NCAA Tournament

Wichita State guard goes from changing oil to Final Four

Updated: 2013-04-06T04:56:05Z

By BLAIR KERKHOFF

The Kansas City Star

The oil changer

Wichita State guard point guard Malcolm Armstead took the long route to Kansas. The Florence, Ala., native played junior-college ball in Florida, played a year at Oregon and transferred to Wichita.

The Shockers didn’t have a scholarship available for him, so Armstead got a job at a car dealership in Cheney, Lubber Cars. He was a runner, driving cars from one lot to another, and a jack-of-all-trades.

“I learned to change oil, rotate tires, I didn’t know that stuff before I started working there,” Armstead said. “They gave me a great opportunity.”


Cowboy up

Shockers forward Carl Hall, from Cochran, Ga. — about 120 miles from Atlanta — knew little of Wichita State when the junior-college All-America went looking for a Division I home.

“I had to Google it,” he said. “When I first heard, ‘Wichita,’ I’m thinking a small, country town, people walking around in cowboy boots on.”

Armstead went for the Hollywood stereotype in his early research.

“When I found out it was in Kansas, the first thing that came to mind was Wizard of Oz,” he said.

Drury meets media

On Sunday, Drury of Springfield, Mo., will meet Metro State of Denver for the Division II championship.

The NCAA has brought its Divisions II and III title games to Atlanta as part of the NCAA Tournament’s 75th birthday.

The teams, including Division III finalists Mary Hardin-Baylor and Amhurst, got the full media treatment on Friday — at the podium with a moderator.

“Just being here with the D-1s and seeing all the things they’re going through and we’re doing the same thing they are, it’s something special,” said senior guard Brandon Lockhart.


McGruder wins finale

Rodney McGruder’s East team won the NABC All-Star Game 87-81 over the West team that was coached by Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg.

“I won my last college game, and in the Georgia Dome,” said McGruder, the Kansas State senior who had 11 points, including four free throws in the final minute that helped seal the outcome.

McGruder said he doesn’t have an agent yet, but looks to land one soon. He’ll be playing in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament for professional prospects next week in Virginia.

Kansas guards Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson and Missouri forward Laurence Bowers are listed on PIT rosters.

Thanks, Danny

Several former college star players and coaches spoke to the NCAA’s 75th birthday, including Kansas’ Danny Manning and Duke’s Christian Laettner, who offered thanks to Manning,

“I want to thank Danny for not letting Duke win in 1988,” Laettner said.

Huh? Kansas won the 1988 title by beating the Blue Devils in the semifinals and Oklahoma in the title game. How did that impact Laettner’s college career?

“If Duke had won in ’88, I might not have signed with them,” he said. “Since they didn’t win that year, I said to myself, ‘They haven’t to the pinnacle yet; I want to be a the team when they get there.’ And it worked out that way.

“When Duke didn’t win in 1988, I thought everything was just primed for them to get to the next level. I really wanted to be part of the program when they were doing that. So thanks to Danny for making sure that didn’t happen.”

All-time tournament team

An all-tournament team has long been part of the Final Four. Friday, the NCAA announced an all-time all-tournament team.

The 15-member team includes Manning, whose 31 points and 18 rebounds against Oklahoma in 1988 paved the way for one of the tournament’s biggest upset victories. Fans and college sports personnel and media voted for the players, the all-time team — the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers — and the tournament’s greatest moment. That was the buzzer beater by Laettner against Kentucky to win the 1992 East Regional.

The top 15 players:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, UCLA; Larry Bird, Indiana State; Bill Bradley, Princeton; Patrick Ewing, Georgetown; Grant Hill, Duke.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Michigan State; Michael Jordan, North Carolina; Christian Laettner, Duke; Jerry Lucas, Ohio State; Danny Manning, Kansas.

Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston; Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati; Bill Russell, San Francisco; Bill Walton, UCLA; Jerry West, West Virginia.

| Blair Kerkhoff, bkerkhoff@kcstar.com

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