Men’s basketball getting bigger, better

December 14, 2017

Marshall Thundering Herd men’s basketball practices are about to get as interesting as the games.

Semester final exams are wrapping up this week and final grades have to be posted no later than noon Monday. Once the grades are out Marshall’s roster will pick up some beef and additional talent.

If Rondale Watson gets the report card he needs to become eligible for the second semester the 6-foot-4 junior transfer from Wake Forest University in the Atlantic Coast Conference will add immediate backcourt depth. Watson has only been allowed to practice with the Herd so far this season.

Then there’s the Herd frontcourt where a pair of 6-10 towers are expected to begin practicing, but won’t be eligible for games until next season. Iran Bennett, a 300-plus pound freshman, is a partial academic qualifier this year and Levi Cook from Arnett, West Virginia, who said he has dropped about 70 pounds to 260, is joining the team as a transfer who played for one season at DePaul University.

Another expected addition is former Huntington St. Joe guard Deaundra Murphy as a transfer from Alderson-Broaddus University. He’ll also join the Herd for practices, but not games until next season.

“Things are bright. It’s going to get brighter,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said after a recent game. “We will hopefully, and I’ve got my fingers crossed, add one (Watson) at the break. I know our taxi squad is going to get a lot better.

“It might be the hardest game we play is when we play ourselves.”

BOWL WATCHING: At Saturday’s conclusion of a Marshall women’s basketball game against Appalachian State in Cam Henderson Center, the arena will be cleared for a football bowl game watching party on the video board. Marshall and Colorado State football teams meet at 4:30 p.m. in the New Mexico Bowl. Admittance to the party is with a ticket to the 8 p.m. men’s basketball game against Ohio. Ticket prices start at $10.

Football will be shown on the video board until 7:30 p.m., but football audio will stop at 7 p.m. because of normal basketball warmup procedures. If the football game goes past 7:30 p.m. it will no longer be on the video board, but will be on several televisions in the arena concourse.

Herd Athletic Fund members and people who purchased proxy tickets for the New Mexico Bowl can join Tip-Off Club members for a special game watching party in the Hartley Room. HAF Members and proxy ticket purchasers are permitted two admissions per account and can check in with the Big Green Scholarship Foundation staff to gain access to complimentary food and beverages.

SCOUTING REPORT: Ohio (5-4) won a Sunday home game against Conference USA member Western Kentucky, 89-84. The Bobcats have losses to Clemson, Dayton, Iona and Maryland.

Mike Laster, a 6-5 senior, is Ohio’s top scorer with a 16.7 average followed by 6-3 freshman Teyvion Kirk (14.6) and 6-3 junior Jordan Dartis (12.9). Doug Taylor, a 6-9, 264-pounder, averages 5.8 points and 8.4 rebounds.

NEW YEAR’S EVE: Marshall’s Tip-Off Club and the Big Green Scholarship Foundation are ringing in 2018 with a New Year’s Eve in Vegas party Dec. 31 in the Keith-Albee Theater, 925 4th Ave., Huntington.

The Las Vegas themed party is from 8 p.m. to midnight. Catering by 21 at the Frederick with an open bar, games, dancing with a live DJ, a champagne toast at midnight and more.

Tickets are $250 for couples and $150 for singles. RSVP by Dec. 22 to the Big Green office at 304-696-4661.

FINALS WEEK: Head coach Dan D’Antoni was discussing final exam week Monday when he recalled his grades as a Marshall student not being bad, but they just weren’t as good as his brother Mike, sister, Kathy or brother Mark.

Mike D’Antoni, head coach of the NBA Houston Rockets, was an academic All-American while playing for Marshall in 1972 and 1973.

Kathy D’Antoni is the assistant superintendent of schools in West Virginia.

Mark D’Antoni is a Charleston attorney.

“I should have studied more maybe,” Dan D’Antoni said.

Sports editor Rick McCann covers Marshall men’s basketball for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 3304-526-2759.

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