AP NEWS

Chuck Landon: Big hoops twinbill slated for MU, WVU

May 11, 2019

It’s a home run.

Oops, wrong sport.

Instead, let’s call it a game-winning 3-pointer from 25 feet at the final buzzer.

This basketball news is actually that big and, yes, that epic.

How does a twinbill featuring both of the collegiate men’s basketball NCAA Division I programs from the state of West Virginia sound?

Now that everyone’s imagination has been captured and readers are so intrigued they are hanging on every word, here are the details.

Marshall University and West Virginia University will participate in a basketball doubleheader Dec. 29 in the former Quicken Loans Arena, which recently was renamed Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, in downtown Cleveland, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

The arena is the home of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Sunday-afternoon matchups will feature Marshall’s Thundering Herd taking on Duquesne in the first game, followed by the WVU Mountaineers playing Ohio State in the second game.

What more could a basketball fan from the Mountain State desire?

After all, it’s certainly fan-friendly. Marshall and WVU fans easily can drive to Cleveland on the morning of Dec. 29 and then drive home after the twinbill.

It’s a win-win situation.

And then some.

Since Duquesne owed Marshall a return game in Huntington in 2019-20 because the Thundering Herd played the Dukes in Pittsburgh during the 2018-19 season, Duquesne also has agreed to pay Marshall $50,000 for participating in the Cleveland-based twinbill, according to sources.

Besides all that, Duquesne still is going to play a return game in the Cam Henderson Center during the 2020-21 season.

Now, there are win-win scenarios and then there’s this.

Whoever brainstormed this basketball twinbill is a promotional savant.

What an outstanding idea.

So, circle Dec. 29 on the calendar in green or blue ink, depending on your persuasion.

Just be sure to circle it.

AREA CONNECTIONS: The premise always has been near and dear to Marshall men’s basketball head coach Danny D’Antoni.

That’s why he wears it proudly on his chest every game in the form of his “Hillbilly Ball” T-shirt.

Well, don’t expect him to change.

D’Antoni recently reinforced the concept by bringing in a pair of new walk-on players hailing from Charleston and Chapmanville.

The Charleston product is 5-foot-8, 150-pound point guard Robby Williams, who starred at Charleston Catholic High School. Williams averaged 25.5 points in 2018-19 and made 73 3-pointers. The Class A all-state first-team selection finished his career with 1,551 points and 249 3-pointers.

By the way, Williams’ father is veteran WVU-Tech head coach Bob Williams.

The addition from Chapmanville is 6-8 Devin Collins, who could supply some surprising upside down the road, considering how young he appears. Collins averaged about 16 points while leading the Tigers to their second consecutive Class AA state championship.

They will join sophomore walk-on Luke Thomas from nearby Fairland, Ohio.

But this concept doesn’t just pertain to the Marshall men’s basketball program. Veteran Herd head football coach Doc Holliday also has gotten into the act.

He recently signed Fairland High School star quarterback Joel Lambiotte to a preferred walk-on spot on the Herd’s 2019 roster. The 6-2, 192-pound Lambiotte passed for 2,580 yards and 32 touchdowns during the 2018 season.

Lambiotte will be joining another local product in Luke Zban as walk-on quarterbacks for the Herd. Zban starred at Huntington High School.

Who says local talent doesn’t matter?

Certainly not Marshall.

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