Shocker fans came out in droves for the first opportunity to meet the 2015-2016 Shockers for the first time at Shocker Madness 2015. In a celebratory start to the evening, the men’s team received their Sweet 16 rings, while the women’s team received their MVC Championship rings. Once the hardware was handed out, the men embarked on a 3-point contest in which transfer Conner Frankamp torched the nets, beating fan favorite Ron Baker for the 2015 title. The women’s team put on a show, dominating their male practice squad for the entirety of their scrimmage, followed by the dunk contest, where freshman Eric Hamilton upset sophomore Rashard Kelly to be crowned the Shocker dunk master. Hamilton and the other participants showed off their uberathleticism by jumping out of the gym for fans and guest judges, including the First Lady of Shocker Nation, Lynn Marshall, and former Shocker greats Jason Perez, Cleo Littleton, and Rob Kampman.
Wichita states Eric Hamilton dunking over Wu Shock. Slow motion pic.twitter.com/f2EK8ahd3W
— Christopher Bond (@BhrisCond) October 23, 2015
The evening’s finale was a scrimmage from the men’s team, where fans had the opportunity to get a glimpse of the new guys in action. Despite having completed a grueling but typical practice prior to Shocker Madness, all but five Shockers took the floor; Fred VanVleet, Tom Wamukota, Anton Grady, Shaq Morris, and Zach Brown supported their team from the sideline due to bruises, aches, and pains. This is of special importance as we recognize that those that were able to participate were playing on limited energy, explaining a few short shots during the scrimmage.
Things that stood out to me from the 20 minute scrimmage:
- Landry Shamet is confident with the ball. He drove to the rim well and has a good grasp of reading the rim for rebounds.
- Eric Hamilton and Markis McDuffie could easily be the next bookends. Hamilton has a much larger frame than McDuffie, but very similar in height. While Eric is a banger, McDuffie is more of a finesse guy. These two should prove dominant across the field.
- Peyton Allen is much bigger in person. Very similar in size to Wessel. Allen had a nice little turn around fade-away buzzer-beater to end his team’s possession. He’s definitely a player, and will be great for this year’s guards to practice against; next year, look for Allen to provide solid minutes.
- Ty Taylor is quick. Really, really quick. It will be nice to watch him develop his offensive game this year.
- Ron Baker was Ron Baker. Cool, calm, and collected. He looks more confident on the court which can be credited to another year of maturity and his Pan Am Games experience with Team USA. He guarded Frankamp extensively and shut him down.
- Conner Frankamp is a shooter. He had the ball in his hands during many of his squad’s offensive possessions. He missed more of his shots than I expected, but I think the factors of practicing earlier in the day, shooting 50 3’s during the 3-point contest, and having the best defender on the team in Ron Baker guarding him were reasons for his lack of efficiency. Frankamp will provide solid minutes this year and will open the floor for his teammates. VanVleet, Baker & Frankamp will be a scary back court this year.
- Rauno Nurger has definitely put back on the weight that he lost last year during his illness. His footwork looked improved and he appeared to be in position better in the post.
- Rashard Kelly’s offseason looked very productive. Shot looks better, body looks leaned out and he appeared to have the confidence and swagger of an upperclassmen.
- Evan Wessel’s transition into playing more small ball than bodying up with the big’s looks promising. He’s trimmed down a bit and is typical Evan Wessel. Hustles everywhere and is all business. This year’s roster should help him have better production than last year’s.
- Zach Bush showed off in the dunk contest and provided solid minutes during the scrimmage.
- John Robert Simon looks much better with the ball this year – very confident and didn’t make mistakes administering the offense. Simon and Bush are ready to rock the Mop-Up Minutes World Tour for one more season with VanVleet and Baker as their opening act.
— Tony Adame (@t_adame) October 23, 2015
— Tony Adame (@t_adame) October 23, 2015
— Tony Adame (@t_adame) October 22, 2015