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Just how high can Kinsey leap?

January 18, 2019

Just exactly how high can Taevion Kinsey jump?

That’s what the Marshall Thundering Herd fan base is wondering about the 6-foot-5 true freshman.

Well, guess what.

Nobody knows.

Not even Kinsey.

“We’ve had my vertical leap measured a couple of times after weightlifting, when I was tired,” said the Columbus, Ohio, native. “But never, ‘Hey, we’re going to test your vertical leap today.’

“So, I really don’t know how high I can jump.”

That’s why Danny D’Antoni has resorted to an educated guess. Marshall’s veteran coach has been telling the media that Kinsey has a 42-inch vertical leap.

Why 42 inches?

“I remember watching how high David Thompson could jump,” reasoned D’Antoni, referring to the former N.C. State and NBA star. “Then I watched Taevion and saw his feet (off the ground) and they were about the same.”

Hmm, the tale of the eyeball.

“Thompson kind of set the record with a 42-inch vertical leap,” continued D’Antoni. “I don’t know how much measuring was done before Thompson. He was really the first one that people would say, ‘He’s got a 42-inch vertical.’ ”

There’s just one glitch in that rationale. Thompson actually possessed a 44-inch vertical leap. So, does that mean Kinsey is a 44-inch leaper too?

Kinsey doesn’t think so.

In fact, he still doesn’t believe he’s anything special as a leaper.

“In all honesty,” said Kinsey, “I really don’t think I jump that high because I’ve been doing it for so long. It doesn’t feel like I’m jumping that high.

“But then when I see people’s photographs of me off the ground, jumping up when I’m trying to defend the inbounds pass? Then I say to myself, ‘Man, you really did jump high.’

“What I really want to see is my running vertical, like see how high I can get after I take a couple of steps. I feel like I probably would get higher off my running vertical.”

So, can Kinsey remember a time when he wasn’t a phenomenal leaper?

“Yes, definitely,” he answered quickly. “I didn’t start dunking until my sophomore year of high school. I was always a long kid and could tap the glass. But ever since I was a kid and had a hoop in my room, I’d say, ‘I’m gonna dunk it.’ My dad always told me, ‘Every time you try, you’re going to get closer and closer.’

“So, I was just in the gym trying and trying. Everybody was saying, ‘You can jump so high, I don’t know why you can’t dunk.’ So, sophomore year, we were in a game and I got loose on a fast break and something inside me just said, ‘Jump. Do it.’ And I dunked it backwards behind my head with two hands.”

Kinsey has been dunking ever since and is expected to continue that trend when Marshall hosts Florida Atlantic at 7 p.m. Thursday in Cam Henderson Center. “It feels like an overnight thing,” said Kinsey.

“It’s like a gift just came overnight. I don’t do anything. I don’t work out. I’m not the biggest guy. I just woke up one morning and it was there. It was just God-given.”

All I know is this kid is special. After our interview, I commented that on one play I feared he was going to hit his head on the rim.

“Oh, I have done that before,” he replied casually.

Uh, put me down for a 44-inch vertical, too.

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

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