Kellen Marshall is keeping an open mind on his future

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Kellen Marshall is keeping an open mind on his future

As he prepares to graduate this spring, Kellen Marshall is keeping an open mind for the future. His father, Gregg Marshall, is hopeful his son will have a similar future in college basketball.

As he prepares to graduate this spring, Kellen Marshall is keeping an open mind for the future. His father, Gregg Marshall, is hopeful his son will have a similar future in college basketball.

Joseph Barringhaus

As he prepares to graduate this spring, Kellen Marshall is keeping an open mind for the future. His father, Gregg Marshall, is hopeful his son will have a similar future in college basketball.

Joseph Barringhaus

Joseph Barringhaus

As he prepares to graduate this spring, Kellen Marshall is keeping an open mind for the future. His father, Gregg Marshall, is hopeful his son will have a similar future in college basketball.

Kellen Marshall had a decision to make.

It was his junior year of high school, and Kellen, the son of Wichita State’s winningest basketball coach Gregg Marshall, had to choose whether or not to play high school basketball. That aspect of his life was normal of a kid his age. His skill was good enough for a rotation spot on the team’s varsity squad. But at the same time, if Kellen had played that season, he would have likely missed out on some of the experiences that separate him from the average, everyday college student.

“That’s when it became different,” Kellen said.

Kellen hung it up. But that hasn’t stopped him from relishing in the scene of great basketball successes.

Joseph Barringhaus
Kellen Marshall celebrates during the game against Cincinnati on Jan. 19, 2019 at Charles Koch Arena. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower).

Kellen was in the locker room in 2014 when the Shockers posted one of the few undefeated seasons in NCAA history. He was courtside when Wichita State beat Kansas in the NCAA Tournament. In November, he chatted golf with President Donald Trump (Kellen’s experience as a caddy at Flint Hills National Golf Course helped with that one). And for four years, he’s been in at practices, on the bench during games, breaking down film, and overseeing day-to-day operations for his father’s squad.

When people see Kellen, they’re quick to bring up basketball. That’s not always a bad thing. Basketball is largely what makes Kellen different. His knack for the game is reminiscent of his dad, the 2014 Naismith Coach of the Year. Kellen is able to see and predict the game in seconds, sometimes minutes, before they occur. Sometimes, he even surprises his dad.

“He said it’s good that I can start doing that now,” Kellen said. “He (Gregg) told me that it’s going to help me coach a team better one day.”

Joseph Barringhaus
Wichita State center Asbjørn Midtgaard celebrates with Kellen Marshall after a huge dunk in the second half of the game against UConn on Feb. 28, 2019 at Charles Koch Arena. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower.)

Kellen’s obvious future is coaching.

“I have never had a desk job,” Kellen, who will graduate with his degree in business this spring, said. “I have no idea what it’s like.”

It’s likely Kellen will stick around and return next year as a graduate assistant. There’s a “75 percent” chance he’s back, he said. He plans to keep an open mind and explore different options in the coming months.

He has dreams — like being a journalist, sports agent, an actor or a magician — he’s just not sure which one he’ll settle on. Even broadcasting is an option. He once bumped into CBS broadcaster Jim Nantz, who told Kellen he has “a knack for it.”

That comment was like “Tiger Woods telling me to go play golf,” Kellen said.

And don’t be quick to rule out magic. Kellen is known to always have a deck of cards close by. Card tricks, he said, can help him brighten someone’s mood on their worst day. Like on Feb. 23 when Wichita State lost a heartbreaker to Memphis.

“My parents were both upset,” Kellen said. “We were up in the Champions Club, and I felt like I had to make them better.”

He drew a deck of cards from his pocket and performed a trick for a small group.

“That’s when they started laughing,” Marshall said. “The people who have never seen this before were dumbfounded. That was about turning a sad situation into something positive.”

Joseph Barringhaus
Wichita State’s Markis McDuffie and Samajae Haynes-Jones pose with Kellen Marshall during media day on Oct. 16, 2018.

With a final home game Tuesday, Kellen will unofficially celebrate senior night with his peers, Markis McDuffie and Samajae Haynes-Jones.

“I hate to see any seniors leave, but hopefully, I’ll have Kellen stay around a little while,” Gregg Marshall said. “I have no idea what he’s going to do next year. He’s either going to be on my staff or someone else’s.”

Kellen isn’t in a hurry as his senior season winds down.

“Right now, it’s about the team,” he said. “I’ll figure out the rest later.”

Joseph Barringhaus
Kellen Marshall has dreams — like being a journalist, sports agent, broadcaster, an actor or a magician — he’s just not sure which one he’ll settle on.