Spring 2011

Shock Talk

Crowson CartoonShockers everywhere, at events long ago or happenings just the other day, always have something interesting to say. Take this sampling as a Shock Talk example:

“I know the city of Wichita is on fire!”

— Gregg Marshall, in response to the question, “Coach, what does this NIT championship mean to you and Wichita State?” during a post-game interview on ESPN2 March 31 in Madison Square Garden, where the Shockers ignited to throw down Alabama, 66-57, for the title win.  

“I’m hysterical about this.”

— Bob Jackson ’69/72, a PE teacher at Wichita’s Earhart Environmental Magnet Elementary School, as quoted by Rick Plumlee of the Wichita Eagle in a story posted March 31 about Jackson’s providing temporary WuShock tattoos to all 377 of his students. WSU Alumni Association staff gave Jackson the tattoos at the March 29 Shocker basketball watch party at Wichita’s Fox and Hound, the official watch party site for the alumni association.

“Ah, man, cool experience, really cool experience. Great trip to New York. Our team is gonna have the rest of our lives with the memory of winning at Madison Square Garden. We’re always gonna remember this day.”

— Garrett Stutz, WSU junior center, during the NIT championship post-game press conference March 31. Stutz had scored a career-high 24 points and grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds two days earlier in the semifinal game against Washington State. Stutz and the Shockers decimated the Cougars, 75-44, eliciting this comment from an ESPN2 announcer: “These guys are a machine.”

“Wichita State’s first taste of the Big Apple was simply delightful!”

— Austin Colbert, Sunflower sportswriter, in the March 30 edition of the student newspaper. 

This spring, Shockers everywhere are buzzing about Wichita State’s 2010-11 men’s basketball team, which surely everyone in our Shocker Nation knows by now brought home the program’s first national title, the 2011 National Invitation Tournament championship. Yet the team’s first NIT appearance in New York’s Madison Square Garden at the March 29 semifinal game against that other WSU (Washington State) isn’t the first time a Shocker team played in the storied sports venue.

Shockers at 1953-54 NITThe first Shockers to play the Garden (in fact, the first Shockers to enter post-season play in either the NIT or the NCAA Tournament) were the 1953-54 Ralph Miller-coached players, some of whom are shown in the photo here.

That season, the Shockers, led by Cleo “The Cat” Littleton ’55, posted 27 victories in 31 starts, catching the attention of NIT officials and nabbing one of 12 bids to the tournament.

Littleton’s teammates were Paul Scheer ’54, Don Laketa ’55, Gary Thompson ’54, Verlyn Anderson ’55, Bob Hodgson ’57, Merv Carman ’56, Jim McNerney ’55, Leo Carney ’57, Jim Strathe ’56, Rod Grubb ’56, Alex Chuk ’54, Tippy Tucker ’55, Glenn Boyer ’57, Bobby Argumedo ’57 and Dean Sutcliffe ’55.

Despite the record-setting lineup, the Shockers fell in the first round to Bowling Green. Other Shocker teams to gain NIT?bids came in 1961-62, 1962-63, 1965-66, 1979-80, 1983-84, 1988-89, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2009-10. Only the earlier teams took the floor at the Garden for their games, and only two teams – the 1988-89 and the 2004-05 Shockers – made it to second-round play.


Shock Talk

Shockers everywhere, at events long ago or happenings just the other day, always have something interesting to say.