries, but he steadily improved and has had a long professional career overseas. The 6-foot-10 Miller was often criticized by WSU fans early on, when he seen as too passive for such a big man. But as his confidence improved, so did his aggression and Miller was one of the toughest players in the Valley by his junior and senior seasons.
What do you think? As you can see, the Turgeon era produced a lot of good players – transformative players in Shocker basketball history. Your opinions are always welcome.
Thanks for reading – BL