Marshall ready to open hoops season
HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University men's basketball opens the season Friday with a loaded team of shooters, rebounders and, hopefully, some defenders.
But, third-season head coach Tom Herrion said one of the strengths of the team is its chemistry.
Senior captain Dennis Tinnon backed up what his coach said before Tuesday practice in Cam Henderson Center.
"Everybody likes everybody on the team," Tinnon said. "Each of us has our own personal goals, but all of us have one goal."
Marshall, 21-14 and the Conference USA runner-up last season, tuned up with an exhibition game victory over NAIA Bluefield College and met the Winthrop Eagles in Beckley for a closed-door scrimmage.
Longwood University comes from Farmville, Va., for the season opener at 7:30 p.m., Friday, in Cam Henderson Center.
The Longwood Lancers went 10-21 last season as an NCAA Division I independent. They're now in the Big South Conference and were picked for a last-place finish in the North Division. The only returning starter is 6-foot-4 junior Tristan Carey who averaged 13.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists.
"I think they've got new life in that program now that they've gone into the Big South," Herrion said.
So, Longwood will be excited to get the season started.
Marshall is ready, too.
"We're real focused," Tinnon said. "You want to be as ready as you can be. If you're fired up for a game, that's a good situation and you're probably going to win.
"If you don't have that motor going, most likely things are not going to go your way."
Tinnon said chemistry began building during summer workouts. It was hot outside, and even hotter in the gym. Herrion pushed the players hard, and they banded together.
Teammates have to connect, Tinnon said.
"It's kind of like having another brother," he said. "Everybody is like a family. When a bunch of guys don't like each other, that's bad for business."
Herrion also commented Tuesday on some personnel matters.
The Herd's other team captains, all-conference junior guard Dre Kane and senior center Nigel Spikes, didn't play Thursday in the exhibition game because of a coach's decision. Herrion said he still hasn't decided when they'll play.
Freshman guard Kareem Canty was held out of the exhibition game because of an NCAA initial eligibility problem.
"We're working day to day with the NCAA on that situation," Herrion said.