Kentucky’s recruiting haul this season widely is believed to be the most talented recruiting class ever.
Each player was recruited by every great basketball program in the country except for maybe one.
“We didn't even send a form letter to any of them (Kentucky freshmen),” Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall said. “I am not sure, I haven't checked all the way down with the walk-ons, but we didn't send any form letters. I didn't even know who their players were, honestly. I didn't watch them in AAU's and that's a different level of recruiting. We don't deal with that. People ask me, like uncles and cousins and my dad, what do you think of Julius Randle? I didn't even know what he looked like until this current season and watched him on television because we don't recruit those players.”
The Shockers have found success with passed over recruits and diamonds in the rough that the Kentucky’s of the world didn’t give a second glance to.
“I bet not one player on our team got a form letter from Kentucky,” Marshall said. “So it's just a whole different level of recruiting and whatnot. And they do what works well for them, and we try to do what works well for us.”
Point guard Fred VanVleet was just inside the top 100 of recruiting rankings and was considered a big time get for the Shockers.
Even though Wichita State will likely never pull in a recruiting class chalked full of surefire NBA talent, the recruiting game is evolving for the Shockers.
“Our recruiting is changing now. It's getting a little easier to get involved with some better players, and we signed a really wonderful group of young players this coming year,” Marshall said.
Even though the Shockers can now cast a wider net with potential recruits, Marshall and his staff have not changed what they are looking for in players.
“We try to find guys that have great character and are very coachable because we demand quite a bit from them. They go to class every day. They work extremely hard in practice, as we talked about. They play as a team. They share the basketball. They play on both ends. They have to play defense in order to get an opportunity to play on offense,” Marshall said. “Then we want athleticism and guys that can score the basketball some way. If they have athleticism and play hard and are coachable (then) I can teach them to defend and rebound. But they have got to be able to score some way or affect scoring in some way.”
The Shockers will put their undefeated record on the line against Kentucky at 1:45 p.m. Sunday in St. Louis.