‘He's just a winner’: Gregg Marshall on Fred VanVleet's recent success

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Fred VanVleet is the first former Shocker to play in the NBA Finals since 1998, and he's not only there but making an impact. The Toronto Raptors don't make it this far without him. 

"He helps you win. He's just a winner, he always has been a winner," said Wichita State men's basketball coach Gregg Marshall. "This is not surprising to me."

VanVleet averaged just two points per game in the Eastern Conference semifinals, but he got hot and is now averaging more than 15 points in his last four games. 

"I'm just trying to capitalize on that and make open shots when I get them and make plays when I need to make plays, and keep going out there and guarding and scrapping," said VanVleet after beating the Golden State Warriors in game one of the NBA Finals. 

It's VanVleet's heart and determination that has allowed him to play on some of the biggest stages basketball has to offer, despite not being the biggest, strongest or fastest athlete on the court. 

"First of all he's the biggest competitor that I've probably ever been around and I've been around a few," said Marshall who coached VanVleet from 2012-2016. "He's a guy who really hates to lose. He also has an incredible belief in himself, the bet on yourself mantra. He's a guy that's put in the time from when he was little going to the gym early before school, going to the gym after school. He's always put in the time." 

Shocker basketball is all about playing angry, something VanVleet has mastered. Marshall has used his former point guard's success to inspire his young team. 

"I saw a couple of tweets this morning of his play and I would send those to our current players and said who's next," said Marshall. "Who is going to come in here with the right attitude, and the right work ethic and become the next guy. Like Landry and like Fred, two great stories in the NBA this year that are former Shockers."