Vol. 17, No. 6 November 2, 2000 Issue

Basketball teams get ready for play

Both women’s and men’s basketball teams at WSU are combining old with new as they get ready to start their seasons this month. Fans can get a preview of the men’s team tonight (Thursday, Nov. 2) in an exhibition game, while the women’s first exhibition is Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Considered one of the top young coaches in the country with his turnaround of the Jacksonville State program in just two seasons, new head men’s coach Mark Turgeon and his squad are facing an aggressive schedule. The in-state rivalry against Kansas State is back on the schedule (in Levitt Arena Nov. 21), and the team will travel to Tulsa Dec. 22 to renew that rivalry against its former conference foe. The Shockers also will host Washington (Nov. 30) and Oklahoma State (Dec. 6) and travel to Wyoming (Dec. 30).

"I think our players, our community and alumni are excited about the challenging schedule," said Turgeon. "Without question, it is going to help us prepare for the Valley league schedule."

The Shocker men return eight players from a year ago, including Terrell Benton, who was named to the Missouri Valley Conference’s All-Bench team and is WSU’s top returning scorer at 12 points a game.

Benton leads a group of wing players including Duke Tshomba, a 6-5 junior from Brussels, Belgium, who averaged 14.3 points and 5.5 rebounds a game at Santa Monica Junior College; Fort Collins, Colo., freshman Matt Clark, who averaged 34 points as a high school senior; and redshirt Josh Drumgole. Highly touted recruit C.C. McFall, who will play point guard, may see some wing time, too.

McFall leads a core of point guards including senior Michael Phillips and junior Craig Steven.

"I feel we are solid and deep at the point guard position. I also think we’re very intelligent at point," said Turgeon.

"Post is where we are somewhat thin, but I am confident in the young men that we do have. I think we have some very skilled players at the post with Troy Mack, Willie Davis, Adam Grundvig, Juston White, and O.J. Robinson is going to play some post, also." All, except Grundvig, are returning players.

Fans are banking on Turgeon’s basketball pedigree to bring out the best in the men’s squad. A native of Topeka, Turgeon played for Larry Brown at the University of Kansas. He also coached with Brown with the NBA’s Philadelphia Sixers. He also was an assistant with KU’s Roy Williams and Jerry Green.

The Shocker women will have eight new players dotting the roster this season, including Wichita native and Kapaun-Mount Carmel standout Angela Buckner, a post player. She led the state in rebounding with 15.9 rpg and was second in scoring with 19 ppg.

The program is looking to build upon its first two years of success under head coach Darryl Smith when it tips off its regular season with a first round preseason WNIT game at the University of Texas.

Smith, who garnered a number of coaching awards this past year, coached the team to 20 wins last season. It was only the second time in school history the team reached that mark.

"In two years, we’ve shown our players can play hard and gutsy and that will continue," said Smith. "We’ve established that we can compete in the past two years. That’s a sign of progress for a program." The women finished tied for second in the Valley last year.

The team is returning three starters: senior Courtney Sims, junior Jennifer Kaczka and sophomore Raeven King.

"Those three are a great nucleus for us this year," Smith said. Sims led the league in 3-point field goals made, while Kaczka, a member of the All-Valley team, led the league in rebounding.

Along with Buckner, other newcomers expected to make an immediate impact in the backcourt are junior Renada Collins and freshman Kenya Woods. Also joining the team are junior transfers Brooke Atkinson and Carlesa Dixon and freshmen Michelle Pettigrew, Alisha Cade and Tisharra Huggins.

Other returning players are junior Christie Winans, sophomore LaToya Jackson, Carrie Duncan and Rachel Diekmann.

"I can’t guarantee winning, but I can guarantee we’ll give ‘em heck," Smith said.

– Compiled by Amy Geiszler-Jones

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Inside WSU is published by the Office of University Communications for Wichita State University faculty, staff and friends on biweekly Thursdays during the fall and spring semesters. Items to be considered for publication should be sent to campus box 62 or amy.geiszler-jones@wichita.edu 10 days before publication.

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