What a great time we had with the Shocker Invitational during this basketball season.
It started with picking enough former and current Wichita State players to fill 16 teams. And it was important to do it by position, so the five-man teams were stocked with a center, power forward, small forward, shooting guard and point guard.
Eighty players, in all, were on these rosters. And we started playing out the animated tournament on an X-Box gaming system on Feb. 16, playing in two-week intervals. The tournament concluded Sunday and your winner of the Shocker Invitational is . . . drum roll, please . . . Team 9.
That’s Antoine Carr’s team and the Big Dog was fabulous in four tournament games, averaging 31.8 points, 15.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists. We didn’t pick a tournament MVP, but if we had it would have obviously been Carr.
He received a lot of help from former Wichita State guard Paul Guffrovich, who matched Carr’s 33 points in the championship game and averaged 27.3 points per game for the tournament.
Guffrovich was never that kind of scorer at WSU. He was a nice guard with excellent three-point range. But he got on a roll in the Shocker Invitational and remained hot throughout.
Team 9 also included center Darin Miller, who attended every session at Side Pockets, along with forward Robert Gray and point guard Tony Martin.
Team 9 held off Team 13 in the championship game, 89-86. That goodness it was close because there were a few blowouts in the Shocker Invitational. And nobody likes blowouts, not even animated players.
Team 13 was led by P.J. Couisnard, who scored 30 points in the championship-game loss. It also included forward Cheese Johnson, center Ozell Jones and guards Joe Ragland and Randy Burns, the best backcourt duo in the Shocker Invitational.
Team 9 got to the finals with a 94-86 win over Team 5 in the semifinals, despite 38 points from Ron Baker, the only current Wichita State player in the semis. Baker’s teammates included the X-Man, Xavier McDaniel, along with center Ev Wessel and guards Bob Trogele and Terry Hankton.
Team 13 reached the championship game by defeating Team 10, 89-75. Team 10 was led by center Robert Elmore, whose teammates included forwards Ron Harris and Jamar Howard along with guards Ron Mendell and Jimmy Bolden.
The tournament was a lot of fun. Thanks to Derek Pruett, the man with the plan, who input a bunch of performance information on each player into the computer system. And to the man with the idea to play this thing out in animation, Jamin Anderson.
We’re rolling around the idea of doing a similar tournament next season with Kansas. Now that would be a challenge. I’m taking Wilt Chamberlain’s team.