Herrion unveils his Herd
HUNTINGTON -- It's time, Marshall Thundering Herd men's basketball coach Tom Herrion said.
Marshall has practiced since Oct. 12 following several months of offseason workouts and it's time to see something different.
"We're looking to play against some different faces," Herrion said before Saturday practice.
Something different is Bluefield College, an NAIA opponent, visiting Marshall for a 7 p.m., Monday, exhibition game in Cam Henderson Center. Marshall has the exhibition and a Saturday closed-door scrimmage with the Winthrop Eagles in Beckley before the Nov. 9 home season opener against Longwood, a new member of the Big South Conference.
Herrion said the effort he's seen from players has been tremendous.
"We've gotten better," he said. "We still need to get a lot better."
Marshall is expected to challenge Memphis for the Conference USA championship after losing to the Tigers last season in the conference tournament finals. The Herd finished with a 21-14 record after a first-round loss in the National Invitation Tournament.
Junior guard Dre Kane (16.5 ppg) and senior forward Dennis Tinnon (10.2 ppg, 10.0 reb) are proven players who were chosen for the preseason All-CUSA first team and second team respectively. Herrion also knows what to expect from senior big men Nigel Spikes and Rob Goff.
The coach is anxious to see what other returning players and newcomers can contribute. Newcomers Kareem Canty, Tamron Manning, Elijah Pittman, D.D. Scarver and Austin Loop will don a Marshall jersey for the first time.
"Really, we're just focused on us right now," Herrion said. "Get guys some reps, some game minutes."
Bluefield College is a first-season member of the Mid-South Conference and was picked to finish last in the league. Last season, the Rams were 19-16 overall and 10-6 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference. The AAC's second-place team advanced to the National Christian College Athletic Association regional semifinals.
Byron Carpenter, a 6-foot-7 senior forward for the Rams, was the AAC Player of the Year. Guard Kearsten Marion (5-8 junior) made the all-conference second team while guard Andrew Wilson (5-7 sophomore) was on the all-freshman team.
Carpenter nearly averaged a double-double with 21.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.
Marion and Wilson averaged 16.7 and 14.6 points respectively while combining to go 161-for-409 on 3-point field goal attempts.
"They're small, which presents a problem for us," Herrion said. "We're big, We've been guarding big on big all preseason."
Bluefield head coach Richard Morgan has a 46-48 record in four seasons. Morgan was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference guard for the University of Virginia in 1989.
Assistant coach Keith "Mister" Jennings of the Rams played against Marshall during his Southern Conference career at East Tennessee State.