Wichita State’s season officially starts with first practice

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Easton Thompson

Wichita State Men's Basketball Coach Gregg Marshall responds to a question during a press event before the team's first practice of the season on Tuesday at the south Koch Arena Concourse.

Wichita State officially started practice for men’s basketball on Tuesday.

A common theme the past two seasons for the Shockers has been the number of new faces within the program. Despite having ten newcomers in the program last year, the Shockers welcome six newcomers to this year’s team. So far, Head Coach Gregg Marshall has been impressed with the group as a whole.  

“Maybe we’ve taught it slower, a little more thoroughly, but this group has picked things up well,” Marshall said. “Hopefully, with adding their talent and understanding of what we’re doing, we won’t see as much of a slow start as last year. Last year was the youngest team I’ve ever had, and one of the youngest in the country. This year’s group isn’t nearly as young, but still young.

“We’re talking ten of our 13 players are freshmen or sophomores.”

One of the major rule changes in the NCAA last year was the increase of practice time from two to four hours during the offseason. Marshall feels with having fewer newcomers this year, the rule change was more beneficial to the program.

“Having only five or six new guys is amazing compared to nine to 10 newcomers last year,” Marshall said. “Being able to do the four hours was beneficial. You might not have seen it in the beginning of the year, but hopefully, by the end of the season, you saw some improvement.

“That doesn’t happen unless you get to practice a couple of hours in June or July. We’re able to do that again this year.”

Marshall said he feels as if the team is in a much better position than that of last season. In previous years, the program would have to go “full-on” around the middle of October since that would be the earliest the teams would get to work with their players.

“We’re ahead because of all the work we’ve been able to do this summer,” Marshall said. “We’ve got 70 percent of our system in, and it’s September 24. Now it’s a matter of backing off a little bit.”

Marshall wants to make sure he’s not overworking his players.

One of the major question-marks facing this year’s team is replacing the scoring of Markis McDuffie and Samajae Haynes-Jones who accounted for 42% of the team’s scoring a season ago. So far, Marshall feels he can count on many different players on the roster to produce consistently.

“I don’t know who it will be at this point, but I do know that we have a lot of guys that can score the basketball,” he said.

The first time fans will be able to see this year’s Shocker team will be on Oct. 5 in the team’s annual Black and Yellow Scrimmage. The event is set to begin at 11 a.m. at Charles Koch Arena and will feature both the men’s and women’s basketball teams.