While Wichita State returns one of the best perimeter attacks in the country, led by guards Fred Van Vleet, Ron Baker and Tekele Cotton, Gregg Marshall’s team has some significant holes to fill in the front court. Of course there’s Cleanthony Early, who’s now a New York Knick, but the Shockers will also have to account for the loss of contributors Chadrack Lufile and Kadeem Coleby.
Whether or not Wichita State’s combination of newcomers and returnees in the front court can do so will undoubtedly impact their prospects in 2014-15.
One player hoping to help Marshall account for those personnel losses is redshirt freshman Shaquille Morris, who wasn’t at the level his head coach wanted him at last season. Morris struggled with his stamina and assorted health issues last season, missing practice time as a result. Yet while he’s worked hard to change his body, Morris’ head coach wants to see him prove it on the court on a consistent basis before buying in.
“He’s not a count-on-me guy,” Marshall said. “Some guys have count-on-me written all over them. He’s not one of those guys.”
Morris knows his coach is skeptical.
“It definitely starts (Friday) in practice, to show him for 2 hours and 30 minutes that I can consistently go hard and I can give him my all up and down the court,” Morris said. “Especially on defense and rebounding, which I know that’s what he really wants.”
Morris is just one of the options the Shockers are looking at with regards to the front court rotation, with junior college transfers Tom Wamukota and Tevin Glass and freshmen Rashard Kelly and Rauno Nurger among the newcomers looking to earn playing time. The competition alone should be enough to motivate Morris as he looks to contribute.
But if that isn’t enough, convincing a skeptical coach that he’s worthy of a spot in that conversation should help keep the “fire” burning as well.