WICHITA – Gregg Marshall has an issue and it is more than the attitude issues he experienced throughout the 2019-20 season. A team that started with such promise ended in disappointment.
The cherry on top of the up-and-down season is six players have entered the NCAA transfer portal, ending their time at Wichita State.
Erik Stephenson, Grant Sherfield, Mo Udeze, Noah Fernandes, Jamarius Burton, and DeAntoni Gordon all have announced their intent to transfer. Fernandes has already landed at UMass.
Marshall spoke all season long about the locker room issues they were having, whether it was leadership or playing time. A lot of the Shocker’s issues can find a ground zero for when Stephenson started to struggle. The sophomore was a supernova in the first 18 games, helping the Shockers move to as high as No. 16 in the rankings. However, as he faded, so did the Shockers and he was subsequentially moved to the bench.
As the Shockers struggled, their postseason hopes were dashed when the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has gripped out country.
Stephenson admitted to other papers how he was unhappy and they were unable to see eye-to-eye. Past players have spoken up, such as Shaq Morris, among those to voice their displeasure with the program.
It felt as if it was only yesterday when the Shockers were reeling with more transfers and players leaving for the NBA. They had rebuilt their roster overnight and went through some tough ups-and-downs a season ago to see their hard work pay off in the first half of the season.
Shocker basketball has reached such heights and Marshall, as snarky as he can be, is a large reason to why they are their point; both the good and the bad.
Unlike two years ago, the foundation still remains. You have Dexter Dennis and Tyson Etienne, two of the best guards in the American Athletic Conference.
The best part about today’s college basketball is you can rebuild over night with transfers and top recruits. The Shockers are expected to be a front runner for Maize’s Caleb Grill, who is transferring from Iowa State.
All of that is why Marshall and the athletic program must look hard at the program. It only takes a year or two before players start talking and those prime players the Shockers have been recruiting will go elsewhere.
They have to face hard facts that what was working in year’s past is no longer working.