Friday, March 29, 2013
The Wichita State Shockers were the Kansas basketball team in action Thursday night, so they had a sizable cheering section in the Dallas area, where the Kansas Jayhawks were preparing for their Sweet 16 game against Michigan.
Many basketball fans in Dallas paused to watch the Shockers take on La Salle. Among them was an assistant coach for Michigan. That coach and WSU head coach Gregg Marshall were once part of the same staff.
"He's an excellent, elite-level coach," Michigan assistant coach Jeff Meyer said of Marshall.
Meyer, who was an assistant to Marshall during his first three seasons as head coach at Winthrop, had nothing but praise for a coach he said brings a great energy and toughness to his team and to the basketball court.
"At the same time, he does a great job building relationships with kids," Meyer said.
That, as much as anything allows the Shockers to be successful, Meyer said. The team is close and the players are having fun on the court.
"It's really a testament to Gregg and his staff that they can turn over an entire team last year and be in the Sweet 16 this year and are marching forward," he said.
Wichita State, according to this Michigan coach, is well-poised to continue that march.
"To me, whoever is matched up against Wichita State have got their hands full just because of how well his kids are playing together right now," Meyer said.
Obviously, Coach Meyer has another big game requiring his focus this weekend as his Wolverines are tasked with trying to eliminate the Kansas Jayhawks from the NCAA Tournament. However, he planned to turn his eyes toward Los Angeles for at least a while.
"In and around our routine, I'll definitely have an opportunity to watch Wichita State," he said. "And I'll be pulling for the Shockers tonight."
He was pulling for them last weekend, too, when they beat No. 1 Gonzaga. After that win, Coach Meyer shot Coach Marshall a text message.
"I said, 'Congratulations, great win, great season. Let's go ahead and meet in Atlanta,'" Meyer recalled. "And he hit me back and said, 'That would be fine by me.'"