Can we expect to be “shocked” again?
No Respect From Odds Makers
Even after a 30-9 season in a relatively weak Missouri Valley Conference and a monster run in the Big Dance, the Shockers are listed as +8000 betting odds to win the NCAA Championship in the 2013-2014 season.
Let’s take a look at this team and see if they’re the real deal or if last season was a fluke due to weak opposition?
Lebron James’s Cousin, a Shocker?
Yes, it’s true, LBJ’s cousin is taking his talent as the 10th ranked JUCO recruit to Wichita State. 6 foot 7 Darius Carter knows what it’s like to play in the big game. He and his Vicennes University Trailblazers, made it to the 3rd place game in the NJCAA. Carter had 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots in a losing effort.
Is this the next Lebron James? If so, the +8000 NCCAB odds look mighty appealing in taking Wichita State to contend for the National Championship.
Other than Carter, Earl Watson out of Chipola College was also recruited as a JUCO transfer. Some colleges find great success in recruiting this way. The Shockers didn’t land any names of note other than JUCO as 6 foot 8, 262 pound Shaquille Morris was their top recruit and a modest 3-star player.
Forward, Cleanthony Early, decided to stay at Wichita State for another year. While averaging a respectable 13.9 points and 5.4 rebounds during the 2012-2013 season, Early had the game of his life in the Final Four 4 point loss to Louisville. He scored 24 points and 10 rebounds. This is a player that you can expect to be oozing with confidence at the start of the season.
An Old Team
More pressure will be put on Early as Carl Hall (12.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg), Malcolm Armstead (10.7 ppg, 4 apg, 3.8 rpg), and Demetric Williams (7.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.2 apg) have all played their last games in a Shockers uniform.
Fortunately for Wichita State, they had a very deep squad last season. 11 players played 10 minutes or more per game and the experience that the role players have gained will be a huge plus for a team that’s suffered some key losses.
Baker a Factor
Guard Ron Baker plans on being a key player after a freshman year in which he delivered late in the season. Baker had 11 points and 8 rebounds in the Final Four game and plays much bigger than his 6 foot 3, 218 pound frame.
This team will need a lot of luck to get back to the Final Four with a lack of recruits outside of the JUCO scene. With that said, look for Cleanthony Early to have a huge season and any player that has the same bloodline as Lebron James is a threat to succeed. Darius Carter proved to be a huge success in junior college. If he can take it to the next level and live up to the hype, this team could surprise a lot of people and should still be great for our weekly college basketball picks.