Campus Corner

In Hall of Fame induction, Wichita State legend Xavier McDaniel talks up alma mater

Updated: 2013-11-25T04:11:23Z

By PAUL SUELLENTROP

The Wichita Eagle

Xavier McDaniel is the first Wichita State basketball player inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Thrilled by the honor, he happily spread around praise for other Shockers.

“This is one of the highest honors you can get,” he said. “When I go in, Wichita State goes in, my teammates go in, even though my name is there. The fans go in there, because we’ve had some great, great, great fans over the years. Without them, we couldn’t make this possible.”

He joined the hall’s eighth class Sunday at The Midland. The National Association of Basketball Coaches Foundation started the hall in 2006 to “honor and celebrate those who have made extraordinary contributions to the game of men’s college basketball.”

McDaniel fits that criteria, and he thinks other Shockers do as well. He starts the list with All-American Dave Stallworth, who played for the Shockers during 1961-65. He considers Stallworth the No. 1 Shocker.

“Dave is the man,” he said. “Hopefully, Antoine (Carr) and Cliff (Levingston) and Cleo (Littleton) and Dave will all be joining me.”

McDaniel, a 6-foot-8 forward who played for coach Gene Smithson during 1981-85, scored 2,152 points, ranking second in the program’s history. His 1,359 rebounds rank first. He won Missouri Valley Conference player of the year in 1984 and 1985 and was a consensus All-American in 1985 before Seattle picked him fourth in the NBA Draft. He played 12 NBA seasons, six with Seattle, and earned a spot in the 1988 All-Star Game.

In 1984-85, he averaged 27.2 points and 14.8 rebounds, becoming the first player to lead the nation in scoring and rebounding in the same season. He averaged 18.4 points and 11.6 rebounds in his career, leading the Shockers to the 1984 NIT and the 1985 NCAA Tournament.

The current Shockers practiced Sunday evening at the Sprint Center and then joined the early festivities at the College Basketball Experience, connected to the arena. Cleanthony Early touched almost 11 feet on the display that measures leaping ability. His teammates toured the facility, reading the many historical displays. They know about McDaniel, who spoke to the team before a game last season and watched them play in the Final Four in Atlanta.

“Him coming back to show his support means everything to the new players and makes us want to represent him, as well as ourselves,” sophomore Evan Wessel said. “It show what he means to Shocker nation and Wichita State.”

McDaniel follows Witchita State closely, often on his smartphone while watching his daughter play at North Carolina. His connections to Wichita State remain and former teammates Aubrey Sherrod and Gary Cundiff traveled to Kansas City for the ceremony.

“I’m a fan forever,” he said. “I’m always watching them. You should support your alma mater.”

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