By Joanna Chadwick
Wichita Collegiate sits atop the Class 3A coaches association boys rankings heading into the season’s first game.
“You go from being the eight seed in your substate (in March) to being the No. 1-ranked team in the state — hey, we must have made some big strides,” Collegiate coach Mitch Fiegel said. “What we remind our kids about, ‘those rankings are based on the guys who came before you. You’re a part of a good program. Be extremely proud of that. But just understand, it’s your job to go turn that into reality.
“‘That’s your challenge — to make this something besides words on a piece of paper.'”
The focus is squarely on Collegiate sophomore Gradey Dick, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, who has offers from Baylor, Creighton, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Texas Tech and Wichita State.
He’s an outstanding player who can do it all.
But Fiegel doesn’t want Dick to do it all.
A lot of expectations have been put on him by a lot of people,” Fiegel said. “… You can’t say he’s going to take us to the promised land as as a sophomore. He’ll do great things, but it will take everyone.”
Collegiate has had other standouts, including Maurice Evans, who played 12 years in the NBA.
Fiegel has cautioned Dick that he just needs to do what it is going to take for Collegiate to win. On some nights that could come through scoring or rebounding or passing.
Collegiate has strong pieces around Dick, including seniors Thornton Cole, who is 6-foot-10, Jack Fox (6-4) and Jonathan O’Hearn (6-1). Juniors Michael Fair, Charlie Goree and Kanoa Ashley, will be key, along with sophomore Jack Duarte and freshman Wesley Fair.
“We’ll be a team that can really guard you,” Fiegel said. “We’ll get baseline to baseline, and we’ll be deep.
“… I told my guys the other day that the most exciting thing I’ve seen with this group right now is the level of selflessness where everyone has bought into their role.”