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MU’s Kinsey ready to play anytime, anywhere

January 11, 2019
Ryan Fischer/The Herald-Dispatch The Herd's Taevion Kinsey (1) looks for an opening past Glenville's Kalin Johnson (3) as the Marshall University men's basketball team faces off against Glenville State College on Saturday, October 28, 2018, at the Cam Henderson Center in Huntington.

HUNTINGTON - One day he was auditioning to perhaps become the Marshall Thundering Herd’s future point guard. A few days later, Taevion Kinsey was an important addition to the lineup at a forward position.

Kinsey, a natural guard at 6-foot-5 and 177 pounds, is a package of quickness, jumping ability and basketball smarts.

No. 1 in a Marshall jersey adapted quickly to a position change and received a Conference USA Freshman of the Week award after only two games as a starting forward for Marshall (9-6 season, 2-0 conference) that plays host to Western Kentucky (8-7, 1-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday in Cam Henderson Center.

Kinsey averaged 13.5 points, six rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and 1.5 steals last week in C-USA victories at Old Dominion (70-67) and Charlotte (85-84).

“You have to learn how to adapt,” he said before practice Thursday. “Wherever coach (head coach Dan D’Antoni) puts me I’m going to do the best that I can because if he believes in me I just have to believe in myself. So whether I’m at point guard, four (power forward), five, one two three, it doesn’t really matter.”

Western Kentucky presents a sizable challenge with starting players standing 6-11, 6-2, 6-6, 6-5 and 6-8.

Kinsey said against bigger players he has to play smarter.

His 42-inch vertical leap is helpful. He even won the opening jump ball against Old Dominion and goes into a pogo stick routine defending on out of bounds plays.

“Use my speed,” he said. “Play better defense than what I usually do. Try not to let them get in spots where they can be at an advantage to me. Try to keep them away from the basket where they might try to post me up because I’m smaller than them.

“I think my length comes into it. That helps me and my athleticism helps me.”

Kinsey has helped the Herd improve its pick-and-roll game he gets to the basket fast and forces the defense to react. Marshall sophomore guard Jarrod West said when Kinsey rolls if defenders are not there early to meet him they aren’t able to jump with him when he goes to get the basketball.

Marshall players on the Saturday night bus ride back from Charlotte watched the Facebook broadcast of Old Dominion defeating Western Kentucky, 69-66, after the Hilltoppers opened the game with a 21-0 burst. He was also aware of West Virginia blowing a 21-point lead in the second half Wednesday night and losing at Kansas State, 71-69.

He said 21 points is never too much of a deficit, especially for an explosive team such as the Herd.

Kinsey said he watched a couple of Western Kentucky’s games and studied some highlights of their personnel.

“Pretty good team,” he said. “Pretty athletic team. I think it’s going to be a real good game.”

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