Kinsey has zero turnovers in C-USA
HUNTINGTON — In three games since Taevion Kinsey was inserted into the Marshall Thundering Herd starting lineup the freshman has committed zero turnovers in 115 minutes on the court. Kinsey played for the full 40 minutes in the last two games without coughing the basketball up.
“It’s unbelievable,” Marshall men’s basketball head coach Dan D’Antoni said.
The 6-foot-5 freshman guard became known early with his highflying dunks and he’s now playing a forward position for Marshall (10-6, 2-0 Conference USA) who has averaged 16.7 points and 6.3 rebounds as a starting player. He led the Herd with 23 points, seven rebounds and no turnovers Saturday in a 70-69 conference defeat of Western Kentucky University (8-8, 1-2) in Cam Henderson Center.
Marshall’s three-game homestand continues at 7 p.m. Thursday when Florida Atlantic University (11-6, 2-2) visits and again at 7 p.m. Saturday when FIU (11-6, 2-2) comes to town. FIU plays Thursday at Western Kentucky.
“Definitely it was fun (the WKU game), but we have to get right back on track,” Kinsey said.
Kinsey wasn’t aware he hasn’t committed a turnover in C-USA action.
He said D’Antoni tells players turnovers are part of the game. Assistant coach Mark Cline tells him to not think about making mistakes, to just play basketball.
“I just go in there and play,” Kinsey said. “I don’t think about turning it over. Even if I did have a couple of turnovers I was going to play hard.”
Kinsey isn’t taking any credit for Marshall’s fast start in C-USA, saying he knew the Herd would get on track. His quickness, jumping ability and basketball smarts are only part of it, he said.
He said senior Jon Elmore is still the point guard and the basketball goes through guards such as sophomore Jarrod West and senior C.J. Burks with the forwards — Kinsey and 6-9 sophomore Jannson Williams — setting screens. Kinsey also said the scout team players have been great working hard in practices and everybody has been clicking on all levels.
Kinsey’s seven rebounds against Western Kentucky included at least four grabs of missed shots that resulted in Marshall points.
His 42-inch vertical leap makes it possible for him to work against bigger players.
“With me being athletic and being smarter I don’t let the guys box me out,” he said. “I was definitely locked in on getting the rebounds. I don’t want to be stopped from getting that rebound.”
Marshall uses Kinsey to guard opponents attempting to make inbounds passes and he uses a jumping jack maneuver to make it difficult.
Western Kentucky attempt to put the basketball in play under its basket with 4.9 seconds left trailing by one point. Kinsey jumped high once and made the passer think again. He didn’t jump on the second attempt, but affected the pass anyway and it was too high for 6-foot-11 Charles Bassey of the Hilltopppers to catch cleanly and Herd guard Rondale Watson took it away.
Kinsey said he’s been doing that since high school.
“One game my coach put me on the ball,” he said. “We were trying to stop the team from winning the game. He said you jump the highest, so I want you to jump up and down. I jumped my highest. Everybody said from now on you’re on the ball because they can’t get the ball inbounds.”
Kinsey has season averages of 8.3 points and 3.3 rebounds with the most offensive rebounds on the team (27) and the best field goal shooting percentage (64.6).
He already has one C-USA Freshman of the Week award and people everywhere are taking notice of what he’s doing. He was an All-Ohio standout at Eastmoor Academy in Columbus and some Herd fans have asked why he wasn’t recruited by the Ohio State Buckeyes.
He had some discussions with Ohio State, but said the Buckeyes wanted him to do a year in prep school before they signed him.
“I said that’s not in my plans when I can go to another school that wants me,” he said.
He was looking at schools such as James Madison University and Tennessee-Martin University before a Marshall visit sealed the deal, Kinsey said.
On his Monday night radio show D’Antoni said he went with assistant coach Cornelius Jackson to scout Herd redshirt freshman Cam Brooks-Harris play for Zanesville (Ohio) High School and noticed Kinsey on the other team.
“Taevion is a terrific player,” D’Antoni said. “He’s a highlight reel. It’s not often you get a highlight reel with a solid player.
“This kid is very athletic and he’s a very solid player, which is very unusual.”
Kinsey is also one of the finest young men you’ll ever be around, D’Antoni said.
FLA. ATLANTIC (11-6, 2-2) at MARSHALL (10-6, 3-0)
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Cam Henderson Center, Huntington
TV: ESPN+ RADIO: WDGG 93.7-FM, ESPN 94.1-FM and 930-AM