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D’Antoni is looking for Penava’s replacement

April 26, 2018 GMT

The search is ongoing.

It started the instant Marshall men’s basketball head coach Danny D’Antoni learned last week that 6-foot-10 junior Ajdin Penava wasn’t returning for his senior year.

Suddenly, D’Antoni shifted his recruiting gears back into drive to find a replacement for the Herd’s star forward.

Maybe even overdrive.

First, D’Antoni flew to Chicago to take a look at 6-9 Aleks Novakovich, who had signed with Evansville but reportedly was given his release because of a coaching change.

Next, 6-11 Ante Sustic made a visit to Huntington last Friday. The left-handed junior played at Highland College, a junior college located in Illinois, last season. Although Sustic’s statistics were underwhelming, it must be noted he was playing beside a center that is considered a big-time prospect.

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Judging by Sustic’s YouTube video, he appears to be a solid post player that also could play facing the basket.

The most intriguing prospect, however, is Mikel Beyers, who just finished his freshman season at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College. The 6-10, 185-pound Beyers is eligible immediately and has three years to play.

Beyers, who played for Dysart High School in Houston, is quite a shooter. Although he averaged only 7.3 points, he connected on 55.9 percent of his field goal attempts, 76.7 percent of his free throws and an eye-popping 48.3 percent from behind the 3-point arc. He also averaged 2.5 rebounds.

Take a look at Beyers’ YouTube video and it will become obvious what an outstanding shooter he is. Besides that, he is very athletic. He isn’t as long as Penava, who was blessed with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, but Beyers appears more athletic than the former Marshall star.

Beyers would be a great addition to the 2018-19 Thundering Herd. He could team with 6-9 Jannson Williams and 6-10 Iran Bennett to give Marshall a tall yet very athletic front line, which also would feature a pair of outstanding 3-point shooters.

Beyers could be the answer to the Herd’s most pressing question:

Who is going to replace Ajdin Penava?

RECRUIT OFFERED: Marshall men’s basketball offered a scholarship to 6-7, 200-pound forward Tyler Wahl, who is a junior at Lakeville (Minn.) North High School.

Wahl, according to 247 Sports, also has been offered scholarships by Wisconsin, Colorado State, North Dakota and Northern Iowa. He made an unofficial visit to Wisconsin.

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The rangy Wahl averaged 17.5 points, 11.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.9 blocked shots during the 2017-18 season. He also led Lakeville North to the AAAA semifinals of the Minnesota state high school basketball tournament.

Lakeville North got knocked off in the semifinals, losing 58-45 to Apple Grove, but it wasn’t because Wahl didn’t play well. He actually had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds to go along with 7-for-13 shooting from the floor.

The problem was the rest of Lakeville North’s squad combined to shoot only 27 percent.

Wahl is impressive on a YouTube video of Lakeville North’s semifinal loss to Apple Grove. He was adept at posting up and playing with his back to the basket. But Wahl also played well facing the basket, taking defenders off the dribble on his way to the rim.

What was most impressive, however, was Wahl’s passing. He displayed great vision on a pair of assists, firing laser-like passes inside to teammates for wide-open layups.

It was easy to see why Wisconsin has offered.

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

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