HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – James Kelly (Ann Arbor, Mich.), was named winner of the Hal Greer Most Outstanding Player Award on Friday night at the Marshall men’s basketball End-of-Year Awards Reception.
The 6-foot-8 senior forward was one of five Herd players to earn special awards following coach Dan D’Antoni’s second season at his alma mater.
Kelly became the first player in Marshall history to reach a combination of 663 points and 324 rebounds in a single season. His clutch performances, such as his 3-pointer to win at Old Dominion in the final seconds, or his game-tying inbounds, buzzer-beating hoop against Southern Miss to send the home finale into overtime, helped carry the Herd to its best Conference USA record (12-6). The Miami (Fla.) transfer was named the league’s Newcomer of the Year and earned all-conference first team honors. Both awards are firsts for the program.
About 200 people attended the reception, held at 21 @ The Frederick in downtown Huntington.
The Mike D’Antoni “Mr. Marshall” Award was presented to junior forward Ryan Taylor (Indianapolis), while senior guard Justin Edmonds (Albion, Mich.) earned the Charlie Slack “Tough Man” Award. Sophomore forward Terrence Thompson (Durham, N.C.) was named winner of the Bob Allen Most Improved Player honor. Sophomore point guard Jon Elmore (Charleston, W.Va.) earned an honor added to the agenda, the Tamar Slay Newcomer of the Year Award.
Hal Greer Most Outstanding Player – James Kelly, 6-8, Sr., F – Award is named for Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Greer, a Herd legend from the 1950s … Marshall’s first Conference USA first team selection and Newcomer of the Year … three-time C-USA Player of the Week (Feb. 22, Jan. 11, Dec. 28) … one of two players in Herd history to record at least 600 points and 300 rebounds in a single season, alongside Russell Lee, who did it twice (1970-71, ’71-72) … highest combination of season points and rebounds in school history (663/324) … one of three Herd players to start all 33 games … led the team in scoring (20.1 points per game), rebounding (9.8 per game), steals (1.3 per game) and blocks (1.1 per game) … team-high 15 double-doubles … reached double-figure scoring in all 33 games with 16 games of 20-plus points and four games of 30-plus points … 15 games of 10-plus rebounds … No. 3 in Conference USA in scoring and rebounding (through games of March 12) … led the league in defensive rebounding (8.0 per game).
Mike D’Antoni “Mr. Marshall” Award – Ryan Taylor, 6-5, Jr., F – Award named for former Herd point guard and brother of Coach D’Antoni goes to the player who best excels on and off the court with emphasis on strong play and leadership … Taylor became Marshall’s 50th 1,000-point scorer (Dec. 17, against West Virginia) … passed coach Dan D’Antoni (1,109) and Mike D’Antoni (1,227) on the Herd’s all-time scoring chart … became the sixth player in program history to record at least 1,300 points and 700 rebounds in his career, alongside Charlie Slack, Hal Greer, George Stone, Russell Lee and J.R. VanHoose … one of three Herd players to start all 33 games … posted six double-doubles, second-most on team … third on team with 14.2 points per game … averaged 6.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.1 steals per game … team-high field goal percentage (55.4, 168-of-303) … shot 32.8 percent from long range and 64.7 percent from the free throw line … career-high 27 points against N.C. Central (Dec. 14), 11 free throws made against WVU (Dec. 17), eight assists versus FIU (Jan. 9) … 24 games in double-figure scoring with six 20-point games … six games with 10 or more rebounds … six games with five or more assists.
Charlie Slack “Tough Man” Award – Justin Edmonds, 6-4, Sr., G – Award named for Marshall’s career rebounding leader and one of the top rebounders in major college history … Edmonds emerged as team leader in energy and enthusiasm amid recovery from multiple knee surgeries … appeared in 27 games, making three starts (Nov. 24, 27; March 5) … season-high 13 points in C-USA Semifinals against eventual champion Middle Tennessee (March 11) … sank career-high three 3-pointers against Blue Raiders … two games of 10 points or more … season-high five assists in opener against Tennessee (Nov. 19) … made career-high three steals at Ohio (Dec. 1) … career-high six rebounds versus Louisiana Tech (March 3) … averaged 2.9 points, 0.9 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game.
Bob Allen Most Improved Player – Terrence Thompson, 6-7, So., F – Award named for No. 4 rebounder in Herd history and former teammate of Coach D’Antoni … Thompson appeared in 32 of the Herd’s 33 games, averaging 11.3 minutes per game as “sixth man” … 2015-16 C-USA Winter Spirit of Service honoree … close to posting double-doubles in three different games – seven points, 10 rebounds against Florida Atlantic (Jan. 7); nine points, 10 rebounds at WKU (Feb. 13) and 11 points, eight rebounds versus UTEP (March 10) in the C-USA Quarterfinals … career-high 11 points against the Miners in the tournament … career-high 10 rebounds twice … played career-high 33 minutes at WKU (Feb. 13) … shot 48.7 percent (38-of-78) from the field and 33.3 percent from long range (2-of-6) for the year … averaged 3.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 0.3 assists per game.
Tamar Slay Newcomer of the Year – Jon Elmore, 6-3, So., G – Award named for one of the best newcomers in the history of the program and eventual NBA Draft pick … Slay and Elmore are both winners of the Evans Award for the West Virginia Boys Basketball Player of the Year … Elmore became active as transfer from VMI on Dec. 14; joined starting lineup immediately at point guard … named to the 2015-16 Conference USA All-Academic Team … Herd went 15-10 with him in the starting lineup after beginning the season 2-6 without him … led Marshall with 5.8 assists, 34.6 minutes per game … No. 2 on the team with 15.2 points and 2.4 threes made per game … team-high free throw percentage of Herd players with 90 makes or more (.803, 98-of-122) … career-high 35 points against Southern Miss (March 5) with the record perfect game of free throws in school history (15-of-15) … double-figure scoring in 19 games with seven 20-point games … 15 games of five or more assists, with three games of 10 or more … two double-doubles (24 points, 10 assists at WKU – Feb. 13; 18 points, 10 assists versus Louisiana Tech – March 3).
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