Shocker basketball has produced renowned stars throughout its 110-plus years. It’s not uncommon for Wichita State star athletes Lynbert “Cheese” Johnson or Antoine Carr to be seen in the stands cheering on the their former team.
Cliff Levingston, former Wichita State star who played from 1979-1982, is spending the weekend in Indianapolis watching the Shockers.
Levingston is one of the five Shockers who have their numbers retired and photos hanging in the rafters of Charles Koch Arena.
In his time at WSU, Levingston was able to learn from Stallworth, he said. Stallworth, who died on Thursday, would come to practices and help the team work on drills and prepare for the season.
“Dave would come in and play with us and just teach us stuff and tell us, ‘You young boys don’t know what you’re really doing. You need to focus on the little things. You need to work on this and work on that,’” Levingston said. “Him telling us the things we needed to do helped us understand where we were and who we were.”
During his freshman and sophomore seasons, Levingston led the Shockers in scoring – 15.7 points and 18.5 points. He then left Wichita State in 1982 to play professionally and was the No. 9 overall pick in the NBA draft.
Levingston said he loves being able to watch the Shockers play because it reminds him of his own experiences from the past.
“I remember coming to the tournament when we were there and the support from the fans is the most important thing,” Levingston said. “When you’ve got guys who’ve played there and been there and they’re sharing the love with you, it’s unbelievable.”
Levingston said he attempts to come to a couple tournament games each year. He said he and Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall have kept in touch throughout the years.
Times have changed since he played, Levingston said, but overall the experience and the importance has remained the same.
“This is on a grander scale,” Levingston said. “We played and it was more about the fans and everything. Now it’s a little more commercial, but the feeling and the atmosphere is still the same.
“It’s awesome. It’s hard to replace a feeling when you get out on that court and you have all these people you’re playing in front of, on TV and in the arena. It’s unbelievable.”