“I can tell you how rural it is, I hit a deer when I went to see his mom,” Marshall said. “We blew out a tire and hit a deer, so it’s pretty rural.”
When he recruited Early, the Shockers’ leading scorer, Marshall had to petition the NCAA to allow the swingman’s visit to go longer than usual. The reason: Lousy weather was preventing any flights back to New York, essentially stranding Early on the Shockers’ campus.
“I didn’t know where Wichita was, either, before I went there. I had to do my research,” Early recalled. “When I first heard of it, I couldn’t even pronounce it correctly.”
The whole country is quickly finding out where it is now.
The Shockers ran roughshod through Pittsburgh and No. 1-seeded Gonzaga, before knocking off La Salle and Ohio State to reach the Final Four. Along the way, they have dismissed any notion of what it takes to win on college basketball’s grandest stage.
“At this point, they’re all being interviewed, they’re all getting sized for Final Four rings, they’re all getting new Nike gear sent to them,” Marshall said. “What we’ve been teaching is to the victor go the spoils, and when we win, everybody gets a piece of it.”