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Ready to go out in style

MU basketball
Jul. 23, 2013 @ 12:07 AM

HUNTINGTON — Everyone knows Elijah Pittman can make jump shots.

The 6-foot-9 senior forward hit 48.6 percent of his field goal attempts and was a 37.1 percent 3-point shooter last season for the Marshall University men’s basketball team.

But once the 2013-14 season begins, Pittman wants to show he can do more than last season when he was the Thundering Herd’s leading scorer with a 16.1 average.

“I want to go out with people remembering me,” said Pittman, who celebrates his 22nd birthday Tuesday and is joined by Yous Mbao as the only senior players on the roster.

“I can get way better,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to show more. Rebound a little bit more, Drive a little bit more. Don’t settle for jump shots.”

Marshall has seven new players on a team that slumped to a 13-19 finish last season, including Monday’s addition of junior college guard Chris Thomas.

This is an important summer for the squad. The players are on the court with coaches three times a week for about 40 minutes per session with at least one practice a week with the full squad together.

Monday’s workout was in the Marshall Recreation Center because a volleyball summer camp occupied Cam Henderson Center.

“We’re getting to know each other better,” Pittman said. “It’s bringing us together. Everybody’s on the same page. Everybody’s got one goal.”

Herrion said the leadership of Pittman, Mbao and DeVince Boykins, a third-year player, is noticeable.

Pittman practiced Monday with a lot of energy. He also made a lot of shots.

He’s ready to be a leader as a senior, and said that role extends beyond the court.
“Off the floor, motivate my teammates,” the Covington, Ky., native said. “On nights that I’m not going I want to make my team better.”

The crop of newcomers being worked into the program includes freshman point guard Kareem Canty, junior college transfer guard Justin Edmonds, sophomore forward TyQuane Goard, junior college forwards Shawn Smith and Cheikh Sane and freshman forward Ryan Taylor.
Canty, Goard and Taylor all sat out last season.

“Like when I came in, they’re trying to find their roles,” said Pittman, who is in his second year at Marshall after playing junior college ball at Lamar State College in Texas.
Pittman said school is going good and he’s eyeing December graduation.

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