Gregorian Chants

March 12, 2014

Ron Baker’s gesture shows Shockers honor the game in more ways than one

The highlight of Wichita State’s win in the Valley tournament was seeing sophomore Ron Baker applauding for Sycamores’ senior star Jake Odum when he went out late in the game. Baker then followed Odum toward the bench and beckoned Shocker fans to pay homage, too. The Shockers are gracing the game in more ways than one. And that’s just another compelling reason to stay tuned as they move toward their own defining season finale.

Gregorian Chants

Columnist Vahe Gregorian offers musings about the sports scene in and around Kansas City

I can’t get enough of HBO’s “True Detective,” though I like that it will be contained by a season-by-season theme that should keep it from jumping the shark the way a few other recent shows have by going a few seasons long.

But courtesy of Southwest Airlines’ complimentary TV service, the most memorable programming I watched Sunday might have been the Wichita State-Indiana State game as the Shockers improved to 34-0 with an 83-69 victory.

That makes them the first team to enter the NCAA Tournament undefeated since UNLV in 1991, and so what if some might remain skeptical about them?

“Wolves do not fret over the opinions of sheep,” coach Gregg Marshall said after the game, citing a recent Twitter posting by forward Chadrack Lufile.

So watching the Shockers’ typically terrific spacing, ball movement and obvious fulfillment in playing for each other was inspiring enough.

But the highlight was seeing sophomore Ron Baker applauding for Sycamores’ senior star Jake Odum when he went out late in the game. Baker then followed Odum toward the bench and beckoned Shocker fans to pay homage, too.

In the news conference afterward, Baker was asked about his gesture.

“That kid right there is a very special kid. He’s had a really strong four years at his university. He’s put up very special numbers. He’s made history there,” he said, according to a transcript. “I’m just sad for his fans to see him not accomplish what he was trying to accomplish, but right there, I was just trying to give him some love because he deserved it.”

The Shockers are gracing the game in more ways than one. And that’s just another compelling reason to stay tuned as they move toward their own defining season finale.

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