About 70 fans paid to watch Wichita State practice for two-plus hours on Saturday afternoon. They probably left talking about injuries. The session ended with Ron Baker icing his ankle and Zach Bush holding his back after a scary fall when he went hard to the basket and fell, banging his head on the floor.
Coach Gregg Marshall said the injuries didn’t appear to be serious, although trainer Todd Fagan will certainly keep a close eye on Bush. Tekele Cotton is fighting a sore knee, which means he does push-ups instead of running.
“We may have to go the student body,” Marshall said.
As for the action, the fans probably didn’t see too much unexpected.
- The veterans, for the most part, are playing as well as expected. Baker made a bunch of shots. Cleanthony Early shot the ball well from the perimeter. Cotton is so well-versed in WSU’s matchup zone that Marshall had him sit out during that session. Not everybody was so spot on – Marshall spent time instructing Early, Chadrack Lufile and Nick Wiggins on proper positioning.
- With Baker and Evan Wessel (presumably) healthy and available all season, WSU’s outside shooting improves. Freshman Ria’n Holland is a good shooter, as he showed Saturday, and his athletic ability is better than his small frame advertises. He can jump well and grabbed some rebounds unexpected for a small guard.
- Junior transfer Darius Carter is as athletic and long as advertised. He will help the Shockers in the lane quickly and should grow into a significant producer as he learns the system.
- It appears the battle between Lufile and Kadeem Coleby in the post may be closer than I expected. If that’s a case of Lufile picking up his game and getting closer to Coleby (who has one proven season of solid Division I contributions) that is good for WSU. Both made some plays on Saturday, more defensively than on offense. There is so much skill at other positions, WSU’s post needs to defend, rebound and make easy shots and the Shockers are in good shape. If they can score in the post and make defenses double-team occasionally, even better.
- Fans got a reminder on how detailed WSU’s system is (and why players such as Lufile and Wiggins may make big jumps in their second season) during an offensive session when Marshall called out four plays in advance. That can’t be easy for newcomers to remember and execute.