The Wichita State Shockers have been pegged in the top ten in multiple preseason polls for the 2017-18 season.
The Shockers have built their way up through coaching and player loyalty. Now they are landing top recruits and have built themselves into a strong contender and front runner in the preseason poll.
The Shockers have moved into a stronger conference and are looking to show the NCAA just how far they have come. Once again they are looking to shock the world, and yes the pun is intended.
The journey with Gregg Marshall
In the past seven years, Wichita State has been the powe house of the Missouri Valley Conference. They have averaged almost 30 wins a year (29.7) for the last seven seasons.
Within two seasons of Gregg Marshall’s head coaching, the Shockers went from an 11-20 team (2007-08) to a 17-17 team (2008-09). Marshall then led the Shockers to a 27-6 season (2009-10) and never looked back.
Ever since that 2007 season, the Shockers have been nothing but impressive. Marshall has been a Naismith National Coach of the Year (2014) and has three Missouri Valley Coach of the Year awards (2012-14).
Even since coach Marshall joined the Shockers, there has been a level of consistency and improvement. The system that has been put in by Marshall has gotten the most out of his players. It has also put them in the right position to succeed as well.
The players and system
Most of the players that have played at Wichita State have been long term guys.
Whether it be Cleanthony Early, Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet or Conner Frankamp, the Shockers have had players who have stayed for multiple years and turned Wichita State into their second home.
Ron Baker finished his four years with a 104-17 record which included 51-3 in conference. He scored 1,007 points combined in his junior and senior seasons.
Both Baker and VanVleet have set the school record for most NCAA Tournament games in their careers (13) which included a Final Four run. A Final Four run that saw them beating Pittsburgh, Gonzaga, La Salle, Ohio State and finally falling to eventual champion Louisville. They did all of this while putting Wichita State on the map from 2012-16 under coach Marshall.
Welcome to the American Athletic Conference, Wichita State. Year after year, the Shockers were undervalued and under ranked.
This season they shift over to play the likes of Cincinnati, UConn, SMU and others in the American versus beating up on lesser schools in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Now they get a legitimate chance to play against big time competition more often. They get an opportunity to up their strength of schedule despite possibly losing more games. Wichita State now gets a chance to be a legitimate top 25 team.
The conference change also symbolizes how far they’ve come. Once they were near the basement of the Missouri Valley and now they are competing in the American Athletic Conference.
Heading into the season
Wichita State has finally gotten the respect they deserve after all these years.
With a new conference, the same coach, some returning players and new faces, the Wichita State Shockers are looking to make the jump back into a national stage. They look to do this in a new conference that gets them a different level of respect.
The Shockers are looking to tear up the American Athletic Conference and make another deep run into the NCAA tournament.
Featured Image from USforacle.com.
“From Our Haus to Yours”