Herd eager to get going
HUNTINGTON -- It's showtime for Marshall Thundering Herd men's basketball.
Thundering Herd Madness on Friday is geared mostly toward the fans who are getting their first look at this season's team.
Marshall head coach Tom Herrion's third Herd team begins preseason practice Friday afternoon, followed at 8 p.m. by Thundering Herd Madness with introductions, drills, dunking, scrimmaging, fan giveaways and post-event autographs.
Basketball tickets are good for a 5:30 p.m. volleyball match between Rice and Marshall.
So, senior forward Dennis Tinnon was asked Thursday what he was most anxious to show the fans.
"My face," he said.
Tinnon wasn't being a wise guy. He was only emphasizing how happy he is to have been awarded another year of eligibility.
An NCAA appeal went all the way into July before Tinnon was cleared. His eligibility clock was being questioned because of a brief time he spent at Williston State, a North Dakota junior college, in 2007.
"I'm so excited to be back here at Marshall," Tinnon said Thursday during Marshall Media Day interviews in Cam Henderson Center.
Tinnon also has something else to show off -- a new tattoo in an assortment of many -- on the inside of his right bicep with the inscription "DT3." Tinnon's wife, Robin, is expecting a son, Dennis Tinnon III, with a Jan. 1 due date. They also have a 3-year-old daughter, Denyah.
His arms and chest are covered by many tattoos of such things as names of schools he's attended and a Dr. Seuss cartoon character shared by his twin brother, David.
On his left bicep is his first tattoo, a basketball wearing a crown.
He has the names "Robin" and "Denyah" decorating his chest.
"I just like getting tattoos," he said.
Tinnon, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward from Green Bay, Wisc., had an immediate impact last season at Marshall as a transfer from Kansas City Kansas Community College. He was one of only 21 players in the nation who averaged a double-double with 10.2 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.
He was a member of the 2012 All-Conference USA Defensive Team and recently received preseason recognition as an all-conference second team selection
Herrion announced Thursday that Tinnon, all-conference junior guard Dre Kane and 6-10 senior center Nigel Spikes were elected by teammates as this season's captains.
"I think it's important for this group to establish leadership and it's already been established," Herrion said. "Those three were voted on by the players as our captains for the season. Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't add (Robert) Goff and Yous (Mbao). They've done a great job since last spring, especially in the summer workouts and this fall.
"Those guys have established a leadership role and it's been evident to us as a staff."
Kane, a preseason all-conference first team pick, had a 16.5 scoring average last season and hit for 40 in a triple-overtime conference tournament victory over Tulsa. He enters the season as one of the nation's top juniors with 1,073 career points.
Spikes missed several games early last season while recovering from a knee injury. His playing time increased during the season and he finished with averages of 4.1 points and 4.8 rebounds.
Goff is a 6-9 senior forward and Mbao a 7-2 junior center.
Marshall comes off a 21-14 season that included a C-USA tournament finals loss to Memphis and a National Invitation Tournament first-round defeat at Middle Tennessee State.
"Everybody felt the pain (losing)," Tinnon said. "We have a better understanding of what we want to do this year."
Memphis is being picked to repeat its conference championship before joining the Big East Conference, but Marshall is considered a strong contender.
Tinnon said the way last season ended, and being picked behind Memphis, is motivation.
"I want to go out in my last year with a bang and I want to get my team involved," he said. "I want to get a (championship) ring. I want to hang a banner in here where there hasn't been one in a while.
"We're looking to be the best."