Mac Stevenson
“Oh the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all.” Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
Since Wichita State joined the American Athletic Conference, the anticipation for the upcoming season has run rampant among the Shockers’ basketball fans. Coach Gregg Marshall returns his top eight scorers and all five starters from last season’s team that posted a 31-5 record.
Wichita State has been ranked in the top ten in the nation by almost all of the college basketball preseason predictions.
The upcoming season isn’t without concerns: two of the top players—point guard Landry Shamet and forward Markis McDuffie—are expected to miss the start of the season. Shamet and McDuffie are hobbled with foot injuries, but both are expected to be back at full speed by the time conference play begins.
Coach Marshall fully understands the intense optimism among Wichita’s fans. He recently said, “I really try not to put too much stock in it . . . I will tell you that I’d much prefer that than to be predicted to not be very good and come in at the bottom. If I had my druthers, I’d rather be picked as a very good team. If people don’t expect much from you—you probably haven’t been very good.” Marshall’s Wichita State teams have been very good.
The Shockers open with two exhibition games: Henderson State on Saturday, Nov. 4, televised on Cox 2022 and Monday, Nov. 6 with Newman.
Wichita’s regular season begins against UMKC on Friday, Nov. 10, televised by Cox 2022. Then the competition gets tougher: Wichita plays College of Charleston on Monday, Nov. 13 on CBS Sports Network and then it’s off to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational where the Shockers will play against California on Monday, Nov. 20. The Cal game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
What a season it promises to be—Wichita is loaded with experienced talent and the Shockers have one of the best coaches in the nation.
Kansas State’s football team continued their mastery over Kansas last Saturday and put themselves in a favorable position for another bowl game. The Wildcats were without injured QB Jesse Ertz again, but Alex Delton and Skylar Thompson filled in admirably.
Coach Bill Snyder improved his record against KU to 22 wins and 4 losses; most of the wins were far more lopsided than the latest Sunflower Showdown. Snyder is aware of issues facing K-State and said, “We did not play as well as we’re capable of, but I can’t remember a day in this past season that we have . . . so we’ve still got a lot of growth to do.”
Kansas State has had a disappointing season, but Snyder returns every player on his 22-man offensive depth chart except for QB Jesse Ertz. The next question is whether or not Snyder will return. If he chooses to retire, the new coach is going to have plenty of established players to work with.
Numerous Kansas football fans will be proud of the improvement the Jayhawks made while losing 30-20 to Kansas State. Don’t listen to them. KU’s coaching staff has been substandard in all areas, but nothing stands out like their blunder of selecting of Peyton Bender as the Jayhawks’ starting quarterback.
Carter Stanley led Kansas to the only prestigious win of the David Beaty era, KU’s win against Texas last season. Bender has been pathetic all season, but KU’s coaches kept playing him and never even gave Stanley a chance. All Stanley did against K-State is complete 23 of 48 passes for 418 yards and 1 touchdown; he’s so much better than Bender that there’s no comparison. Stanley’s a fighter and he’s a much better runner and passer than Bender.
Either offensive coordinator Doug Meacham or Beaty made the decision to go exclusively with Bender—what an appalling lack of judgment. No matter who made the decision, the blame goes to Beaty. He’s in charge.
In addition to the poor evaluation of player personnel, Kansas has the worst special teams play in all of college football. It’s as bad as it gets. That’s the result of very poor coaching of the special teams.
KU’s new chancellor, Dr. Douglas Girod, has a decision to make. He can either be proactive and step in and make necessary changes or he can act like the presidents of the past and just leave things as they are. Kansas desperately needs a leader for their athletic department and President Girod is the only guy that’s in position to assume that role. President Girod, the ball is in your court.