Going after his dreams: Dennis describes training for the NBA Draft

Shockers

WICHITA Kan. (KSNW) – On April 2, 2020, Wichita State sophomore guard Dexter Dennis took to his social media to announce that he would declare for the NBA Draft. Then, the real work began.

“I think a couple people expected me to try it last season,” Dennis says. “But, I just didn’t feel like I was ready, at all. Honestly, you know?

After an electric start on the season, the Shockers finished 23-8 and seeded fourth in the American Athletic Conference Tournament in Texas. The team never had a chance to hit the court for competition, though, because the conference canceled the tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Me alongside the whole team, we felt like we just had a lot more to prove,” says Dennis.

Time away from the court and back home in Louisiana gave Dennis a chance to reflect on the past year and the future of his basketball career, thus announcing at the beginning of the month that he would enter his name into the draft. It was a decision Dennis admits did not come as a shock for head coach Gregg Marshall.

“He thought I would do it sooner,” Dennis says. “That’s what he told me. He was surprised that I didn’t do it earlier.”

In his freshman year, Dennis made the 2019 All-Freshman team and looked to have a strong showing in his sophomore year. The guard explains that this season didn’t exactly go as planned, but there was one thing that changed from last year to this year.

“I just felt a little more confident in myself,” he says.

It wasn’t until Dennis got to high school that he started thinking about playing at the professional level. For the longest, he says, basketball was just recreational, but he had a couple of people around him say he could go far. Fast forward to today and Dennis is now practicing twice a day to prepare for a chance to be evaluated by scouts for the NBA.

“I’m not nervous,” Dennis says. “I think I would say, shocked. I wasn’t one of the top-rated guys coming out of high school until I got to prep school two years ago. Three or four years ago, this wasn’t even possible, honestly.”

Within weeks after the season ended for the Shockers, Dennis saw eight of his teammates, seven on scholarship, decide to leave the program. Wichita State bounced right back and filled five of those spots. Dennis has decided to maintain his college eligibility with the option of returning for his Junior year and joining his new teammates.

“If it’s not meant and then I have to come back to college, then me and coach, we still have to talk about some things. I’m going to put that out there.” Dennis says. “You know me, him and my mom, we will probably have to sit down and just discuss this past year and moving forward, of course, you know what I’m saying? But as of right now, I don’t know.”

Finishing the season averaging just over nine points and five rebounds per game, Dennis plans to leave everything he’s got on the court during the NBA Draft process. His goal is to make it to the next level and be able to take care of his family and himself financially. He says he knows it won’t be easy.

“I think being at Wichita State the past two years, the way we compete every day in practice is not for everybody,” he says. “And I think just this whole process, just me being able to bring some competition and being able to compete will bring some edge on a lot of people.”

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