HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The 2016-17 Marshall men’s basketball season officially began on Monday with the first practice of the season at the Cam Henderson Center.
The 17-man Thundering Herd team had its first full practice of the season on Monday afternoon.
Head coach Dan D’Antoni enters his third season at the helm of the Thundering Herd program this year. D’Antoni led Marshall to a 17-16 record last season, and 12 wins in Conference USA play, the most ever in program history. D’Antoni said he was as excited as his players to get things officially started on Monday.
“Our team’s been working hard in order to prepare for the upcoming season,” D’Antoni said. “We have a grueling non-conference schedule to prepare for. We hope that it will let our team know who we are and evaluate where we are by the time conference play rolls around.”
“We return most of our core from last year’s season, so we have a good team chemistry already intact. The more time we can get on the court and prepare, the better off we will be. We have been pleased with what we’ve seen to this point, but now it’s time to get after it and that’s what we intend to do.”
Marshall returns four starters, 10 letterwinners and welcomes four newcomers for the upcoming season.
Senior forward Ryan Taylor leads the list of returnees entering the new year. Taylor became the sixth player in Marshall history to record at least 1,300 points/700 rebounds for his career in the 2015-16 season. The Indianapolis native leads Conference USA with 27 career double-doubles. He had six last season and landed on the Conference USA third team for his efforts.
Junior guard Jon Elmore returns as the team’s top scorer, averaging 15.2 points per game. The Herd finished 15-10 after the Charleston, W.VA., native became eligible. Senior guard Austin Loop is seventh in Marshall history with 181 made field goals. He needs four to reach John Taft (1987-91).
Senior guard Stevie Browning returns as the primary assist man to the Herd offense. He averaged 3.5 assists a game, which ranked him 10th in Conference USA. Junior forward Terrence Thompson comes back after being named the Bob Allen Most Improved Player by Herd coaches and as the 2015-16 season’s “sixth man.”
Sophomore Aleksa Nikolic and redshirt freshman Noah Frampton return to the court after being sidelined for the majority of the season with injuries. Junior big man Milan Mijovic returns after appearing in 13 games and averaging 4.0 minutes a game. Sophomore Jacob Kilgore returns after appearing in 14 games and averaging 3.9 minutes per game. Sophomore forward Ajdin Penava returns after appearing in 18 games, averaging, 6.1 minutes, 1.9 points, 1.0 rebound and 4.0 blocks per game. Redshirt freshman Christian Thieneman will suit up for Marshall this season after sitting out for the 2015-16 season.
The Herd welcomes newcomers Jannson Williams, Ky’re Allison and Phil Bledsoe, who all signed with Marshall as high schoolers. Junior transfer Ot Elmore is immediately eligible to suit up for the Herd, while junior transfer Rondale Watson has to sit out for the year.
“It feels good to be back,” Taylor said. It’s been a long time coming, but the offseason went by quickly. I’m excited and my team is excited to show the fans, Conference USA and the nation what we have.”
Marshall will open the season with an exhibition game vs. West Virginia State on Nov. 3. The regular season opens with Marshall hosting North Carolina Central on Nov. 12.
Season tickets for the upcoming 2016-17 season are on sale now through the Marshall Athletic Ticket Office for as low as $10.00 per game, and season ticket renewals have been mailed. For more information, call the Marshall Athletic Ticket Office at (800) THE-HERD or by email at [email protected]
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