Since his tenure began, Marshall took his team to two NIT tournaments–winning one in 2011–and back-to-back-to-back NCAA tournaments in 2012, 2013 and now 2014, with a Final Four appearance last year. Now Marshall and his team are craving bigger dreams. They’re craving an NCAA title. With the reputations of mid-major teams constantly sullied because of their lack of competition, Wichita State has emerged as the lone warrior among all.
Here are their five best players since 2000.
*** *** ***
5. Sean Ogirri
While the senior Paul Miller was receiving the accolades for his play down low in the paint, Ogirri was a dominant second option during their ’05-06 season. He was a sniper from deep and shot near 45 percent from deep while averaging 12 points a game that year. He ingratiated the nation with his performance against Seton Hall in the first round of the tournament when he dropped 23 light ones, sprinkling four threes in the faces of Pirates defenders. He also dropped another pair of threes to help oust No. 2 seed Tennessee to clinch a Sweet Sixteen berth for his team.
Despite leaving the team for his final season to play for Wyoming, his heroics in the ’05-06 tourney won’t be forgotten by Shocker nation.
4. Paul Miller
Before Gregg Marshall took over, Mark Turgeon was at the helm. While Marshall took the Shockers to new heights, Turgeon had a Cinderella run of his own back in ’05-06. Forward/center Paul Miller had a very turbulent start to his collegiate career where he broke his ankle three games in. After watching his freshman year collapse right in front of his very eyes, Miller insisted on bulking up to return stronger his following year. He would be named on to the MVC All-Freshman team by averaging seven points and four rebounds.
But it would be his senior year where he burst onto the national forefront. Serving as the engine to the Shockers in their rapid fire run to the Sweet Sixteen, he averaged 13 points and seven rebounds, shooting over 51 percent from the field. His play earned him MVC Player of the Year and an All American honorable mention.
3. Toure’ Murry
New Yorkers didn’t know who Toure’ was when he inked his contract with the Knicks. He was another product of Marshall’s who performed, especially on the defensive end. Prior to his arrival, the Shockers’ future seemed murky. Yet when he walked onto the court, everything changed. A defensive guru, who relished in playing the passing lanes and providing pesky defense, Murry earned his stripes in the Missouri Valley Conference. He was on the All-Missouri Valley Freshman Team and All-Missouri Valley Newcomer Team in 2009. In addition to that, he was a two-time All-Defensive Missouri Valley Conference selection.
By helping his team win the NIT championship in 2011 and being a spark plug during their run in the tourney in 2012, he proved how his hustle and heart could outshine talent on a national stage.
Hit page 2 to check out which players topped this list…