Basketball Wiki
Wichita State Shockers
Wichita State Shockers.jpg
School Name: Wichita State University
Location: Wichita, Kansas
Arena: Charles Koch Arena
Capacity: 10,506
Conference: The American
Head coach: Gregg Marshall

Previously known as the Wichita State Wheat Shockers. The Wichita State Shockers men's basketball team is the NCAA Division I men's basketball program of Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas. They currently compete in the American Athletic Conference. The team last played in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in 2018, where they lost in the first round to Marshall. The Shockers most recently made the Final Four in 2013, defeating Pittsburgh , regional top seed Gonzaga, La Salle, and Ohio State before losing to Louisville, which won the tournament but saw its title vacated after NCAA sanctions stemming from a major sex scandal. The following year, the Shockers entered the NCAA Tournament unbeaten, becoming the first Division I men's team to do so since UNLV in 1991, but lost in the second round to Kentucky. The Wichita State Shockers men's basketball team plays their home games at Charles Koch Arena (10,572). The Shockers are currently coached by Gregg Marshall, who replaced Mark Turgeon, now the head coach at Maryland, before the 2007-08 season.


The Wichita State Shockers men's basketball team began play in 1906 under head coach Willis Bates. During this time, the sports teams were known as the "Wheatshockers". The first official game was held in the basement of Fairmount Hall. Wichita State lost to Washburn University by a score of 37-10. During this inaugural season, the Wheatshockers only won two games. Several years later, interest began to grow in the Wichita State Shockers basketball program. As a result, a new stadium was erected on the campus of WSU. Memorial Gymnasium was opened on January 15, 1921 in a game against the American Legion of Wichita. The gym was later renamed Henrion Gymnasium in 1926. That same year, Wichita State joined the Central Conference in athletics.

Perhaps one of the earliest successful teams in WSU history emerged the following year. Led by First-Team All-American Ross McBurney and Second-Team All-American Harold Reynolds, the Wheatshockers finished the 1927 season with a 13-1 record and a second-place finish behind conference champions Pittsburg State University. Wichita State Athletics struggled throughout the 1930s due to the Depression and Stock Market Crash. The Wichita State Shockers men's basketball team continued to gain national prominence throughout the rest of the 1930s and 1940s.[1]

Coach Ralph Miller Era

Shocker basketball gained huge success with the arrival of Coach Ralph Miller and Cleo Littleton in 1951. Littleton was by far the top basketball player that Wichita State had seen. He averaged 18.2 points per game as a freshman, a school record that still stands today. Littleton was the first player west of the Mississippi to score 2,000 points in a season and is one of only four Wichita State players to have his number retired. He was also one of the first African-American players in the Missouri Valley Conference, which it joined in 1945. Littleton averaged 19 points per game during his career and he still owns 7 school records. Due to this success, Wichita State decided to construct a new home for the Shockers. Through appropriated money by the WU Board of Regents, Wichita State was able to construct a new field house for the men's basketball team, costing $1.4 million. On December 3, 1955, the Shockers played their first game in WU Field House in front of more than 9,000 fans.

After the departure of Cleo Littleton, Wichita State lost some national prominence, yet still remained highly-respected by teams across the country. Dave Stallworth entered the program in the 1961-62 season. Nicknamed "The Rave", Stallworth became the Shockers' first consensus All-American in 1964. He finished with a career scoring average of 24.2 points per game and was second on the all-time scoring list with 1,936 points. During his 13-year stint at WSU, Ralph Miller became the winningest coach in Shocker basketball history, collecting 255 victories. Miller is a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and currently ranks as the eighth-winningest coach in college basketball history.[1]

Gary Thompson Era

The 1964-65 season was the most successful in Shocker history. On December 14, 1964, Gary Thompson led Wichita State to its first-ever No. 1 ranking. The 19-7 Shockers won the MVC and earned a berth into the Midwest Regional. After defeating Southern Methodist and an Oklahoma State team led by Henry Iba, the Shockers headed to the Final Four in Portland. There, the Shockers were matched against the defending national champion UCLA Bruins. After a hard-fought game, the Shockers were defeated 108-89. The Shockers played a third-place game against Princeton University, losing 118-82. The rest of Coach Thompson’s career at WSU would be a struggle, and the Shockers would not see a national ranking for 15 years, but Thompson would coach one of the most versatile players in WSU history. Around this time, Warren Armstrong played for the Shockers and made big contributions throughout his career. During his sophomore season, Armstrong set two school records, averaging almost 12 rebounds a game while setting a Shocker single-game assist mark with 12. Blessed with superior leaping ability and an uncanny ability to see the whole court, Armstrong was a team player who would rather pass to an open teammate than take his own shot. Warren Armstrong would later enjoy a productive career in the ABA, but only after becoming a three-time all-Valley performer from 1966-1968. Armstrong holds four of WSU’s 10 triple double games (double-figure points, rebounds, assist, or blocks).

During the next 10 years, Shocker basketball did not enjoy quite the same amount of success that it enjoyed in the 1960s.

Despite this lack of success, the Shockers faithful witnessed the play of Terry Benton, then the best rebounder in school history. From 1969-1972, Benton, from Wichita High School East, would simply dominate opposing teams on the boards.[1]

Gene Smithson Era

In the 1970s success returned under Coach Gene Smithson, who wanted to instill both mental toughness and extra effort to his team. On February 6, 1971, Benton pulled down a school-record 29 rebounds in a game against North Texas State. During his junior season, Benton snatched 20 or more rebounds in seven games. With a career 16.8 rebounds per game, Benton once grabbed 69 rebounds in a three-game conference stretch. Earning all-MVC honors in 1971-72, Benton finished his career with 1,003 points and 963 rebounds. Another terrific player at this time was Lynbert "Cheese" Johnson.


Former Missouri Valley Conference logo

Johnson was a top 10 recruit as a senior out of New York’s Haaren High School. Recruited by Coach Harry Miller, Johnson began his stellar career at WSU in 1975, averaging 11.2 points a game and shooting almost 52 percent from the field. Smithson enjoyed the presence of Cheese his first full season with the Shockers in 1978-79. Johnson’s senior season would be one remembered for many years to come. He averaged 22.2 points while playing 35 minutes a contest. A fan favorite, Johnson played his last game in front of the Shocker faithful on February 17, 1979. With family and friends in the stands, Cheese poured in 27 points and added 13 rebounds, distinguishing him with WSU’s basketball immortals.

In 1980, Wichita State was placed on two-year probation which a shame since the 1981 team had three future NBA players on it - Xavier McDaniel, Cliff Levingston and Antoine Carr.

Xavier McDaniel came to Wichita with an attitude and determination that would eventually make him one of the greatest players in WSU history. Four years later, X had posted 2,152 points placing him second in all-time scoring behind Littleton, while setting the school record with 1,359 rebounds.

“X” had arguably the best season ever by a collegiate player, becoming the first NCAA Division I player to lead the nation in scoring and rebounding by averaging 27.2 points and 14.8 rebounds a game, while shooting 55.9 percent from the field.

In 1986, allegations and declining support by the school and city forced Gene Smithson out as head coach. In nine seasons, Smithson collected 155 wins, placing him second behind Ralph Miller on the WSU all-time list. He averaged almost 20 wins a season, and was the first coach to guide WSU to back-to-back 20-win seasons.[1]

Scott Thompson Era

At a press conference on March 24, 1992, Scott Thompson was hired as the new WSU basketball coach. Regarded as one of the brightest young coaches in the game, he had spent 10 years as an assistant coach at Notre Dame, Iowa, and Arizona before taking over the program at Rice, and building it into a 20-game winner in five years. Although Thompson’s years as coach at WSU did not produce winning records, he did have two transfer guards and a young forward who excelled. Jimmy Bolden transferred to WSU for his senior season from St. Mary’s College and averaged a team best 13.4 points a game in 1992-93. L.D. Swanson then stepped in at point guard during his senior season, and was known as the “go-to” guy.

During the 1994-95 season, Swanson made three game-winning shots at or near the buzzer to bring a brief frenzied atmosphere back to Levitt Arena. Playing almost the entire game every night, Swanson averaged 14 points and a WSU career record 38.4 minutes per game, and led the Shockers to a 13-14 record, best in six years. Also in 1994-95, sophomore Jamie Arnold became the first Shocker to lead the MVC in rebounding since Xavier McDaniel in 1984-85. Arnold also led the MVC in field goal percentage that season with 51.3 percent, and was the first Shocker to do so since Neil Strom shot 59.0 percent in 1974-75. He also became WSU’s 30th player to score more than 1,000 points in his career despite missing 23 games from his sophomore to senior seasons for injury and suspension.

Even though a few individual performances were outstanding, Thompson did not bring a winning season to Wichita.[1]

Mark Turgeon Era

After the 1999-2000 season, WSU turned to Topeka, Kansas, native Mark Turgeon on March 11, 2000, to man the head coaching position. Turgeon guided the Shockers to a 9-19 record during his first season at the healm. Including the claim that the 2001 freshman class is one of the best recruiting classes in recent school history. In Mark Turgeon's second year Wichita State began its resurgence with a combination of several veterans and newcomers to compile a 15-15 record in 2001-02. Meanwhile, as the renovation and reconstruction of Levitt Arena loomed at season's end, the Shockers completed their 47th season in the arena as Shocker fans had known it.

Helped by an 11-3 record in Levitt Arena, WSU’s overall record in the arena rose to 502-185 since it opened during the 1955-56 season. WSU also reached win No. 500 against SMS Feb. 9, while more than 5.7 million fans filed through the "Roundhouse" gates. WSU’s 15 overall wins also marked the most since the 1997-98 season, while the 11 Levitt wins marked the sixth time in the last eight years that WSU registered double-figure wins at home. Eight regular-season Valley wins also marked the most since 11 in 1997-98. In 2002-03, Wichita State's 18 overall wins marked the most since the 1988-89 season. In addition, the Shockers' 12-4 home record, and 12 regular-season Valley wins were the most since the 1982-83 season. That year was when WSU was 17-1 in loop play, and won its last regular-season Valley title. With three-straight wins against Austin Peay, SMS and Illinois State during the season, WSU bested its 18-win total of the previous season, and finished with 21 wins, the second most in the Mark Turgeon Era and the most since the 1986-87 season when then-coach Eddie Fogler coached his team to a 22-11 record and a first-round NCAA game.

In 2004-05, Wichita State continued to excel, reaching the third game of the Postseason NIT, and taking the Shockers to back-to-back-to-back postseason trips for the first time since 1987-88-89, when it went to two NCAAs followed by an NIT. WSU's 2004-05 team went 22-10 overall, finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference, and were ranked in the top 30 for nine weeks. The Shockers' 9-0 start tied for the best in school history, while WSU won its first postseason game since 1989. Head Coach Mark Turgeon then left Wichita State on April 10, 2007, after a seven-year run and a 128-90 record as the third-winningest coach in Shocker history behind Ralph Miller and Gene Smithson. On April 14, 2007, Gregg Marshall was announced as 26th head men's basketball coach at Wichita State.[1]

Gregg Marshall Era

Gregg Marshall is the current Wichita State Shockers men's basketball coach and is currently in his third season with the Shockers. Marshall previously coached at Winthrop University for nine seasons. In his first season (2007–08) the team finished with a record of 11-20. In his second season they posted a 17-17 record. The following season (2009–2010), the Shockers went 25-10 culminating with an NIT tournament appearance. The invite was due in large part to their strong 16-1 home record. Their only loss at home that year was in the NIT against Nevada.  The 2010-2011 season despite finishing Second in the Missouri Valley Conference the Shockers were not invited to the NCAA Tournament but made the most of their second consecutive NIT Tournament by winning the NIT Championsship defeating Nebraska, College of Charleston, Virginia Tech, Washington State and Alabama and a 29-8 season record.  2012 the Shockers were regular season Missouri Valley Conference champions and made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2006 but lost to Virginia Commonwealth in the second round.  The following season 2012-2013 the Shockers ended up finishing in Second Place in the Missouri Valley but also made their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance The Shockers defeated Pittsburgh, #1 Ranked  Gonzaga, LaSalle and Ohio State to make their First Final Four Appearance since 1965 but lost to Louisville 72-68 in the Semi-Finals.  The Shockers have followed that up in the 2013-2014 season by sweeping their regular season opponents and finishing with a 31-0 undefeated record entering the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Men's Basketball Tournament. They were the only team in 2013-14 season to finish the regular season without a single loss. The team's most notable win was at Saint Louis, with guard Ron Baker leading the way for a 70-65 road victory. 

NCAA Tournament Results

The Shockers have appeared in 8 NCAA Tournaments. Their combined record is 8–9.

Year Round Opponent Result/Score
1964 Second Round*
Elite Eight
Kansas State
W 84–68
L 94–93
1965 Second Round*
Elite Eight
Final Four
Third Place Game
Southern Methodist
Oklahoma State
W 86–81
W 54–46
L 108–98
L 118–82
1976 First Round Michigan L 74–73
1981 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
W 95–70
W 60–56
W 66–65
L 96–85
1985 First Round Georgia L 67–59
1987 First Round St. John's L 57–55
1988 First Round DePaul L 83–62
2006 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Seton Hall
George Mason
W 86–66
W 80–73
L 63–55
  • In 1964 & 1965 there were first round games in their regional but the Shockers had a bye to the second round.

NIT Results

The Shockers have appeared in 12 National Invitation Tournaments. Their combined record is 8–11.

Year Round Opponent Result/Score
1954 First Round Bowling Green L 88–64
1962 First Round Dayton L 79–71
1963 Quarterfinals Villanova L 54–53
1966 Quarterfinals NYU L 90–84
1980 First Round UTEP L 58–56
1984 First Round Michigan L 94–70
1989 First Round
Second Round
UC Santa Barbara
Michigan State
W 70–62
L 79–67
2003 Opening Round Iowa State L 76–65
2004 First Round Florida State L 91–84
2005 Opening Round
First Round
Second Round
Western Kentucky
W 85–69
W 84–81
L 65–63
2010 First Round Nevada L 74–70
2011 First Round
Second Round
Virginia Tech
College of Charleston
Washington State
W 76–49
W 79–76
W 82–75
W 75-44
W 66-57

CBI Results

The Shockers have appeared in 1 College Basketball Invitational. Their combined record is 1–1.

Year Round Opponent Result/Score
2009 First Round
W 84–73
L 70–56

Current coaching staff

Gregg Marshall Head Coach
Chris Jans Associate Head Coach
Greg Heiar Assistant coach
Steve Forbes Assistant coach
Kerry Rosenboom Strength and Conditioning
Todd Fagan Athletic Trainer
Devon Smith Manager of Player Development
Dominic Okon Director of Basketball Operations
Ryan Hillard Special Assistant to the Head Coach

See also


External Links