Is MTXE (Mental Toughness Extra Effort) Back at Wichita State?

by on March 7th, 2015
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Ahhh! Basketball season is finally upon all us fanatics. I for one, am a WSU follower while looking over my shoulder towards Kansas State, and of course Kansas. After last season’s NIT Championship, losing five seniors, and bringing back an experienced scoring threat (David Kyles, 19 points Sunday), I did not know what to expect on Sunday afternoon’s game. Charleston Southern on Friday night almost upset Kansas State and was expected to give WSU a challenge.

As I walked into Koch Arena, passing through the ticket gate moving to our section, I saw many familiar faces, and some not so familiar faces. Many of those familiar faces are from acquaintances made during previous trips to the MVC Conference in St. Louis. This 2011-2012 season, in my belief, is going to be better than the last not just because of the returnees, but especially of the new talent. One surprise was already in place was when Karla Burns sang the National Anthem. This is the first time I have heard her sing since her surgery in 2008 for removal of a neck goiter. She was spectacular; little did I know it was foreshadowing the afternoon of basketball. Next they unfurled the Gold NIT Championship Banner over the Court. With the introductions completed I heard the words “Let’s get ready to Rumble.” And rumble they did.

The fans were expecting a team that could not only play, but also dictate the action. Little did any of us know that the team would effectively shut down CSU in the first half holding them to only 17 points while scoring in smooth transition to a total of 45 points. What I saw was a group of young men who were prepared to play Division One basketball. It seems that Coach Marshall has adopted the MTXE (Mental Toughness / Extra Effort) mantra from the 1980’s, originated by Coach Smithson. Some of us fans saw the heart and hunger of that era once again in Newcomer Carl Hall, whom I am nicknaming “The Beast of the MVC”. I now see why he was the Division III player of the year, and that he will only improve. I do not like comparing players but this young man reminded me of the X-man (Xavier McDaniel). In this game Coach Marshall used his entire bench, which once again has created an air of two complete teams that could start at other schools. This was a nightmare for defenses as well as offenses because these guys can play lock down defense or score in quick fashion.

One member of this team is a young man who has taken a long road to Wichita, KS by way of Lagos, Nigeria. Ehimen Orukpe, a 7 foot center, will be a game changer coming off the bench. Orukpe can sky to block a ball let alone change a players shot selection, but he is quick enough to fly down the court or recover to block a driving layup. He will improve his ability score over the season as his comfort level increases. Up and down I saw a roster that will give the Valley, let alone the rest of the country, a tough game. Koch Arena is the long kept secret of the Midwest and the fans will not let any team who visits forget. Watch out NCAA for the Wichita State Shockers, and MTXE, is coming back to the tournament.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to travel to Puerto Rico for the Puerto Rico Tip-Off where they take on Coach Tad Boyle and the Colorado Buffaloes of the Pac12 on November 17th at 6:30pm CT on ESPNU. My opinion is that the NEW MTXE CREW of Wichita State, although starting off strong, will have to prove themselves to the National Media at this tournament.

The season has started well for Shocker fans, the countdown to March has begun and finally the Yellow and Black will make some noise, not just in Kansas, but nationally as well this season. Coach Marshall and the team has set the bar high. They look as if they are ready to deliver the message. They have the mental toughness and can provide the extra effort to see it through!

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