Wichita State Shockers
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #84
Conference Rank: #4 Missouri Valley
Wichita State Team Page
Wichita State only lost six games during the entire 2011-2012 campaign. Two of those came in November against Alabama and Temple and two came at the end of the year, to Illinois State in the MVC Tournament and VCU in their opener in the NCAA Tournament. In the middle, this was a very good team that won the conference title and knocked off teams like UNLV and Davidson on top of all of their conference foes. The top five scorers are gone from that team, but Coach Gregg Marshall does not rebuild. He will have some new faces who are ready to defend their MVC title.
2011-12 Record: 27-6, 16-2
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Gregg Marshall
Coach Record: 109-62 at Wichita State, 303-144 overall
But there will certainly be questions and chemistry to work out with all of the departed players. The backcourt trio of Joe Ragland, Toure’ Murry and David Kyles were potent offensively and defensively. Ragland was an amazing shooter, knocking down 50.4 percent of his shots from long range and Kyles eventually turned into a great shooter off of the bench. Forward Ben Smith was a fine shooter too and that is where this team may run into some problems. Ragland, Kyles and Smith were pretty established shooters heading into in the 2011-2012 campaign. Despite all of the talent coming in, nobody is an established shooter at this level. The biggest loss is that of seven-footer Garrett Stutz. He finally lived up to his potential as a senior, averaging 13.3 points and 8.0 rebounds. The offense worked through Stutz in the post and he will be very difficult to replace. It is not every day that a seven-footer who can shoot walks on campus, although the Shockers do not lack the seven-footer.
This is where the reloading happens. A great recruiting class, combined with some transfers, has not been uncommon in Wichita and it has worked very, very well in the past. Malcolm Armstead, a transfer from Oregon, will add a lot of experience and leadership. Armstead is not going to shoot like Ragland, but he is a great defender, a solid playmaker and a good scorer mid-range and in. Fred Van Vleet is a highly touted newcomer and the point guard of the future. He should see quality minutes at the point as a freshman. Coach Marshall needed to fill a hole at the small forward spot as well and he went out and picked up a couple superb junior college transfers. Cleanthony Early had a great career in the juco ranks and is expected to continue that at the DI level. As high as some of the expectations are on many of the junior college transfers heading into Wichita State, the big 6-8 small forward deserves all of the hype. Early will not shoot as well as Smith, but he should be a much better all-around scorer. Fellow junior college transfer Nick Wiggins will provide plenty of quality depth. Incoming freshman Derail Green will have to bide his time. Early can also play at the four spot and that may be necessary pending on the development of the big men. As far as the newcomers are concerned, Chadrack Lufile is the likely impact player, but he will probably just eat up some minutes. At 6-9 and 240 pounds, the juco transfer has some experience and that is enough to provide at least some defensive depth. Freshmen Deontae Hawkins and Henry Uwadiae will not likely crack the regular rotation this year.
Who to Watch:
The difference between battling for a MVC title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament or having to settle for the NIT will be the development of the post players. Carl Hall is a bruising power forward who started 19 games last season, averaging 8.4 points and 5.0 rebounds. On this team Hall is pretty much as known of a commodity as this team is going to get. The real player to watch is seven-footer Ehimen Orukpe. Last season he averaged just 1.3 points and 2.1 rebounds in under eight minutes per game. WSU is hoping for a Stutz like rise during his senior season. If Orukpe fails to have a half way decent senior season, Hall will have to play in the post quite a bit, leaving Early to spend more time at the four. Evan Wessel, a 6-5 small forward, could then have to play a bit more than expected at the three spot.
The losses on the perimeter should be easier to replace. Demetric Williams and Tekele Cotton are both brimming with potential after being mostly stuck behind players like Murry and Kyles. Williams did start 23 games last season and is a very capable backup point guard. He should spend some time there, but he is also a decent shooter who can pick up the slack left behind by shooters Ragland, Kyles and Smith. Cotton was the only freshman to work his way into the regular rotation in 2011-2012 and could turn into a fine scoring threat now that he will be given the opportunity to see major minutes. This is potentially a very deep team and how quickly they can come together and form a cohesive unit will make all of the difference. Coach Marshall may have some tough decisions to make when it comes down to dwindling the regular rotation down to a manageable nine or ten players by conference season. But this team will not have the luxury of losing too many games early in the season if they have hopes for another at-large berth. However, by the time the MVC convenes in St. Louis, nobody will want to play Wichita State.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Malcolm Armstead, Senior, Guard, DNP last season
Demetric Williams, Senior, Guard, 5.5 points per game
Cleanthony Early, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Carl Hall, Senior, Forward, 8.4 points per game
Ehimen Orukpe, Senior, Center, 1.3 points per game