Fans fired up for Madness
HUNTINGTON — Marshall University men’s basketball players were introduced Friday at Thundering Herd Madness one by one under a spotlight on the east end balcony of Cam Henderson Center, followed by head coach Tom Herrion.
The crowd of 4,073 spectators cheered for each one individually, then as a group.
“Look at the turnout fellas,” Herrion said after taking a crowd microphone. “This is for you. This is the passion we talk about every day.”
Thundering Herd Madness is the official beginning of basketball practice, although the team had a regular two-hour workout earlier in the day.
A doubleheader included Marshall’s volleyball victory over Rice in a preliminary played before 679 spectators, and most of them stayed around for basketball. The Marshall cheerleaders, dance team and pep band kept the crowd warmed up between events.
A highlight was the unveiling of a National Invitation Tournament banner earned by last season’s team. The banner hangs from the rafters on the Third Avenue side of the arena in honor of Marshall’s first trip to the NIT since 1987.
Herrion spoke to the crowd again, pointing to another banner recognizing Marshall’s last NCAA tournament appearance in 1988 and said, “That’s the one we’re going to change this year.”
The team played a Green vs. White intra-squad scrimmage for 15 minutes on a running clock. Senior forwards Dennis Tinnon and Rob Goff had 11 and 10 points respectively for the Green, which unofficially won, 39-37. Sophomore guard Jamir Hanner scored 12 for the White squad.
Of the 34 baskets scored 19 were dunks.
Herrion said it was a night for the fans to see how much older players have improved and to see new players such as 6-foot-9 junior college transfer Elijah Pittman jumping out of the gym.
“Hopefully we didn’t disappoint anyone with our lack of intensity,” Herrion said.
One very interested spectator was 6-10 junior college prospect Ismail Dauda from Polk State College in Winter Haven, Fla., on a recruiting visit. Dauda said he has visits scheduled to Charlotte and Cleveland State before making a choice.
“I was impressed with what I saw here,” the Nigerian-born Dauda said.
All-Conference USA junior guard Dre Kane, decked out in neon green Nike sneakers and socks to match, joined with junior college transfer guard D.D. Scarver to win a two-ball competition where points were awarded for making shots from various distances.
Kane’s half-court bomb helped his side beat Tinnon and freshman guard Tamron Manning in the finals.
Some of the players then showed off their dance moves under the spotlight.
“One thing I know, we play a lot better than we dance,” Herrion said.
Senior forward Rob Goff won the slam dunk contest by beating Pittman in the finals. Herrion disqualified senior center Nigel Spikes because of his dance moves.
Dre Kane 6, Kareem Canty 8, Jamir Hanner 12, Elijah Pittman 9, Nigel Spikes 2.
Dennis Tinnon 11, Chris Martin 8, Rob Goff 10, Yous Mbao 2, TyQuane Goard 2, Austin Loop 4, D.D. Scarver 2.