WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Fred VanVleet is on fire. He’s one of the hottest names in the NBA right now and is close to an NBA Championship.
“Really just proud of him and proud of the opportunity he has presented for himself,” says Wichita State Athletic Director Darron Boatright. “He has worked his rear-end off his whole life to get to where he is, from being told all along the way just about at every stop that he would not be able to play at that level.”
It’s the highest level. That is where former Shocker VanVleet finds himself. The $18 million dollar man man is close to calling himself a chance.
“I guarantee nine out of 10 homes will be watching the finals tonight to see if Fred gets one,” says Xavier McDaniel.
“I think they really, really, going to be glued to the TV,” adds Cheese Johnson.
The two former Shocker legends definitely will be watching.
“We really impressed with him because the good that he does comes back in the form of playing, it comes back to the City of Wichita.”
McDaniel, known as X-man, knows a thing or too about high stakes, making an appearance in the Western Conference Finals and a handful of other playoff series over a 12 year NBA career.
“My hat is off to him,” says McDaniel, “I hope they win it, but it is not going to be easy.”
Which really sums up VanVleet. Undrafted and underappreciated, to now a key component on a team on the verge of a championship, VanVleet bet on himself and now these guys are betting on him.
“Right now, if he was in Vegas, I am rolling with him. If I had to say anything to Fred, I would say good luck, man,” says McDaniel.
“You just want these guys to continue to have success and to reach the level of a world championship in the NBA,” says Boatright. “Those things do not go away.”
VanVleet isn’t the only one helping this team right now. Wichita native Adrian Griffin, a former Wichita East star, is an assistant coach on the team.