In Wichita State’s first game at Koch Arena this season, albeit an exhibition that doesn’t count, the Shockers won 82-43 and there never was any doubt that the outcome would be different. The sole purpose of the evening was to get some young players some valuable minutes. An exhibition game does not count towards their record, but also doesn’t count in games played for the players either. This is huge because if a coach is evaluating talent and picking and choosing who to red-shirt, the exhibition game becomes very important.
Every player that was eligible played except two; Toure Murry, out with his rib injury sustained during Shocker Madness, and Ede Egharevba who was not at the game. Coach Marshall has released a statement saying “Ede is deciding if he wants to be a part of our program.” From things that I know, it doesn’t look very promising for him to continue with the program unless an attitude change happens, but I think the door is still slightly cracked open for him to make the effort to rejoin the team. It’s really just kind of a head scratcher of a situation, because I think Ede would be a good fit into the system that the Shockers run, but if things don’t work I really wish him the best of luck wherever he decides to go.
On to player evaluations from the game, lets get this positivity party rolling.
Joe Ragland – 24 minutes – 10 pts – 5 rebs – 6 assists – 0 TO – 1 blk – His game was very solid. You can understand why he is the starting point guard, when he wasn’t in the game, the offense never fully achieved cohesion. Joe has superior vision, and has elevated his game from a year ago. He will be one of the best point guards in The Valley this year, with a very a nice assist to turnover ratio.
Garrett Stutz – 18 minutes – 10 pts – 5 rebs – 4 assists – 0 TO – 0 blk – Stutz played well, and put on a nice showcase of his new post playing skills he acquired in the off season. ESU’s tallest guy was 6’7” so it wasn’t much of a match up down low, and Garrett took advantage of it and often. One of his strongest qualities as a big man is that he has really good vision to kick the ball out to an open man. Notice he had 4 assists this game. Look for him to keep that trend through the year, maybe even more with an increase in minutes.
Ben Smith – 12 minutes – 8 pts – 3 rebs – 1 assist – 2 steals – Ben didn’t have as many minutes as the rest of the starters, but honestly I think it really goes to show how refined of a player Ben is this year. He rarely makes an error, and is always in the right spot. Smith will be a rock for this team, and his consistency will hopefully be contagious among the other players. He could very well be this years Graham Hatch.
David Kyles – 18 minutes – 5 pts – 3 rebs – 1 assist – 1 TO – 1 steal – Kyles had a fairly mundane outing. Hit a 3 pointer, and dunked one hard. To his credit he has had some type of medical issues these past couple weeks that could keep him from going 100%. He shot 50% from the field, and I think he will turn it up during an actual game. He’s such an explosive player.
Carl Hall – 20 minutes – 9 pts – 11 rebs – 2 assists – 1 blk – Carl is such a beast. He’s everything you want in a power forward. He’s explosive around the rim, he has a nose for boards, and he knows how to use his body and position to get fouled while going up for a put back. He was 5 for 5 from the line, and you could say that the refs tended to let play go on more so than I would expect, but it was an exhibition game, it makes sense. When we start into MVC play, watch for Hall to get to the line 10+ times some games.
Demetric Williams – 24 minutes – 7 pts – 2 rebs – 2 assists – 1 TO – 1 steal – Williams got a lot of time in the game, and rightfully so because he is in the running to take over the point next year, and Coach wants to get him as much time as he can. When he ran the offense I felt that he was calm, cool, and collected. He didn’t make many bad decisions, and made crisp passes. He will give the team some solid minutes in relief of Rags this year, and I think we can all be confident when he comes in that the offense will continue to work.
Evan Wessel – 16 minutes – 8 pts – 1 reb – 1 assist – 1 TO – 1 steal – Evan played very well for his first time in an official game at Koch. I could only imagine how it must have felt to come out on the court and make his first basket as a Shocker. He was surprisingly good! Surprisingly very good! He stroked a couple 3 pointers and got the crowd going with his shots. Coach Marshall is going to have a hard time redshirting him because I think with some more practice he could give solid minutes this year in relief.
James Anacreon – 12 minutes – 5 pts – 3 rebs – 2 TO – 2 blocks – 3 fouls – James is such a high energy player, and it shows in his stats even. In only 12 minutes of play he had 2 blocks, 2 turn overs, and 3 fouls. I think that he will be a role player on this team. He will get the place rocking when he comes in and sends a block to the rafters, but he will have a hard time getting more minutes than 10-12 if he keeps fouling like he does. I’ll call it controlled chaos. If he can control his energy to the point that it still allows him to play the way he does, but can keep from fouling so much, he could see a very big increase in minutes, especially in relief of Hall at the 4.
Ehimen Orukpe – 13 minutes – 3 pts – 6 rebs – 2 TO – 3 blocks – 1 steal – Ehimen played a superb game! Probably the best I’ve seen him play in a game setting. He was a beast around the rim on defense, and he played under control and didn’t have a single foul. If he can continue to improve over the season, he could really see the court a lot this year. The ability for this team to just exchange one seven footer for the next seven footer, could be one of the lasting impressions of this team at the end of the season if we end up dancing in March.
Ron Baker – 16 minutes – 3 pts – 1 reb – 2 assists – 1 TO – 1 steal – 1 blk – Baker is a player. No other way to put it. The guy comes in and impresses every single game. Out of the freshman, Ron Baker and Evan Wessel were the most impressive in the game. Baker seemed to make few mistakes and tends to make good decisions much more of the time than not. His one assist was outstanding, and he hit two 3 pointers during the game.
Tekele Cotton – 15 minutes – 6 pts – 1 reb – 2 assists – 1 TO – 3 steals – Tekele played one hell of a game last night. He is an amazing defensive player, and Coach Marshall loves a strong defense. Look for Cotton to get some minutes this year, especially if he keeps up the hard nosed defense. That’s a sure way to work yourself into the lineup with Coach Marshall. The most memorable play of the night was a steal by Tekele with a drive down the court and a lay up by Cotton where he used his body to shield the ball from the defender. He looked like a senior on that play, not a freshman.
Jake White – 11 minutes – 2 pts – 2 rebs – 4 fouls – Jake had an off night tonight, that’s pretty much all you can say about it. I’m not sure if he was banged up with an injury, or if nerves got to him, or if it was just an off night which everyone has, but he didn’t play like I expected him to. The biggest no-no of the evening was his sloppy defensive play, racking up 4 fouls in only 11 minutes of play. The redeeming moment of the night was his silky sweet jump shot he hit from about 8 feet out. He’s automatic with that shot, be prepared to see that shot over and over for the next 4 years. I’m not disappointed because I know it was just an off game for him.
Randall Vautravers – 9 minutes – 3 pts – 1 reb – 2 assists – Randall, the local walk-on, hit a big 3 pointer and I was happy for him to get some points in the game. He really has a nice 3 point stroke, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes in the game during some 3 point set-plays. He’s a solid practice player, and he really hustles on the court.
For the regular season games I won’t be going as deep into an entire roster evaluation, I’m doing this since the season is new, and this is the time where we need to be evaluating the new talent. Expect key player analysis and some game recaps for future post-game analysis.
Join me and the rest of ShockerNet in discussing the game over at: ShockerNet