Dexter Dennis inherits McDuffie’s goofy leadership qualities


Joseph Barringhaus

Wichita State freshman Dexter Dennis jokingly interviews senior Markis McDuffie in the New York Marriott Marquis on April 1, 2019. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower).

NEW YORK CITY — Wichita State freshman Dexter Dennis is ready for the big stage.

He was so ready, he took control of the National Invitation Tournament media luncheon Monday afternoon in New York City. He first used his cell phone as a makeshift microphone, jumping in the mix of reporters to ask his teammates Markis McDuffie, Samajae Haynes-Jones and Jaime Echenique questions. He quickly upped his game and borrowed a real microphone from Wichita TV reporters. That’s when the fun began.

He asked McDuffie, who shares an equally goofy sense of humor questions about himself in the third person.

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Wichita State’s Dexter Dennis interview Markis McDuffie at the Marriott Marquis in New York on Apr. 1, 2019.

“What do you think about this freshman Dexter Dennis?” Dennis asked.

“He has no bounce,” McDuffie responded, laughing.

Echenique, a junior college transfer, said the freshman hasn’t stopped talking recently. After practices, like the Shockers’ 8:30 a.m. practice on Monday, that he was tired. Dennis wasn’t. Echenique couldn’t explain how Dennis and McDuffie each preserve their noticeable energy levels.

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Wichita State Head Coach Gregg Marshall tells Dexter Dennis how well he plays as a defender during interviews held at the Marriott Marquis in New York on Apr. 1, 2019.

Steve Adelson, Wichita State’s team photographer, said that between McDuffie, a vocal senior, and Dennis, few can get words in. The back-and-forth commentary and constant hijinks have helped the team grow its chemistry. Adelson added that Dennis has inherited McDuffie’s goofy sense of leadership.

Dennis offered that journalism may wind up a fall-back should his basketball career not play out. It’s likely that Dennis, who is seeing the city for the first time since he played in the area as a teenager, is excited of the setting. Echenique admitted he and his teammates are in awe of Times Square and the stage the Shockers will play on Tuesday in Madison Square Garden.

“Guys come from all different parts of the world,” McDuffie said. “Just to show them Times Square and the city that never sleeps, they were amazed by it.”

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Wichita State’s Dexter Dennis interview Samajae Haynes-Jones at the Marriott Marquis in New York on Apr. 1, 2019.