Much like last preseason the Marshall
University Men’s basketball team is receiving praise from college basketball
analysts. The Thundering Herd is predicted to finish second in Conference USA.
But unlike last year the Herd is hoping to live up to the hype. Head Coach Tom
Herrion is in his third year with the Herd and said the hype doesn’t mean much.
“It’s great. It’s wonderful for our fans
to be excited even more. It’s not something I think this group in particular,
because we kind of went through it last year, but I think this group has been
through it and we’re happy that people recognize and respect our program in
what we’ve done in a short period of time,” Herrion said.
Last preseason the Herd was hearing the
same thing. They were to be the second best team behind the University of
After an out of conference win over Cincinnati and close games with
the likes of a highly ranked Syracuse squad things were looking up. But once
Marshall got into conference play, things changed and the Herd struggled to a
9-7 record. Herrion said the conference struggles are what kept them from their
“Nine and seven didn’t get it done in
the conference to get us in the NCAA tournament that’s the story, that’s the
fact, that’s the truth and I know that. Not happy about it, 9-7 didn’t get us
in the tournament and we have to handle our business in conference play. I
don’t think it was any particular stretch I’m referring too, but I recognize
you can’t have those stretches happen period,” Herrion said.
The Herd did make a run in the
Conference USA tournament before losing in the championship game to Memphis.
Despite the Herd’s wishes they did not receive an NCAA tournament invite, but
did get the school’s first National Invitation Tournament invite since 1988.
Herrion said the tough schedule is something the Herd’s used to.
“We need to play the best teams we can
play. That’s what they want. That’s what we sell in recruiting. Let’s not get
confused. We played in the ninth toughest league in the country last year.
Memphis, Southern Miss was pretty damn good; Central Florida, UTEP’s been a
real good club, we can go on and on and the leagues going to be really good
again, but we were committed to that. I talked about that when we first got
here,” Herrion said.
Bolstered by fresh talent from the high
school and junior college ranks the squad will take on a schedule ranked as 10th
best in the country by ESPN.com. That schedule includes the likes of defending
national champion Kentucky,
Cincinnati, West Virginia University and Villanova. DeAndre
Kane is a shooting guard for the Herd and said the new talent will help the
“Ah they’re great, Kareem Canty is a
good player, Elijah Pittman is a good player, energetic, can jump out of the
gym, D.D. Scarver is a real good player, he can score, he can shoot, so our new
guys are going to help us a lot, I think we need them, we lost some great
players in Pitts and Shaq and Dago, but I think they can step up and take some
slack off,” Kane said.
Besides the new talent the Thundering
Herd will have back senior forward Dennis Tinnon after he successfully
petitioned the NCAA to receive another year of eligibility back after making a
stop at a college where he did not play. Tinnon is excited about the
opportunity to play one last season.
“I’m just blessed to be here and get an
opportunity to play here, with me getting another year back it helped me out so
much, it gives me another opportunity to showcase my talent especially with me
trying to get a job should I say after here, but I’m really excited,” Tinnon
Tinnon along with fellow senior Nigel
Spikes and Junior DeAndre Kane were named the captains of the team. Tinnon said
that it is a huge honor.
“That means a lot to me, it means the
guys put a lot of trust in me, they can trust me, that means that I have a
voice and they can look up to me, because I am the oldest on the team should I
say, so that gives me an opportunity to have a voice out there, if something
goes wrong or if coach has to step off for a second I can kind of lead,” Tinnon
Marshall tips off the season October 29
in an exhibition match-up against Bluefield College.