Getting started for 2011-12 Shocker basketball

WSU senior Garrett Stutz

College basketball practice starts today (although everybody has been practicing in short bursts this fall).

Two stories stand out as WSU tips off:

  1. It’s the final ride for seniors Toure Murry, Garrett Stutz and David Kyles, the key pieces of coach Gregg Marshall’s first “real” recruiting class. Marshall brought in several players the previous season, but it was a rush job after he was hired from Winthrop in the spring. Murry, Kyles and Stutz were part of the first class that he and his assistants put in a full year of work to get, and the work paid off big. All three played big roles in turning around the Shockers after a tough transition from Mark Turgeon to Marshall. Murry started from his first game. Stutz and Kyles started on and off, giving WSU the quality depth that defined the team the past two seasons. There is one thing left for them to do – get WSU an MVC title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
  2. It will be weird to think about last season being such a success, and also one nobody wants to repeat. That’s the curse of the NIT. When the players get their NIT rings, everybody will think “That was great. I hope we don’t defend that crown.”

Here are my MVC picks. MVC media day is Oct. 25 in St. Louis:

1. Creighton, 2. WSU, 3. Indiana State, 4. Northern Iowa, 5. Evansville, 6. Missouri State, 7. Illinois State, 8. SIU, 9. Drake, 10. Bradley. I’ve dropped Drake two spots from my summer predictions because of the shoulder injury that may sideline center Seth VanDeest.

All-MVC – Kyle Weems, Missouri State; Doug McDermott, Creighton, Toure Murry, WSU; Mamadou Seck, SIU; Jake Odum, Indiana State.

Players I strongly considered: Garrett Stutz, WSU; Anthony James, UNI; Antoine Young, CU, Colt Ryan, Evansville, Rayvonte Rice, Drake.

The Shockers, in part due to that NIT run, are receiving a fair amount of national attention.

And from around the MVC