‘I’m not pleased with anything:’ Echenique urgent with collegiate career running out of time


Marshall Sunner

Wichita State senior Jaime Echenique reacts after picking up a foul late in the second half of the game against Cincinnati on Feb. 6 inside Charles Koch Arena.

Despite Jaime Echenique and Wichita State’s greatest efforts, WSU was unable to get past Cincinnati in the final seconds, falling 80-79.

In his senior season, Echenique has stepped when it has mattered most. The Colombian native has been carrying the load the last five games, but ultimately it hasn’t been enough. He has averaged 13 points along with 7.8 rebounds over those five games, but he couldn’t care less about his stat line at the end of the day. At the end of the day, he is concerned with the end result.

He wants to win.

“I’m not pleased with anything,” Echenique said. “I don’t expect to go in and put up those numbers. We go in and try to win. I don’t even know what I’m averaging right now. I only see it if I read it online. I’ve never logged on to GoShockers.com and looked at my stats.”

Echenique has been visibly upset after these latest losses. He continually attempts to put the team on his back late in games, but with others struggling, the wins just aren’t coming.

“I’m just an unselfish person and I’m helping my teammates go every night and go as hard as I can. I have a sense of urgency right now,” Echenique said. “This is my last year and my last chance. I’ve never gone to an NCAA Tournament, but I want to go. I want to enjoy the experience. We went to the NIT last year, but it wasn’t the right tournament for us. This year I’m just trying to help them as much as I can and enjoy myself. Before that, we have to take care of some business and keep learning.”

Marshall Sunner
Wichita State senior Jaime Echenqiue goes up for a shot during the game against Cincinnati on Feb. 6 inside Charles Koch Arena.

Echenique has been able to pick off the slack for others up and down the roster and for players like Dexter Dennis, he has been a savior on both of the court. There have been multiple times during the senior’s hot streak that he has helped to erase some defensive miscues with a block or a charge along with some clutch buckets.

With Dennis struggling to contain Cumberland at some points during the second half, Echenique’s play on the defensive end drawing charges, along with testing the Bearcats’ shots at the rim, which helped keep WSU in the game late.

“I think he’s been saving us a lot,” Dennis said. “I think the guards haven’t held our own in a lot of games. He’s kept us in those games. Not just on offense, but on defense too. I remember a lot of times I’ve gotten blown by and he’s been there to get a charge. He’s been saving us and we need to help him.”

As the lone senior as the roster, Echenique has had to shoulder a greater burden as the team’s leader especially with the team’s recent struggles. He has been voiced his opinion more recently as he hopes to lead the team back to the NCAA Tournament, but he will need some help from his teammates in order to do so.

“He’s (Echenique) playing his heart out,” Wichita State Head Coach Gregg Marshall said. “He’s playing like a senior. The difference is that they (Cincinnati) have a lot of seniors. I think five, and we have one. The experience factor played a part in that win so hopefully our guys with as many that are playing right now, I hope that they can get better and more experienced with the time that they are getting on the court.”

Marshall Sunner
Wichita State senior Jaime Echenique dunks the ball during the first half of the game against Cincinnati on Feb. 6 inside Charles Koch Arena.

At times this season WSU’s big men have really struggled when getting doubled in the post especially in the matchup with Houston. Echenique has been that exception for WSU and has excelled when Cincinnati would bring the double team against him.

With the game on the line, Echenique got double-teamed by the Bearcats but he was successfully able to kick it out to Sherfield who knocked down the clutch jumper to put the Shockers a two-point lead at the time.

“That’s a testament to Jaime and the quality of play he’s putting forth right now,” Marshall said. “They did a very good job of doubling him in the second half. They weren’t doubling him early and he ends up going 9-for-19, with 19 points, 11 rebounds, another double-double, and just played really really well and did a better job of handling the double team after the first or second time.”

In the end, the senior big man is playing his best basketball at the most important stage of his career but he can’t do it all by himself. Combo guard Dexter Dennis (16 points) and point guard Jamarius Burton (13 points) were able to offer some support but it wasn’t enough. Sophomore shooting guard Erik Stevenson continued his struggles Thursday, posting just five points on 2-6 shooting. Stevenson had a game-worst plus-minus rating of minus-18.

Echenique will once again be tested again in a game he was double-teamed heavily against Houston. After picking up foul trouble in the first half he only finished with eight points and six rebounds in 14 minutes.

The Shockers along with Echenique will look to get revenge against the No. 25 Houston Cougars on Sunday inside the Fertitta Center. Tip is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.