Neither Hunter McIntosh or Gus Okafor had ever been to the state of Kansas, let alone the city of Wichita before their official visit to meet with the Wichita State men’s basketball team coaches this past weekend.
Both of the transfer targets left Wichita on Sunday impressed (eating at Doo-Dah Diner and Redrock Canyon Grill helped) by what the Shockers could offer, as they both said they will mull their options and likely make a final decision in the next 10 days .
“I give the visit a 10,” said Okafor, a Southeastern Louisiana transfer originally from Baltimore. “The people in Wichita were real nice. I got real good vibes. Kansas really surprised me. I thought it wasn’t going to be as smooth as it was. I ate at a lot of good food spots.”
“I think it was a great meeting,” said McIntosh, an Elon sharpshooter from Snellville, Georgia. “Coming from where I come from, I’ve never been to Kansas and it was definitely a lot more than I thought. We went to a lot of good food spots and other places to go. And as far as the campus goes, I really enjoyed it more than I thought I would.”
WSU head coach Isaac Brown and his staff have been working the recruiting trail hard after last week saw the Shockers lose all but one of their rotation players from last season. Counting the eight players in the NCAA transfer portal and Tyson Etienne’s early entry to the 2022 NBA Draft, the Shockers must replace 92% of their production from last season’s 15-13 squad.
McIntosh and Okafor have emerged as top recruiting targets for Wichita State, which still has up to six scholarships remaining to hand out for its 2022 recruiting class. Brown has taken an interest in both players since they hit the transfer portal and have been the lead recruiter in both cases.
“Ever since our first Zoom call, I can tell (Brown) is a real genuine dude,” Okafor said. “His energy was cool.”
With a need for scoring help, it makes sense why the Shockers are chasing McIntosh: he scored 13.2 points per game and made 2.6 three-pointers at a 38% clip in 85 career games in a three-year career at Elon. This past season, McIntosh averaged 13.3 points and 2.8 assists, while knocking down 2.7 triples per game at a 37.7% clip. He believes he has untapped potential as a secondary ball handler (an impressive 19% assist rate last season) and is most deadly when he’s catching and shooting, where he drilled 40.3% of his shots last season, per Synergy.
“I consider myself a playmaker,” McIntosh said. “I can create for myself and for others. I pride myself in making the right play. I’m an elite shooter and honestly there’s parts of my games that I didn’t get to show at Elon. I also think I’m the ultimate competitor and someone who wants to win and makes winning plays and impacts winning.”
Okafor is currently testing the NBA Draft waters, but has maintained his college eligibility and is expected to return to college for a fifth and final season. He feels like he can make things happen on offense at a different position. He plays more on the wing and has the motor and size at 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds to play power forward for the Shockers.
After proving himself at the junior college level and two successful years at Southeastern Louisiana playing in the Southland Conference, Okafor is looking for a new challenge against better competition. He led his team with 14.6 points on 42% shooting, including 32.6% 3-point shooting on 5.6 attempts per game, to go along with 6.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals.
“I’ve seen their style and I feel like it really fits my style of play,” Okafor said of Wichita State. “I’m a versatile player and I can do a lot of things for a team, whether that’s on offense or defense. I can come off ball screens, post up, spot up and shoot threes. I feel like Wichita really fits my style and I can bring a lot of things to the table for them.”
Okafor told The Eagle he plans to take at least a few more official visits, but declined to specify where his next destinations might be. He has received some level of interest from high-major programs in Arkansas, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech and DePaul. He told The Eagle he hopes to make a final decision by early May.
Meanwhile, McIntosh is down to Clemson, Nevada and Wichita State for his final destination. After visiting Clemson earlier last week, McIntosh was leaving Wichita on Sunday straight to his official visit to Nevada. He told The Eagle he is looking to make a final decision “sooner rather than later” and likely sometime later this week.
Even with the drastic turnover this offseason, McIntosh said he believes he could help the Shockers return to their winning ways.
“I’m looking for a program where I can come in and make an impact from Day 1,” McIntosh said. “I want to go somewhere I can be pushed and developed and play basketball after college and play pro. But most of all, I really want to win. Wichita State has a rich tradition and they’re used to a lot of winning. Obviously this past year wasn’t up to the Wichita standard, but I definitely feel like if I went there we could get back there to that winning tradition.”
This story was originally published April 25, 2022 6:00 AM.