Fall 2017

Oh, My My! It's a Season of Shocker Hyena Hoops


Returning all top eight scorers from last season’s team that went 31-5, the Wichita State Shockers netted their highest preseason rankings since the 1981-82 season this fall when they were tabbed No. 8 in the USA Today Coaches Poll on Oct. 19 and then on Nov. 1 were tagged in at the No. 7 spot in the Associated Press College Basketball Poll – No. 7 and No. 8 in the nation despite two of those top scorers being out with injuries, Markis McDuffie (still out) and Landry Shamet (back in Nov. 6).

Wichita State guard Landry Shamet, above, scored a career-
high 30 points in the Shockers' win over Oklahoma State on
Dec. 9. At top, Zach Brown puts up two of his 10 points in
WSU's Dec. 5 win over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.

Wichita State rose to No. 6 as the season got underway in earnest – and a new form of the team’s rallying cry of “Play Angry” took shape. After hearing Eric Thomas, known as “ET, the Hip Hop Preacher,” speak to the team while wearing a T-shirt with a picture of a hyena attacking a lion, the Shockers took up the hyena as their collective animal embodiment of spirit.

Shocker senior Zach Brown explains, “He said they’re not the prettiest animals, they’re not the strongest animals.’ But they’re grinders. They really come together. He basically said they’re the toughest ones, they’re the real dogs of the jungle.” Rashard Kelly adds, “The hyenas hunt the lions. Everybody wants to be the king of the jungle.”

In the opening game of the 2017 Maui Invitational Tournament, the Shockers called on their spirit animal to post a hard-scrabble, grinding win over California, fighting back from an 18-point deficit to beat the Bears 92-82. “After the Cal game, we were like ‘Dang, that was some hyena stuff right there,’” Brown says. “After that, we for real took it that we were ?some hyenas.” That hyena spirit came close to pulling out the Shockers’ only loss of the season to date, their 67-66 loss to No. 13 Notre Dame in the finals of the Maui Invitational.

Wichita State led for almost the entire game, and had a 16-point lead just before the end of the first half. Shooting fueled the Fighting Irish’s comeback. After hitting just 40.7 percent of their shots in the first half, , they shot 58.3 percent in the second half.

After that Nov. 23 loss, the Shockers dropped to No. 8, but won a string of three games including a victory over the No. 16-ranked Baylor Bears 69-62 on Dec. 2 in Waco. After defeating a tough South Dakota State team that has wins over Iowa and Mississippi to its credit, the No. 6 Shockers traveled to Stillwater and wrangled a win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Dec. 9.

Losses by No. 1 Duke, No. 2 Kansas and No. 5 Florida that same December weekend drove a shake-up of the top 10. When the AP poll was released Monday, Dec. 11, Wichita State was No. 3.



Going Out in Style

Wichita State senior volleyball players Abbie Lehman '17 and Emily Hiebert have led the Shockers to unprecedented success.

Oh, My My! It's a Season of Shocker Hyena Hoops

Wichita State adopts a collective animal embodiment of spirit after landing its highest preseason national basketball ranking since 1981-82.

Shockers Looking to Find Ways to Win

Wichita State opens its 2017-18 basketball season with wins over Cal-Irvine, Missouri State and UMKC.

Sports Briefs

Shocker Sports News and Notes.

Bob Lutz

Columnist Bob Lutz '84 says Wichita State basketball coach Gregg Marshall has a formula that is built to last.