Shocker Invitational – breaking down Team 9

We’re gearing up for this 16-team tournament with teams made up of former and current Wichita State basketball players. I hope you saw the rosters in the Sunday paper.

Eight first-round games will be played on a big, big, big screen television at Side Pockets – corner of Kellogg and Tyler – on Sunday, Feb. 16, beginning at 11 a.m. Derek Pruett has come up with a great way to simulate these games on an XBox 360 gaming system. We tested it out the other day and it’s outstanding.

I think Shocker basketball fans will enjoy this. We’ll start at 11 a.m. on the 16th and take a break for the Shockers’ game at Evansville, which starts at 4 p.m. Then we’ll resume the Shocker Invitational, probably finishing up at close to 10 p.m. It’s a full day of basketball and I hope you’ll stop by for some of it.

On Sunday, March 2, starting at 2 p.m., we’ll play the four quarterfinal games.

Then the finale on Sunday, March 16, with two semifinal games starting at 2, before the NCAA Tournament selection show on CBS at 5. After that’s over and every Shocker fan knows where Wichita State is headed, we’ll play the championship game of the Shocker Invitational.

All of these games will be played at Side Pockets. There is a lot of room. Come on out.

I’ve broken down a lot of the Shocker Invitational teams, but have a few more to go. Today, a look at Team 9.

Center – Darin Miller, 6-9, 1993-97. Miller averaged 9.1 points and 4.9 rebounds during his career. And he was consistent, averaging 8.8, 8.2, 9.7 and 9.5 points during his four seasons to go with 2.7, 4.9, 4.7 and 6.2 rebounds. Miller, from Wellington, was a good player on some not-very-good Shocker teams.

Power forward – Antoine Carr, 6-9, 1979-83. Carr is an all-time Shocker great who played at Heights and averaged 17.1 ppg during his WSU career, including 22.6 ppg as a senior. Carr was a career 55.7-percent field goal shooter and one of the most athletic players in Wichita State history.

Small forward – Robert Gray, 6-6, 1975-76. The physical Gray averaged 12.8 and 13.3 ppg during his two seasons at Wichita State and was also a tough rebounder, averaging 5.8 per game. Gray was a physical, tough defender, too, but he consistently found himself in foul trouble.

Shooting guard – Paul Guffrovich, 6-3, 1987-91. Guffrovich is one of the most successful three-point shooters in WSU history, having made 43.4 percent for his career and never shooting below 41.8 percent in a season. He made 144 career three-pointers, sixth most in Shocker history, and averaged 15.8 ppg as a senior.

Point guard – Tony Martin, 6-3, 1980-82. Martin is one of the most athletic point guards in WSU history and didn’t have a weakness. He averaged 12.1 points and 5.3 assists during his two seasons and  shot 52.2 percent from the field. Martin was a floor leader on teams that included Carr and Cliff Levingston.

Analysis – I love all 16 teams. I probably put this one in the middle of the pack, although it has good components. Rebounding could be an issue, but this team has really good shooters. But even with Carr, I’d be surprised to see Team 9 get to the Shocker Invitational Final Four.