Thieneman shows his strength, helping Herd in a time of need
HUNTINGTON — One of the Marshall Thundering Herd’s most valuable men’s basketball players doesn’t get to play a lot.
Christian Thieneman, a junior eligibility-wise who finishes his degree work in December, displayed his value to the program at a time of need. Marshall lost strength and conditioning coach Duval Kirkaldy to St. John’s University in the summer and didn’t have anyone to lead the workouts. Thieneman took over the duties until Kirkaldy’s replacement, Matt Donelson, arrived on campus. Donelson came back from Coastal Carolina University after a previous stint as the Marshall assistant strength coach.
Thieneman became serious about his personal conditioning last season when he wasn’t getting many minutes on the court and said he got addicted to weightlifting because he wanted to be in top condition if Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni called his number.
D’Antoni said he had Thieneman organize the summer lifting sessions and he helped the team tremendously.
“Duval left and I went to him and said we’re not going to have anybody for a month until Matt Donelson gets back here,” Thieneman said. “I said I’d love to work these guys
out and run them through some programs. I’ve got some good stuff I can send to you when you get back at St. John’s. He said that’s good and I’ll change it up if it needs to be.
“I put a month’s schedule together for the guys. I’d do the workout before they would get in there. Then when they got there I would watch over them making sure they were doing the right form and things. I enjoyed it a lot.
“They actually listened to me. Everyone listened. Everyone bought in and it was enjoyable. It was fun.”
Thieneman didn’t appear in the first two games this season before getting on the Cam Henderson Center court for seven minutes of the second half Wednesday in a 98-75 victory against Mount St. Mary’s. The 6-foot-5 forward from Louisville, Kentucky, canned a 3-point shot, grabbed one rebound and dished one assist.
He might not leave the bench again Monday when North Carolina A&T (0-4) visits Marshall (3-0) at 7 p.m. unless it’s a blowout for the Herd, but that’s OK, he said, because he’s blessed with a scholarship. He’ll graduate in three and a half years, with the help of taking summer classes, and begins work on a master’s in the spring semester.
People ask if he’s bothered by not playing.
“I tell them I practice every day, I play hard and I’m blessed to be a part of this team,” he said. “Friends I’ve made here in Huntington, the lifelong friends and the great memories I’ve made here, I can’t complain.”
Thieneman’s father, Phil, who played college basketball at Virginia Tech and in Switzerland, has a fresh fruit and gourmet food business, Paul’s Markets, with four locations in Louisville, that his son plans to join. Thieneman wants to get into business so he’ll take a marketing degree to work with his father while getting an MBA at Bellarmine University, he said.
After his high school career at Louisville Trinity, where he was part of a Kentucky Sweet 16 championship and two regional championship teams, college basketball hasn’t gone exactly how he anticipated.
In three seasons, he has 28 game appearances for 212 minutes (7.5 per game), 40 points (1.4) and 45 rebounds (1.6).
One thing he’ll cherish is playing last season in the NCAA Tournament secondround game against West Virginia University, when he had two points and three rebounds.
“It’s ending really well,” Thieneman said. “Playing or not, I love being on the team. I love Coach Dan. He’s a great guy, a good coach, and I couldn’t be in a better position.”
D’Antoni says not one person makes a team, it takes everyone. Nobody personifies that quality more than Thieneman.
Marshall men’s basketball
N.C. A&T (0-4) at MARSHALL (3-0)
When: 7 p.m. Monday
Where: Cam Henderson Center, Huntington
Radio: WDGG 93.7-FM, WMUL 88.1-FM