Wichita State may have lost some star power from last season’s team in Ron Baker and Fred Van Vleet, but Head Coach Gregg Marshall made it very clear they are once again a very good team. Marshall joined The Jim Rome Show on Friday and talked about his 25th ranked Shockers.
“We have very talented players. I mean guys that were recruited by very good programs and elected to come here,” Marshall said. “They knew coming in that they were going to get pushed daily to be the best players, students they can be, and they do that. They allow us to coach them they allow to push them and ultimately achieve great things together. Guys like Landry Shamet who was offered by a handful of BCS or Power 5 programs from Kansas City, and he elected to come play for us. Conner Frankamp was at the University of Kansas for three semesters and is now finally playing the way everyone envisioned him playing out of high school. So we have guys like that. Markis McDuffie, same thing, handful of Power 5 offers. So these guys are talented, they work extremely hard and they get better on a daily basis.”
In fact, Marshall says he’s never had a team that can score this way. “This is by far the best offensive team I’ve ever coached,” he said. “21 times we’ve scored 80 points or more. In the past, when we did have Mr. Van Vleet or Mr. Baker on the floor, the ball would be in their hands at the end of the shot clock anymore and secondly, when we do, it’s five different players from five different spots on the floor that can strike you at any given time. So we’re less predictable, and we have more guys that can shoot the basketball and score it inside and out.”
As usual, not coming from a power conference, Wichita State has once again taken their share of criticism about not being tournament worthy, something Marshall says has once again motivated them.
“If you don’t think we’re a tournament worthy team, you haven’t watched us,” Marshall said. “If you watch us and seen how we’ve improved from a near loss to Michigan State and another close loss to Louisville in the Bahamas, two of our four losses, we’ve gotten better and better each month.
“We’ve lost once since Christmas, these guys are playing at a very high level on both ends. We give up less than 38-percent defensive field goal percentage. It’s even better than it was last year and the year before. We just thank those guys, because they give us that fuel that chip on our shoulder.”
Although, that’s not to say the 2014 AP Coach of the Year isn’t tired of the disrespect.
“I’m sick of it. And honestly it’s the same story just written a different way every single year, and it’s been like that for four or five years,” Marshall said. “Even we were a debatable number one seed being 34-0 going into the tournament. That was a big media back and forth one way or the other you’re either for us or against us and it’s amazing how we get these media folks that really get worked up about it.”