‘Doing the Evan Wessel-type things’: Rashard Kelly is Wichita State’s energy guy


Hannah Roberts

Teammates Eric Hamilton (25) and Rashard Kelly (0) help C.J. Keyser up after he is fouled making a shot on a drive to the basket.

Junior forward Rashard knows his role and knows how to execute it.

During Wichita State’s slow start Friday night, head coach Gregg Marshall needed energy brought to the floor.

Kelly stepped in.

Within the first few moments Kelly spaced the floor and had an and-one layup then a wide open dunk. He ignited the Shockers’ offense. 

Kelly and former Wichita State forward Evan Wessel have been compared by their teammates and Marshall.

“He’s moving well. He’s pursuing the basketball,” Marshall said. “He’s the first to the floor. 

“He’s doing the Evan Wessel-type things.”

Both Kelly and Wessel were relied on to do the things many overlook: provide a source of energy.

“He gets us started and sparked with the little things just like Evan Wessel used to do,” teammate Shaq Morris said. “Those type of guys help us win games.”

With one of the deepest benches in the nation, each Shocker is expected to play a different role and buy into it. Kelly’s role isn’t as evident on the stat line, but is far from unnoticed. 

“The biggest thing about Rashard is him buying into his role. He has a tougher role than most realize,” teammate Morris said. 

This season, Kelly is averaging 5.7 points per game and has a rebound margin of 4.5 rebounds per game, an improvement from seasons past. 

Even Wessel, who is in St. Louis watching his former team this weekend, sees a lot of his play in Kelly. 

“You can see him out there hustling and getting rebounds and doing all the things that may not show up on the stat line,” Wessel said. “If he keeps playing like that the team’s going to do well.”