The early season prognosis for Wichita State wasn’t good following the team’s preseason tour of Canada. The Shockers suffered a 25-point blowout loss in Ottawa at the hands of Carleton University and then two nights later Gregg Marshall had his now-infamous blow-up in Montreal, where he attempted to attack an unsuspecting Canadian college referee.
However, the Shockers’ trip north of the border did bare some fruit moving into this season after losing five seniors to graduation, including two current NBA players in Ron Baker (Knicks) and Fred VanVleet (Raptors).
In their absence, Marshall said he hoped to use that trip to find out who might fill the leadership void. Surprisingly, that answer may come in the form of a redshirt freshman.
Landry Shamet is a guard out of Park Hill High School in Kansas City, MO and came to Wichita State as a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and one of the top 100 players nationally. Shamet is Wichita State’s highest-rated recruit during the Gregg Marshall era and turned down offers from Power Five schools, including Kansas State, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and Missouri.
Shamet was talented enough as a true freshman to earn a spot in the Shockers’ deep lineup last year, but suffered a stress fracture on his left foot in just his third game, putting an early end to his promising freshman campaign. However, after receiving a medical redshirt , Shamet will still have four years of eligibility remaining and is in the rare position of having a do-over on his freshman campaign.
If the trip to Canada is any indication, he looks primed to deliver on the hype surrounding him prior to his arrival on campus.
Physically, he looks more mature than just a year ago and he got off to a promising start on the Shockers’ preseason tour, scoring in double figures in each of the first three games, highlighted by a 16-point effort against the University of Quebec-Montreal.
When you watch a college basketball game in person, certain players’ talent and athleticism becomes much more obvious up close. Shamet is one of those guys. In person, Shamet’s ball-handling was far superior to any of his Wichita teammates or their opponents, and his movement off the ball made it easy to forget he’s played only a few collegiate games. His long arms and slim frame allow him to play much bigger than his listed height of 6’4, which should create match-up problems on the defensive end for his Missouri Valley opponents.
Although his shooting is still inconsistent, his smooth stroke and delivery leads one to believe that it is only a matter of time before he hits his stride.
At the start of the tour, Marshall said his squad has had “10 practices and needs about 30 more.” Shamet and some of the other newcomers to the Shockers’ lineup should benefit from the extra sessions come Nov. 11 when they open the season against South Carolina State.
Shamet definitely passes the eye test and should be in the conversation for post-season accolades in the Missouri Valley Conference if he keeps it up.