Freshman Grant Sherfield brings ‘complete game’ back to hometown


Marshall Sunner

Wichita State freshman Grant Sherfield reacts to a foul call during the Black and Yellow Scrimmage last month inside Charles Koch Arena.

A prized four-star recruit out of Sunrise Christian Academy, Grant Sherfield could see his future ahead of him. His hard work had paid off and he was committed to join a storied UCLA basketball program as a freshman.

But that certainty evaporated last December when UCLA fired Head Coach Steve Alford midseason amidst a four-game losing streak. Sherfield wanted to play for a coach he had built a strong relationship with. He asked to be released from his letter of intent.

“My parents wanted me to stay there, but I wanted to look for something else,” Sherfield said. “I just wanted to go somewhere where I know the coach, have a great relationship with the coach, and I feel like Wichita State was the best place for that.”

Gregg Marshall had been recruiting Sherfield since his freshman year of high school. The 6-2 guard chose WSU over Wake Forest and Minnesota.

“I’m happy with my decision,” Sherfield said. “You know, I’m playing great right now. I’m really bonding with the team. And most importantly, I get to see my family every weekend — just go chill with them, have fun, and relax.”

Wichita is more than a college destination for Sherfield. It’s his hometown. Even after he moved away to Texas in fifth grade, Sherfield kept up with Shocker basketball.

“I came to the games when Toure’ Murry was hot. I came to the games when Joe Ragland was the leading scorer,” Sherfield said.

“That’s one of the reasons why I came to Wichita State. I just want to come and help lead.”

Even as a freshman, Sherfield said he’s in a prime position to take on a leadership role. And what exactly does that entail?

“Helping us in crunch-time situations — just getting everybody calmed down, poised, and just helping us execute,” Sherfield said.

“At the end of the game, if we need a bucket or need a play to be made, I feel like I can do that for us.”

Sherfield said returning players have been excellent mentors for him and his fellow freshmen.

“The sophomores, the juniors. We’ve got one senior. They’ve been great — just putting us under their wing and just helping us get to where they were. Knowing the system, knowing what [Coach Marshall] expects from us,” Sherfield said.

Sophomore guard Jamarius Burton said Sherfield already has a “complete game.”

“I like Grant. To me, he plays like Chris Paul a little bit,” Burton said. “Pretty shifty with the ball, works the ball screens well, great passer, can shoot.”

Suiting up in No. 52, Sherfield has the highest jersey number of any Shocker player on the roster. He wears it in honor of Benjamin “Benji” Wilson, widely regarded as the best high school basketball player in the country when he was fatally shot in 1984.

“In high school, I watched a documentary, ‘30 for 30’ on Ben Wilson, and when he died, it just gave me like, you can’t take the game of basketball for granted,” Sherfield said. 

“In high school, I was No. 25, and I just wanted to flip it around and still honor him in college.”

Tragically, Wilson never got to touch the court in a college basketball game. With his considerable talent, Sherfield is poised to make an impact at WSU, and he’s not about to take that opportunity for granted.