WICHITA, Kan. - The "Wessel" name was first associated with Wichita State athletics in 1957 and sophomore guard Evan Wessel continues that family legacy at Wichita State today.
His grandfather, Everett Wessel, was a member of the Wichita State basketball team from 1956-1959, and his father, Todd Wessel was a member of the Wichita State football team in 1985 and 1986. Prior to coming to WSU, each family member contributed to a rich family tradition, including six basketball state championships and two football state championships.
Everett Wessel was a 6-foot 9-inch forward that averaged 8.7 points per game in his basketball career at Wichita State and is one of the main reasons why Evan chose to play basketball for the Shockers.
"My grandpa played a big role in developing me early in my basketball career," Wessel said. "My dad and him were the ones that got me involved in the game and it is really cool that I get to play for the same team as my grandpa did."
Wessel had the opportunity to follow his dad's footsteps and play college football after his senior year at Wichita Heights High School, but instead chose to stay close to home and play basketball for the Shockers.
"It was a tough decision, but basketball is my first love, and I love how I am so close to home and my family gets to watch me play every game night," Wessel said. "I grew up here as a big Wichita State fan, and having the tie and connection that my family has with the school was a big reason why I chose to stay home and sign with Wichita State."
Evan's dad did not try and influence Evan's decision to play basketball or football.
"He had an important choice to make and we were going to support him with whatever route he chose," Todd Wessel said. "I knew basketball was his first love, so I had a feeling he was leaning more toward the basketball way.
"I can't complain that he chose to stay home and play basketball, because now, the traveling is much more convenient."
Similar traits can be found within the Wessel family that all began with Evan's grandpa and Todd's father, Everett.
"My dad was always an intense and competitive person, especially in athletics," Todd said. "Although he did not have the looks of an intimidating post-player on the court, no one wanted to guard him because of the strong work ethic he had. After watching Evan play in high school, and in his first years with Wichita State, I can see those similar traits that he shares with his grandpa."
Evan gives credit to his family on the competitive traits they share with one another.
"We are just an all-around competitive family," Evan said. "Our family tends to joke around with each other about a game that my brother or I had just played. It is all fun and games but it can show us what we can improve on to make our respective teams better."
Evan chose the road of staying and competing in his hometown because of the tradition and legacy he shares with the University and the city of Wichita.
"Staying home and playing in front of my hometown gives me the motivation I need to go the extra mile to get a win," Wessel said. "Playing here means more to me than playing at any other school. There is certain type of tradition and relationship that I share with WSU, and I couldn't imagine wearing any other colors besides the black and yellow."
"We are extremely proud of Evan and how he handled the decision process of attending Wichita State," Todd said. "It meant a lot to us that he chose to stay close to home and play basketball, and I know his grandpa would be very happy and proud of him as well."
Wessel is currently out with an injury to his shooting hand but had started in all eight games he played. He is averaging 5.5 points per game and is shooting 46 percent (11-24) from beyond the arc.