Top 68 Team Previews: #37 Wichita State Shockers
Toure' Murry led Wichita State to an NIT title last season. (Icon SMI)
By Keith Levinsky
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Wichita State Shockers
Last Season: 29-8 (14-4)
Key Losses: J.T. Durley, Graham Hatch, Gabe Blair, Aaron Ellis
Head Coach: Gregg Marshall
PG: Joe Ragland 6-0 Sr.
SG: David Kyles 6-4 Sr.
SF: Toure' Murry 6-5 Sr.
PF: Jake White 6-8 Fr.
C: Garrett Stutz 7-0 Sr.
Key Reserves: Ben Smith 6-5 Sr. SF, Demetric Williams 6-2 Jr. PG, Evan Wessel 6-5 Fr. SG, Tekele Cotton 6-2 Fr. PG
Among names like Ohio State, Penn State and South Carolina, the name Wichita State seems a bit out of place on the NIT Champions list. But the Shockers did just that, knocking off Alabama in the NIT title game back on March 31. It was only five years ago, though, that the Shockers reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament. With almost its entire lineup returning, Wichita State will hope to find similar success this year.
The one player that is not returning is J.T. Durley, who was the team's number one scorer. Durley averaged 11.2 points per game, but this experienced Shocker lineup should not have problems maintaining their scoring numbers. No one player was Wichita State's dominant scorer in 2010-11 as six returners averaged at least 4.2 points per game last year. The Shockers could miss the rebounding of Durley, Gabe Blair and Aaron Ellis, though. Blair led the squad with 6.4 rebounds per game while Durley and Ellis recorded 4.9 and 3.6 rebounds respectively per game last year.
Toure' Murry (4.5 rpg) and Garrett Stutz (3.5 rpg) will both have to increase their boards in 2011-12 as the Shockers will lack depth in the post. Jake White is Wichita State's top-rated recruit, a three-star power forward according to ESPN.com. He will most likely start since he is the team's only impact power forward. The only viable post player off the bench will be Ehimen Orukpe, who played a minimal role last year.
Not only will Murry be the team's top rebounder but he also could be Wichita State's top scorer. Murry posted 9.4 points per game and should be an offensive force this year as well. The 6-foot-5 senior should get plenty of help, though, from classmates David Kyles and Joe Ragland in the backcourt. Kyles tallied 9.3 ppg last year and Ragland scored 7.0 points per game. In addition, the rest of the senior class, Stutz (7.2 ppg) and Ben Smith (6.7 ppg), should factor in as scorers. Stutz was a key contributor in the NIT semifinals and finals. He racked up 24 points and 11 rebounds in the semifinals and eight points in the championship game.
Wichita State's NIT Championship may have caused many people to forget that the Shockers nearly beat San Diego State and national champion UConn earlier in the season. If Wichita State can be on winning side of those types of games this year, they could make some noise. With a solid senior class that has the experience of an NIT title under their belts, don't be "shocked" if the Shockers make a run in the NCAA tournament.