Men’s basketball walk-ons see roster status as a challenge


Baswanth Naidu / The Sunflower

Sophomore Melvion Flanagan attempts to steal the ball during the game against Newman in an exhibition game at Charles Koch Arena on Nov. 2. Flanagan is one of three walk-ons on the Shockers roster this season

Recruiting and scholarships are a pivotal part of most college athletes’ careers. For Shocker walk-ons, however, the reality of college basketball can look a little different. 

There are currently three walk-ons on the men’s basketball team, and, despite their unique origins with the team, they feel no different from their teammates.
“I’ve been fitting in well with the team,” freshman guard Trevor McBride said. “Everybody’s accepted one another.”

  For McBride, being a walk-on has no effect on the motivation to play well. After scoring his first basket at age one, McBride has the same opportunity on the court as any other player. 

“We’re all here for a reason,” he said. “We’re all here to work and compete everyday and practice and, once the games start, win.”

    Freshman forward Henry Thengvall, a Wichita native and Kapaun Mt. Carmel graduate, has found that the team has been very inclusive.

    “He’s in practice playing hard every day,” head coach Isaac Brown said. “Henry’s done a great job understanding the system. Being a Wichita guy, he’s been here through the great runs. He’s brought a lot of energy in practice.” 

    Playing in his hometown has been an interesting experience for Thengvall. Shockers can find him on the court or, of course, attending Kapaun’s basketball and football games.

“[Playing in Wichita] is pretty awesome,” Thengvall said. “Certainly something I’ve been dreaming about.” 

Sophomore guard Melvion Flanagan originally attended a junior college in Mississippi. Flanagan did not need to be recruited to have a good reason to become a Shocker.

“My dad played with [Brown] back in the day in college,” Flanagan said. “They made a connection and that’s what led me here.”

Brown’s hands-on experience with the field has led to plenty of teaching opportunities for Flanagan.

“Whatever coach Brown says, I do,” Flanagan said. “He’s been through all the ups and downs.”

    Flanagan said the difference between his current and last teams he’s played with is apparent. He said playing with walk-ons and scouted players both, he feels more adequately challenged. 

    “[It’s new] just being around guys that can play up to a different level,” Flanagan said. “I feel like I’m in a good position.”