Junior college transfers instrumental in Wichita State’s recent success

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There’s no one set path when it comes to building a program, especially when recruiting is brought into consideration.

While some schools choose to stay away from junior college prospects others have been quite successful with them, doing a good job of meshing two-year players into their system.

One such example currently is Wichita State, who won the Missouri Valley regular season title in 2011-12 thanks in part to key contributions from junior college transfers.

Since taking over in 2007, head coach Gregg Marshall and his staff has done well with junior college transfers and that’s been a factor in the Shockers’ success.

The Shockers are grabbing good talent and are on a list with schools such as Marquette that work well with two-year players. WSU assistant coaches are all plugged into the juco world — Chris Jans and recent addition Greg Heiar both served as head coaches at junior colleges. Dana Ford worked with Heiar for one season.

“Wichita State is gaining a tremendous reputation with junior-college coaches around the country that their kids can come in and have success,” said Jerry Mullen. “They really understand what junior-college kids are all about.”

Last year’s team featured two junior college transfers in forward Carl Hall and guard Joe Ragland, and with those two moving on Wichita State has three coming in who are more than capable of being factors in 2012-13.

Wings Cleanthony Early and Nick Wiggins, as well as center Chadrack Lufile, will all fill needs for the Shockers and each is talented enough to flourish.

And opportunities like these are what junior college transfers are looking for when selecting where they’ll finish their collegiate careers.

“My guys [coaching staff] really understand the special needs of a junior-college player,” Marshall said to the Wichita Eagle. “They need to come in and play right away. You recruit them for a need.”

Incoming freshmen will get the lion’s share of the attention when it comes to recruiting but junior college players are just as important to keep an eye on.

As schools such as Marquette (Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom from last season) and Wichita State have shown in recent years, successfully incorporating those players into your program can pay off in a big way.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.