Team preview: Wichita State
Blue Ribbon Yearbook previews the 2006-07 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.
(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)
Wichita State coach Mark Turgeon led his team to the Sweet 16 after losing four starters. Shocker fans can only imagine what can happen this season after only one starter has departed. This program's on a roll. Wichita State lived a charmed life last season with its first MVC regular-season title since 1983, its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1981 and the second-most wins in school history (26). It also marked the fourth straight season the Shockers, who lost four starters from the 2004-05 team, went to the postseason.
"Last year we had a season that you wish would never end," said Turgeon, who led WSU to a pair of tournament victories before falling to George Mason -- which was en route to its historic run to the Final Four -- in the Round of 16.
This year, the Shockers return four starters and an experienced bench, so a return to the Big Dance should be no problem, right coach?
"I wish it was that easy," said Turgeon, who was rewarded with a three-year contract extension after the season that runs through 2010. "On paper we look good. I hope guys aren't caught up in themselves [after a special season]."
The fans are caught up in Shocker fever -- season tickets sold out in August for the upcoming season at Koch Arena.
The team might return three double-digit scorers, but replacing MVC Player of the Year Paul Miller (13.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg) will be no easy task. Miller is the all-time leader at WSU in games (132) and leaves as the 15th leading scorer all-time (1,317 points).
"We are really going to miss Paul -- he did everything for us," Turgeon said. "I'm going to have to learn how to coach again. I can't just draw up a play where we throw the ball in to Paul."