Landry Shamet

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Wave of injuries has crippled Wichita State early in season

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall abhors excuses, so when asked what needs to change to get his team back on track, he first mentions creating better shots and defending better.

Then, almost as an aside, he adds: “I hope we’re done with injuries.”

Perhaps no other team in major college basketball has weathered more of them during the first few weeks of the season. Star point guard Fred VanVleet is hobbled by a hamstring, backup Landry Shamet had a stress fracture in his left foot that landed him on crutches and forward Anton Grady may never play the game again after a frightening injury during a tournament in Florida.

No surprise that the Shockers, ranked 10th in the preseason poll, have lost four of their past five games to drop out altogether. Their only win during that stretch came against Emporia State, a Division II school not far from their campus in southeastern Kansas.

“We are missing a lot of key guys,” said Markis McDuffie, a freshman forward. “But we’re not going to sit here and say the whole (reason for the losses) was because of injuries.”

That wouldn’t be the Wichita State way.

The Shockers have made a habit of overcoming adversity the past few years. They’ve rattled off three straight 30-win seasons, each capped by an NCAA Tournament trip, even though it has only been recently that many have begun to give Marshall and his troops credit for their accomplishments.

Another 30-win season is a longshot at this point. Instead, the Shockers (2-4) are just hoping to get healthy enough to make a run in the Missouri Valley Conference, and earn another trip to the tournament in the final season for Baker, VanVleet and the rest of their seniors.

“We’re not performing to our capabilities, even though we’re missing a lot of key guys,” McDuffie said. “We’re going to keep fighting and practicing, and we’re definitely going to knock off this losing streak. It’s a wake-up call. No one expected this.”

VanVleet dealt with an ankle injury at the start of the season before the hamstring issue cropped up. He missed the entire Advocare Invitational in Florida – the Shockers lost all three games – and was still hobbled in practice this week. His status for Saturday’s game at Saint Louis remains in question.

“He’s doing stuff on the side during practice,” Marshall said. “He’s running a bit and working with the trainers. It’s protocol to get as conditioned as possible without harming the hamstring. I don’t know (if he’ll play Saturday). There’s a chance, but I don’t know.”

There is no chance that Shamet will be on the court anytime soon.

The talented freshman guard averaged 8.7 points in the Shockers’ first three games. He complained of pain on the outside of his foot for about a week before the fracture was discovered.

Marshall indicated the timetable for recovery is 10 to 12 weeks.

Asked about the state of his backcourt, Marshall replied: “Depleted, short-handed, inexperienced other than Ron. We’re moving small forwards into the backcourt just to have enough guys. … To have Fred and then Landry go down is a lot for us to overcome.”

Then came the injury to Grady, by far the most serious.

The transfer from Cleveland State collided with an Alabama player in the final minutes of their game last week. Grady took a few steps before falling to the court, and teammates heard him say that he couldn’t move. He was loaded onto a stretcher and transported to an Orlando hospital, and CT scans and an MRI exam revealed that he had sustained a spinal concussion.

Grady was able to fly back to Wichita with the team, and the senior hopes to continue playing basketball. But for now, his immediate future involves rehabilitation.

“I don’t know if he’ll play again, or if so, then when,” Marshall said. “I’ll leave that up to the doctor’s decisions – his family, trainers and him.”

For now, the Shockers are forced to press on without him.

Without Shamet and VanVleet, too.

“Once we know who’s going to be out on the floor,” Marshall said, “we’ve got to come up with an attack that’s going to create easier scoring opportunities than the ones we’re getting. We’ve got to shoot the ball better and execute better. I hope we’re done with additional injuries. It seems like we’ve been going backward for a while.”

Report: Former Kansas guard Conner Frankamp transferring to Wichita State

Conner Frankamp (Getty Images)
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Conner Frankamp will continue his collegiate career in the state of Kansas, as he will transfer to Wichita State.

Paul Sullentrop and Bob Lutz of the Wichita Eagle reported the transfer on Monday evening. The news was later confirmed by a multiple other media outlets.

“I think Coach (Gregg) Marshall can improve my game quite a bit,” Frankamp told the paper. “I’ve been very impressed with how Ron (Baker) and Fred (VanVleet) have developed as players. I think they have a good chance to get to the league (NBA).”

In his lone season at Kansas, Frankamp averaged 2.5 points in 8.3 minutes per game. During the 2014 NCAA Tournament, he saw a spike in play time, logging an average of 21.5 minutes per game in the Jayhawks’ two contests. Those games — a win over Eastern Kentucky and an upset loss to Stanford — saw Frankamp score in double figures with 10 and 12 points, respectively; the only time he would do so that season. Against the Cardinal, Frankamp came alive from three, knocking down 4-of-7 shots from beyond the arc.

Frankamp returned to Lawrence for his sophomore season, but the KU back court looked to be crowded despite the departure of Naadir Tharpe. Fellow sophomore Frank Mason had assumed the starting role and Devonte Graham, a four-star prospect, became a late addition after he finally received his release from his National Letter of Intent from Appalachian State. Frankamp announced his decision to transfer on Oct. 31. In addition to the Shockers, he was also reportedly considering Colorado.

He will have three years of eligibility remaining. According to the Wichita Eagle, Frankamp will be eligible for the second semester of next season.

Frankamp joins an incoming class for Gregg Marshall that consists of top-100 shooting guard Landry Shamet, point guard Tyrone Taylor, wing Markis McDuffie and power forward Eric Hamilton, all three-star recruits, according to Rivals.

With Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker likely returning for their senior seasons, the addition of Frankamp will give the Shockers another talented perimeter attack in 2015-2016.

Wichita State gets commitment from three-star 2015 point guard

The Shockers (AP Photo)

Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall, for the second time this month, received a verbal commitment from a guard.

On Sunday, Tyrone Taylor, a Kansas City native, committed to Wichita State, according to Evan Daniels of He joins top-100 shooting guard Landry Shamet, who picked the Shockers on Sept. 3 and three-star power forward Eric Hamilton in Marshall’s current recruiting class. Wichita State is also a finalist for small forward Markis McDuffie

The 6-foot-3 Taylor is at Hargrave Military Academy (Virginia) for a post graduate year. Teammate Trey Grundy announced his college pick an hour earlier on Sunday, pledging to UNC-Wilmington, per Jeff Goodman of ESPN.

According to Rivals, Taylor also had offers from Creighton, Indiana State, Minneosta, Missouri State and Tulsa among others.

Wichita State has two guards, who will add depth to the back court in 2015-2016. Unless either Ron Baker or Fred VanVleet (he’s projected as a 2015 second round pick) declares for the NBA Draft after this season, Shamet and Taylor will have two experienced senior guards to play behind when they arrive on campus.

Wichita State lands commitment from top 100 two-guard

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Gregg Marshall has landed his second commitment in the Class of 2015, as Missouri-native Landry Shamet announced that he will be playing his college ball for the Shockers.

“Officially committed to Wichita State!” Shamet tweeted. “Glad to be part of Shocker Nation!”

Shamet is a 6-foot-4 wing that plays his high school ball at Park Hill HS (Mo.) and ran with the KC Pumas during the AAU season. He’s the No. 87 recruit in the class, according to Rivals, and should be a good fit for the Shockers. He’s an off-guard with a good perimeter stroke and an excellent basketball IQ.

Here is how Rivals recruiting analyst Eric Bossi defines his game: “A good jump shooter with good two guard size, Shamet has an outstanding feel for the game. He can serve as a distributor, can create for himself off of the dribble and is a high IQ player. Is sneaky explosive going to the rim and has a good frame to add weight to.”

Shamet visited Wichita State last week and had scheduled visits with Colorado, Illinois and Kansas State, according to a report. He joins 6-foot-8 power forward Eric Hamilton in Wichita State’s 2015 recruiting class.

College Basketball Talk’s Recruiting Roundup

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Each Monday and Friday, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. This week, Noah Dickerson changes his mind, Tyler Dorsey sets two official visits and cuts his list and Landry Shamet is down to four.

Noah Dickerson to Florida shows how timetables can change

Georgia native and Class of 2015 big man Noah Dickerson was originally committed to Georgetown, but backed off of his commitment in late June. When the No. 56 overall prospect in Rivals‘ 2015 rankings spoke with CBT in late July at AAU Nationals in Louisville, he mentioned that he would make a spring decision. After previously being committed, it was understandable that Dickerson wanted to wait and make a decision since he was probably behind on the recruiting process and wanted to make sure he made the right choice the second time around.

Which made the 6-foot-8 Dickerson’s commitment to Florida last week so surprising. Not only were the Gators able to convince Dickerson to pledge before his initial timeframe, they weren’t even on Dickerson’s core list as of a month ago. Dickerson mentioned to in July that Georgetown, Louisville, Michigan and Virginia were the four schools involved with him the most and Florida made quick work to nab a big man that happened to be playing his high school ball in their state at Montverde Academy.

It goes to show how one school jumping in the mix and making a hard push can really change things in the recruiting process, even if a prospect seems set on abiding by a certain timeframe.

Tyler Dorsey sets two official visits while cutting his list to 10

As one of the better guards in the 2015 class, California native Tyler Dorsey has been a coveted prospect since decommitting from Arizona in June. According to his grassroots coach, Dinos Trigonis, Dorsey has a new list of 10 schools while also setting two official visits.

Trigonis told that the 6-foot-4 Dorsey, a five-star prospect according to Rivals, will visit Oregon from September 5th through the 7th while he trips to Kansas from the 10th through the 12th of October.

Besides the Ducks and Jayhawks, Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, Georgetown, Louisville, St. John’s, UConn and UNLV are also involved.

Although Dorsey transferred high schools and will finish out his career at Maranatha, he played in the same backcourt as UConn incoming freshman wing Daniel Hamilton last season at St. John Bosco, so that’s something to keep tabs on as Dorsey sets further visits and potentially cuts his list again.

Under-the-radar shooter sets his final four

It’s been mentioned many times on CBT that the 2015 class is greatly lacking guards and shooters. It’s part of the reason why three-star prospect Landry Shamet has become a coveted prospect.

The Kansas City native took to Twitter on Monday to announce that he’s down to Colorado, Illinois, Kansas State and Wichita State.

At 6-foot-4, Shamet has good size to play the two-guard and flew a bit under-the-radar nationally on the grassroots circuit, so it will be interesting to see where he ends up after his four official visits.