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Chuck Landon: Bad luck plaguing Herrion this year

Dec. 11, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

While Tom Herrion was trying to avoid a black cat, he must have walked under a ladder, stumbled and broke a mirror he was carrying.

How else can anybody explain the bad luck that has been plaguing Marshall's head basketball coach all season?

The latest blow came Monday when star player DeAndre Kane was sidelined indefinitely with an injury to his right hand. And Kane is right-handed, of course.

That's the kind of luck Herrion has been having -- all bad.

The misfortune began when true freshman point guard Kareem Canty was ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA. Next, there was the odd head-to-head collision between Robert Goff and Yous Mbao during a drill in practice, resulting in both centers being hospitalized.

And, now, on top of all that Marshall loses its best player just five days before playing the toughest opponent on the Herd's schedule.

So, who will replace Kane when Marshall takes on the 11th-ranked University of Cincinnati Bearcats at 2 p.m. ,Saturday, in the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum?

Probably Chris Martin.

But wouldn't this be the perfect time to give true freshman Tamron Manning an opportunity to be the starting point guard?

I believe so.

The 6-foot-4 native of Georgetown, Ky., was impressive in Marshall's 69-63 win over Coppin State Saturday night, while playing his first meaningful minutes of the season.

During a four-minute stint at point guard during the first half, Manning played with surprising poise and composure. He seemed very comfortable at the point and played with confidence.

Manning triggered good ball movement, ran the offense and was solid in every way. Why, he even made a very nice scoop pass to Elijah Pittman, who had posted up on the right block.

"He plays at a good pace," acknowledged Herrion. "He has a good feel for the game."

Besides that, Manning is a point guard.

Martin isn't.

Instead, Martin is a shooting guard, who is trying to play the point. But the results have been mixed, at best. Martin particularly has had problems with turnovers, committing 12 while averaging 20.1 minutes of playing time.

So, maybe it is time to give Manning a chance at point guard.

Even before Kane's injury, I was planning to advocate that move. Why? Chemistry.

That has been Marshall's problem offensively all season. With Kane forced to play point guard, there has been no flow, no rhythm, no smoothness in the offense.

Is that Kane's fault?

No.

He simply isn't a true point guard. Kane admits he's more comfortable off the ball and playing on a wing. And it has shown.

Hence, the chemistry issues.

Granted, two new starters in the lineup with junior college transfer D.D. Scarver at shooting guard and Pittman at small forward has affected the chemistry. There always are going to be some growing pains when first-year players join the lineup.

But the lack of a true point guard has merely exacerbated the problem.

Offensively, Marshall needs direction. It needs a playmaker. It needs someone to get the ball into the right hands at the right time for the right shots.

Maybe that guy is Manning.

Maybe it's not.

But it seems like maybe it is time to find out.

Chuck Landon is a columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 304-526-2827, or email him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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