Magazine ranks Herd basketball No. 25
HUNTINGTON — Marshall University’s basketball team begins preseason practice Wednesday with a national ranking.
Street & Smith’s preseason basketball publication gave Marshall some love with a No. 25 ranking while predicting the Thundering Herd to repeat as the Conference USA champion and make its second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Marshall guard Jon Elmore’s photo is on one of the magazine’s regional covers.
“Jon texted me and said Street & Smith’s ranked us,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said Wednesday before a team workout. “I texted back,
‘Go Herd. Let’s get better.’ If we were ranked No. 2, I would say let’s get better. If we were ranked No. 1, I would say let’s get better.”
The Street & Smith’s Preseason Top 25 has Kansas at the top followed by Virginia, Duke, Tennessee and Kentucky. West Virginia University is No. 14. Marshall visits the Virginia Cavaliers for a Dec. 31 game at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Elmore was identified in the magazine among the “Top One Bid League Scorers.” The 6-foot-3 senior point guard from Charleston was mentioned earlier in the week by NCAA.com correspondent Andy Katz as one of the nation’s Top 25 most impactful seniors.
Elmore was the first player to lead C-USA in scoring average (22.7) and assists per game (6.8) in back-to-back seasons. He was ninth nationally in both scoring and assists.
“The D’Antoni system is point guard-friendly and Elmore is a perfect fit,” Street & Smith’s wrote. “The 6-3 West Virginia native has been almost unstoppable at times.”
Marshall posted a 25-11 record last season and went 12-6 in C-USA before storming to the league tournament title and going to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1987. The 13thseeded Herd upset No. 4 seed Wichita State at San Diego in the West Regional
for its first NCAA Tournament win in six tries.
The magazine said D’Antoni won by playing at the fastest pace in the league and the seventh quickest in the nation. The Herd was 10th in the country in scoring (83.8 points per game), 10th in 3-pointers made (362) and 11th in assists (17.1 per game).
“The D’Antoni system has made Marshall matter and made them entertaining,” the report said.
Elmore was part of the All C-USA team picked by Street & Smith’s that included UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson, Old Dominion guard Ahmad Caver, Western Kentucky guard Taveion Hollingsworth and North Texas guard Roosevelt Smart. Elmore and Marshall guard C.J. Burks were on the All-Sharpshooter team. Burks, a 6-4 senior guard from Martinsburg, West Virginia, scored 20.1 a game.
With Elmore and Burks, Marshall will have one of the most potent backcourts in the country, Street & Smith’s reported.
Street & Smith’s also mentioned 5-11 sophomore guard Jarrod West, from Clarksburg, West Virginia, as a returning starter and redshirt freshman Iran Bennett (6-9, 355 pounds), who D’Antoni said could be special if he gets his weight under control.
The magazine was put together before the summer addition of 6-10 junior college transfer Mikel Byers to the Marshall roster.
STREET & SMITH’S PRESEASON TOP 25
7. North Carolina
11. Kansas State
12. Michigan State
13. Virginia Tech
16. Mississippi State
21. Florida State
“The D’Antoni system has made Marshall matter and made them entertaining.”
Street & Smith’s