While Wichita State returns senior guards Ron Baker and Fred Van Vleet, two of the best players in the country, and adds quality transfers in graduate student forward Anton Grady and former Kansas guard Conner Frankamp (he’s eligible in December) there’s still the need to account for the loss of two key contributors in Tekele Cotton and Darius Carter.
Cotton was the team’s best defender while also averaging 9.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game, and Carter led the team in rebounding (5.4 rpg) to go along with his 11.4 points per contest. The addition of Grady will definitely help the Shockers as they look to get out of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament for the third time in the last four years, but there’s a need for other contributors as well.
One such possibility is rising sophomore forward Rashard Kelly, who played nearly 14 minutes per game as a freshman. According to Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle, Kelly’s been hard at work this summer in an attempt to add polish to an offensive game that produced just 2.9 points per game in 2014-15.
Kelly and coaches agreed on a plan for him to shoot 500 jumpers four or five days a week outside of practices. He stuck to that plan and said he made a high of around 397. Extending his arm and concentrating on proper follow-through is helping his accuracy.
“The more you shoot, the more confident you are and the bigger the goal gets for you,” he said.
It isn’t as if Kelly will be asked to be the Shockers’ feature option this season; that’ll once again be left to their star guards with Grady giving them a quality front court scorer. But he’ll have to be a supplementary piece head coach Gregg Marshall can rely on consistently, which is why Kelly’s putting in the aforementioned work on his game (he’s also improved his body per the story).
And if Kelly can emerge as that option, it simply makes a team that will already be good an even tougher one for opponents to slow down.