‘He was dynamite:’ Dennis showcases all-around game in rout of Tulane


Marshall Sunner

Wichita State sophomore Dexter Dennis shoots a three-pointer during the second half of the game against Tulane on Feb. 16 inside Charles Koch Arena.

Wichita State sophomore Dexter Dennis has had a rollercoaster of a season. After getting off to a slow start and taking a midseason leave of absence, it appears that Dennis has started to figure things out. In Sunday’s route of Tulane, the guard recorded a career-high 21 points.

Over WSU’s last two games specifically, Dennis has put his full range of ability on display. Against Central Florida on Thursday, he stuffed the stat sheet by recording seven points, nine rebounds, and a career-high five assists — all while shooting 50% from the field. He kept his hot streak going against the Green Wave, posting nine rebounds and three assists to go along with his career scoring high.

“He was dynamite,” Head Coach Gregg Marshall said of Dennis after Sunday’s game. “On the offensive glass, shooting the basketball, giving us second-chance opportunities, and running the court getting dunks — he’s doing it all.”

Marshall said Dennis’s all-around ability is starting to show. In the past, the sophomore has been something of a 3-and-D player, but now he’s turning into an all-around type with his improved driving skills.

“He’s getting better bouncing it. He’s doing a good job getting into the heart of the defense,” Marshall said.

Dennis said he has found success as he learns to let the game come to him. After forcing things early in the season, he said he wants to relax and keep progressing.

“Every day is just a process for me. Not thinking as much — just go to practice and get better,” Dennis said. “I’m just playing. Whatever happens, happens. It just worked well for me tonight.”

One of Dennis’ standout moments came late in the first half. It wasn’t a shot or dunk like he’s known for, but rather a pass. Dennis drove into the lane off of a screen and made a wraparound pass to fellow sophomore Erik Stevenson for the layup. Charles Koch Arena was rocking and all Marshall could do was smile.

“That’s good to see,” Marshall said of the pass. “He’s not the point guard, but he’s doing a great job.”

The Louisiana native’s performance also stood out to Tulane Head Coach Ron Hunter. Hunter emphasized his regret that Dennis slipped out of the state and hinted that he wished that he was playing for the Green Wave.

“I’ve only been on this job for a few months, but how does he get out of the state of Louisiana? I have no idea,” Hunter said. “That kid can really play. That’s part of what I told my staff. I said that if there are any more guys like this in this state and they get out, then I’m going to need a whole new staff.”

Hunter then went on to reference Dennis’s potential — calling him a future NBA player.

“Sometimes talent just takes over,” Hunter said. “He’s a really good player. Any NBA team could take him in the first round. That’s a joke, but not.”

Dennis and the Shockers will look to add to their two-game winning streak Thursday at home against South Florida. Tip is scheduled for 6 p.m.