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Chuck Landon: Changes coming to Marshall basketball

Mar. 15, 2013 @ 12:19 AM

TULSA, Okla. -- Marshall fans want to see changes in Marshall's basketball program.

And rightfully so.

An extremely disappointing 13-19 season after a pair of 20-win campaigns isn't what the fans expected, wanted or will endorse.

Nor should they.

That's why the Herd faithful is looking for something different in 2013-14. And that's precisely what the MU fans will see.

How different?

Very, very different.

The inside-out style of offense that often sputtered in 2012-13 will be gone. Poof. In its place will be a free-wheeling, four-men out and only one post player attack. This offense will be designed to spread the floor and create spacing for 3-pointers and, specifically, penetration.

It should be a wide-open, fan-friendly offense that will take better advantage of the Herd players' particular skill set. The concept is to spread the floor, which should open up 3-point shooting against a zone and create lanes for penetration versus man.

Player-wise, the lineup should include a pair of newcomers. Look for Kareem Canty to be Marshall's point guard and Ryan Taylor to start at power forward. Both sat out the 2012-13 school year as academic non-qualifiers.

Canty is a tough, hard-nosed 5-foot-10 pure point guard who would have solved many of the Herd's problems this season. Taylor is a 6-6, 225-pound forward with long arms and a very versatile game.

Taylor, who once was committed to Louisville and is regarded as an ACC or Big 12 caliber player, played for former Marshall point guard A.W. Hamilton at Hargrave Military Academy in 2011-12. He averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds while leading Hargrave to a 38-1 record and No. 2 nationally ranking.

Besides being a good rebounder and solid defender, Taylor also is a prolific offensive performer. Before a recent practice at the Henderson Center, I watched as Taylor absolutely rained 3-pointers from the left wing swishing one after another.

Taylor is the key to the four-out concept. He allows Elijah Pittman to move to the small forward position with Kane (if he stays at Marshall) returning to his familiar spot at shooting guard.

The lone post player will be named later.

With Dennis Tinnon, Nigel Spikes and Rob Goff all gone, Marshall would like to recruit two big men. That is why assistant coach Mark Cline recently made a visit to the West Coast and fellow assistant Josh King has made several trips to Kansas to watch junior college prospects.

One big man, in particular, on Marshall's recruiting radar is James Kelly. The 6-8, 240-pound post player averaged 18.9 points and 10.2 rebounds while shooting 53.8 percent from the floor at Owens Community College. Kelly already has visited Marshall. Besides that, Justin Edmonds, Kelly's teammate at Owens, already has committed to Marshall.

Any new post players will join holdovers Yous Mbao and J.P. Kambola. Otherwise, Taylor and Pittman will be backed up by juco transfer Shawn Smith and Tyquane Goard, who sat out this season after transferring from Ohio University. In the backcourt, Tamron Manning, D.D. Scarver, Devince Boykins and Edmonds will provide depth.

Both Chris Martin and Jamir Hanner are expected to transfer.

Want changes?

Trust me, there will be plenty.

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

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