HUNTINGTON — Marshall did not have any seniors on this year’s men’s basketball team, but the team will lose at least one player from its 2019-20 roster.
Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni confirmed on Thursday morning that redshirt freshman Cam Brooks-Harris has entered the transfer portal and will not return to the team next season.
“It was mutual that it was best that he find other opportunities,” D’Antoni said. “I think he’s a D-I player and he should find a place to compete at a D-I level.”
Brooks-Harris is an athletic 6-foot-6 forward from Zanesville, Ohio, who was known mostly for his defense and energy on the floor.
During the non-conference portion of the season, D’Antoni used Brooks-Harris as an athletic forward within smaller lineups at the three and four positions to boost Marshall’s defensive presence. However, as the conference portion of the season came on and Marshall transitioned into trying to find a better offensive pace, Brooks-Harris saw his playing time diminish.
Brooks-Harris played in 19 games, averaging 4.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, but saw action in just six conference games. That figure included playing in only one of the team’s final 10 contests.
“It didn’t work out that he was going to see the minutes he needed on the floor,” D’Antoni said. “He was seeking other opportunities.”
Brooks-Harris set a career-high of 11 points twice — both coming in losses to Akron and North Texas. His career-high of 10 rebounds in the season-opening win against Robert Morris.
When the preseason opened, Brooks-Harris was not on the floor with the Thundering Herd, serving a suspension from D’Antoni for not upholding the expectations of a student-athlete. That suspension was lifted on Oct. 8 when he rejoined the team after D’Antoni said he started to meet the expectations of the program.
D’Antoni added on Thursday that even once his playing time decreased during the season, Brooks-Harris was a terrific teammate and brought his energy to practice each day, which continued to help those around him.
“I like the kid and he’s got a good heart,” D’Antoni said.
D’Antoni and his coaching staff conducted exit interviews with the players over the early portion of this week to put the final touch on the Herd’s 17-15 season, which ended when the Conference USA Tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Marshall advanced to the quarterfinals for the fifth straight year with an 86-78 win over UTEP in the first round of the Conference USA tournament on March 11.
With the Herd having no seniors on its roster, D’Antoni said it is expected that Brooks-Harris will be the team’s lone post-season defection after his talks during exit interviews for the season.
“In talking with everybody else, everyone is coming back and ready to roll,” D’Antoni said. “As of today, I don’t see anything changing. They all seemed eager to come back and get this next season going. They are all looking forward to it.”
In looking ahead to the 2020-21 additions, Marshall has signed Obinna Anochili-Killen, a 6-foot-9 forward from Chapmanville. The Herd also has a commitment from 6-foot-4 Logan standout David Early, who could sign with the team now that a scholarship is open following the exit of Brooks-Harris.
The signing period for men’s basketball is slated to re-open on April 15 and run until May 20, but the NCAA has adopted a temporary recruiting dead period for all NCAA Division I and II sports until at least April 15.
The Collegiate Commissioner’s Association is expected to evaluate the men’s basketball recruiting period prior to that time, but until cleared, universities cannot send out National Letters of Intent.