As you know, I love every team in the Shocker Invitational. It helps that they were chosen from among the best players in Wichita State basketball history. And when this 16-team tournament begins – and I promise it will – there are sure to be some fun match-ups.
Don’t be surprised if Team 8 – the Paul Miller team – is around for a while.
Miller is the anchor, the 6-foot-10 center who in 2005-06 was the Missouri Valley Conference player of the year and the best player on a Sweet 16 NCAA Tou
rnament team. Miller, who struggled to find consistency early in his basketball career, averaged 13.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game as a senior.
The power forward is 6-6 Rich Morsden, a Kansas City Wyandotte product who transferred to WSU from Hutchinson Community College, where he was one of the best junior college players in the country.
Morsden was outstanding for the Shockers, too, averaging 15 points and 8.1 rebounds in 1972-73 and 16.5 points and 9.2 rebounds in 1973-74.
One of his Shocker teammates, Bobby Wilson, is the shooting guard for Team 8. And what an outstanding shooter Wilson was. Also a junior college transfer, Wilson averaged 17.7 points as a junior and 20 points as a senior. He played for parts of four seasons in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics and Indiana Packers. Here’s a recent interview with Wilson from celticslife.com.
Wilson is one of the best guards in Shocker history, even though Wichita State was just 21-31 during the time he and Morsden were teammates. The Missouri Valley Conference was a beast in those days, which had something to do with the Shockers’ lackluster record.
The small forward on Team 8 is Coffeyville native Al Tate, who at 6-4 averaged 9.9 rebounds during his WSU career from 1957-60. Tate, a tremendous athlete, also scored 14.6 points per game as a Shocker. Tate played on three Ralph Miller-coached teams, all of which finished 14-12.
Team 8′s point guard is Robert George, another junior college transfer. There seems to be a theme here. George played for Mike Cohen during the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons. He averaged 12 points and 4.2 assists as a junior and 10.6 points and three assists as a senior.
There’s a lot to like about this team, but it’s lacking size. Morsden and Tate, though, were outstanding if undersized rebounders.
This is a very good team and one that could go far in the Shocker Invitational. But I say that about all the teams.