WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) -- Wichita State takes its 7-5 record into American Conference play Thursday night, when it faces the Memphis Tigers.
Gregg Marshall faces a familiar foe in the Tigers' back court--former top recruit Alex Lomax.
The four-star guard committed to Wichita State last year before his current head coach Penny Hardaway took over the Tigers.
Hardaway coached Lomax throughout his high school and AAU career. Gregg Marshall and the Shockers released his commitment in March.
"It was a once in a lifetime situation where my high school coach goes to DI and gets a head coach job at the college level," Lomax told WREG in Memphis. "[Marshall] pretty much understood and said to me he would do the same thing if it were the other way around."
Hardaway and Lomax won three-consecutive Tennessee Class AAA State Championships together at Memphis East High School.
"[Marshall] understood the relationship that Alex and I had. He's still going to have a lot of respect--I still have a lot of respect for coach Marshall for doing that," Hardaway told WREG in Memphis. "He sold Alex on wanting to come to Wichita, so he's always going to have those feelings for him as well. It just shows what kind of class act he is and Alex is probably going to be looking forward to this game."
Marshall said Wednesday he's watched Lomax this season and he's impressed with his performance, especially coming off of the bench in most games. Lomax is averaging 6.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.3 steals in 25.6 minutes per game.
"Just making winning plays -- he's a winner," Marshall said. "He gets on the floor for loose balls. He plays really hard. He's not shooting it great, but we've got a couple of guards that aren't shooting it great either. He's a floor general. He's a guy that's going to help your team win."
Wichita State entered the season ranked 8th in the coaches' poll. The Shockers begin their second half Thursday night at 8:30 in Memphis on CBS Sports Network.