‘Sheriff’ is ready to lead a new Herd
Call it the changing of the guards.
That’s what happened during Marshall’s End of Year Awards Reception Saturday night at the St. Mary’s Conference Center. The Thundering Herd’s star guard tandem of Jon Elmore and C.J. Burks rode off into the sunset.
Who will replace them?
Well, folks, there’s a new sheriff in town.
That’s the nickname Marshall coach Danny D’Antoni already has given transfer point guard Andrew Taylor. Get it? Sheriff Andy Taylor.
While everybody is busy whistling the “Mayberry” theme, I’ll continue.
Taylor is a 6-foot-4 native of Corbin, Kentucky, who scored just this side of a bajillion points during six years of high school basketball. He committed to Furman out of high school and enrolled, but Taylor’s stay was brief. He transferred to Marshall and spent the second semester practicing with the Herd.
And, yes, Taylor was impressive.
He will be one of five — or perhaps six — newcomers to go along with six holdovers.
“I think next year there will a lot of different roles to be switched around,” said Taylor. “I think we have a lot of people who can really step up across the board. I think it’s going to be a really surprising summer, an exciting summer, figuring out those roles. I think we’re going to have some dawgs ... we’re going to have some dawgs out there on the floor next year.”
Then, Taylor explained what he meant.
“The way (5-11 junior-to-be) Jarrod (West) plays, with that tenacious defense,” said Taylor. “Taevion (Kinsey, 6-5 rising sophomore), with that drive and motivation he has.
“Cam (Brooks-Harris, 6-8 redshirt freshman,) won’t let anybody get a step in front of him. J.D. (6-6 redshirt freshman Jeremy Dillon) is hard-nosed. He was a football player — one of the best in the state, actually — so he’s hardnosed. I think the work ethic is going to increase as well.”
Then add rising junior forwards Jannson Williams (6-9) and Darius George (6-7), 6-10 redshirt sophomore center Iran Bennett and 6-10 rising junior forward Mike Beyers to that mix.
And don’t forget incoming recruits Dajour Rucker, 6-6, 230-pound forward; Marko Sarenac, 6-7, 190, perimeter player from Serbia; and perhaps Goran Miladinovic, 7-0, 230-pound center from Montenegro who was Sarenac’s roommate at the Hoosac (prep) School in New York.
Goran had committed to Elon, but the school had a
coaching change so now he is considering Marshall.
With all that depth, look for Marshall to utilize a lot more players in 2018-19.
“I agree,” said Taylor. “We’re not going to have a Jon or C.J. next year. It’s going to be a lot more spread out. A lot more guys are going to have to step up.”
If it sounds like Taylor is looking forward to next season, it’s because he is.
“I am,” he said. “I haven’t sat out a season of basketball since I was 5 or 6 years old. So I guess sometimes you have to turn around and think of it as a blessing. Just getting to watch these guys. Getting in the weight room every day. Getting in the gym every day. Getting all the work in.”
Now it’s their turn.
And guess what.
I believe people are going to be pleasantly surprised when they see the team Marshall puts on the floor next season.
“I think so, too,” said Taylor.
Just call him “Sheriff.”
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.