‘We’ve got to walk the walk:’ Wichita State looks to regain team chemistry as they return to the court



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 Sept. 24, 2019 at the south Koch Arena Concourse.

Following an unprecedented offseason for Wichita State basketball, Head Coach Gregg Marshall was left searching for answers. 

According to Marshall, last season’s team was the first time in his coaching career that the team chemistry was bad. As a result, the Shockers had six players transferring out of the program. 

With the seven newcomers that have been added to this year’s roster, Marshall has placed an importance on team chemistry and feels it has improved to this point.

“I’ve had multiple players, newcomers and returners, tell me how different this is and how much better it is. I didn’t see any problems at this time last year,” Marshall said. 

“They can talk the talk, but we’ve got to walk the walk. We’ve got to support each other and pull for each other. There are 16 young men on this team, and they’ve all got to be pulling in the same direction. Whether you start or come off the bench, whether you play 32 minutes or 12 minutes, it’s about Wichita State being the best that they can be.”

On Sept. 16, the NCAA announced that the start date for the 2020-21 basketball season would get pushed back until Nov. 25. Marshall said that the conference had been considering doing a round-robin for conference play with each team playing each other twice. 

In terms of non-conference play, much is still up in the but the schedule will most likely look much different than in years past.

“We’re losing our exhibition game, our private scrimmage and a few non-conference games where our seven newcomers would be learning our system and playing a game,” Marshall said. “There will be no ‘gimmees’ on our schedule. Every game will be a Quad I or Quad II game on our schedule. We’ll have to grow up very quickly.”

As the season gets closer, the more the program will be allowed to get out on the floor. As of Wednesday, the program will be able to partake in twelve hours a week which includes eight hours of basketball-related work and four hours of strength and conditioning. 

For Marshall, he feels that to this point they have been able to use these times productively especially in getting the newcomers up to speed. 

“All of these practice times, we’re using to the utmost,” Marshall said. “We’re training them up and they’re doing a great job of listening and coming by and talking to us. These are guys that want to be great players and they want to win. I’m looking forward to the expanded time we get as of tomorrow.”

One of the big question marks that still remain for the upcoming season is whether or not fans will be allowed to attend games for this upcoming season. Overall, Marshall feels that not having fans at games would have a big impact for WSU.

“For us, it’s going to be a big difference,” Marshall said. “I hate it for our fans. I hate it for our players because there’s nothing like playing in Koch Arena. I don’t know how they’re going to do that and that’s something the athletic administration has to figure out. It can’t be easy. It’s not something we want to do, but we’re going to do the right thing for the health of our fans and our supporters as well as the health of our team.”

Overall, Marshall had high praise for all six returners to the program and felt that they were able to take advantage of the extended time off as they prepare for the upcoming season. 

“We feel good about the work these guys have put in during the pandemic,” Marshall said. “Their bodies have improved. Their games have improved. They’ve taken strides with their development. It’s exciting. It’s a lot of fun working with these young men. We’re chomping at the bit ready to get going.”