Herd's Loop waits for chance
HUNTINGTON — At times during Marshall University’s disappointing 2012-13 men’s basketball season some fans in Cam Henderson Center yelled for head coach Tom Herrion to “Put Loop in.”
That didn’t happen. Austin Loop didn’t appear in any Thundering Herd games.
Before the season began Loop had consulted with his family and coaches and made the decision to take a redshirt year. Loop did everything with the Herd except play in games.
“He made every (road) trip and dressed for every game and knew he wasn’t going to play,” Herrion said before Tuesday’s team workout in the Marshall Recreation Center.
Loop is a 6-foot-4 now-redshirt freshman guard from South Webster, Ohio, in Scioto County. He’s a non-scholarship player paying his own way as a college student-athlete.
Opportunities to play at other schools arose for Loop as an All-Ohio Division IV guard coming out of South Webster High School and again following last season, but he’s back at Marshall for another year.
Maybe he’ll get to play this year. He’s the Herd’s most improved player this summer, Herrion said.
“He’s a good enough player,” Herrion said. “If he earns playing time, he’ll get it.”
Loop said spending his freshman year as a full-time bench warmer was difficult at times, but he stayed with it.
Loop stayed at Marshall partly because it is close to home, and the Herd plays on the NCAA Division I level.
“I could have gone somewhere, but I really didn’t want to,” he said. “I felt like I should be here.”
Loop had company on the bench with forward TyQuane Goard also sitting out last season as a transfer from Ohio University. Goard, now a sophomore, also practiced every day.
Their contributions to the season included scout team duty helping the team prepare for opponents.
“We worked hard to give them a good look,” Loop said.
Loop is one of the best outside shooters on the squad, which should help get him some game time in the 2013-14 season.
His assignment is to play hard, try to defend and knock down some 3-point shots, Loop said.
He’s also one of the top scholar-athletes on the team who was presented with the Mike D’Antoni Academic Award at the post-season banquet. He also made the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll with a 3.0 GPA or better.
Marshall is coming off a 13-19 season that failed to meet expectations.
But, things are looking up with Loop and Goard on a roster that has five returning players and possibly seven newcomers.
“This is a new team,” Loop said. “I think it looks good. This summer is better than last year. Everybody is putting in their time, especially after last season.
“Everybody wants to prove we’re a good team.”