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Shockers might not be No. 1, but they’re no illusion

A magician works with smoke and mirrors and a sexy assistant. Sometimes, a hat and a rabbit are involved. But when you see Gregg Marshall coaching Wichita State in a basketball game, he’s never using props and doing eye-opening tricks.

NBA tip: Try to find who’s still trying

It was December when Kobe Bryant last made a cameo appearance, and when Pau Gasol has suited up lately, he actually wore a suit. The Los Angeles Lakers are rebuilding with replacement players, and the timing is perfect.

Marcus Smart’s lesson: Don’t stay in school

Even before he shoved a loud-mouthed, obnoxious fan, Marcus Smart made a bigger mistake. He returned to Oklahoma State when he would have been a top-five pick, and possibly the No. 1 pick, in last summer’s NBA Draft.