Steps Magnify MU Basketball Thunder

Updated 32 weeks ago by Ed McCarnes

Marshall University men’s basketball coach Dan D’Antoni moved quickly following his appointment to enlighten his program’s fan base and the Tri-State about what to expect.

D’Antoni described his offense as up tempo. The defense, he said, would be upscale and could change at any time and anywhere on the court.

Over four seasons the generalities have become specifics. By steps here’s how the program has developed to its current status.

Step 1 – the offense: From season one the basics were sufficiently present to make clear the potential. Through seasons two-four the impact of the increasing fan favorite became more focused and productive.

Step 2 – the defense: In season one defense was basically absent without permit to leave. Through seasons two-four cameo lightning flashes of progress were observed. Over season three the process increased its program support. In season four procedures became a major contributor to the team’s success.

Inside the fundamentals’ frames, player contributions provided the ignition to, and substance of, 2017-18’s historic success.

D’Antoni believes that eight players must produce for a team to succeed. The work of Jon Elmore, C. J. Burks, Ajdin Penava, Jarrod West, Milan Mijovic, Rondale Watson, Darius George and Jannson Williams made D’Antoni a prophet in his own time.

Step 3 – Jon Elmore: Elmore was the only player to start all 36 games. He was the team leader in the 3-point-goals, assists and steals.

Step 4 – C. J. Burks: C. J. started each of the 35 games he played. He led the team in total field goals and free throw percentage.

Step 5 – Ajdin Penava: Ajdin performed a two step inside his step 5. Part one was a step up from occasional contributions to full time starter. Part two was as a major contributor of points, rebounds and blocked shots. He ranked first nationally in blocks.

Step 6 – Jarrod West: Jerrod, a true freshman, provided offense and defense in playing 17 of 18 conference games. He connected on 40.4% of his field goal attempts and was second in steals and third in assists. On defense he was a key factor in blunting each opponent’s top offensive threat.

Step 7 – Milan Mijovic: Milan, at 6-9 and 255, met a major Marshall need of more presence in and around the low (around the basket) paint. He stabilized a front line position as, and until, D’Antoni developed depth for it.

Step 8 – Rondale Watson: Rondale was the first entry inked in on D’Antoni’s depth chart. As sixth man he provided 45.1% field goal shooting and key supplements in rebounding, three point goals, foul shooting, assists and steals.

Step 9 – Darius George: Darius completed D’Antoni’s eight deep for success philosophy in 28 games without a start. He completed 50.5% of his field goal attempts in addition to his complementary team rebounding and steals.

Step 10 – Jannson Williams: Jannson became prominent in the post season as her replace Mijovic in the starting lineup. Noted were his field goal and free throw conversions, rebounding and blocked shots.

The comprehensive spectrum of success magnifies its impact with a binocular scan of overview and specifics.

In overview the Herd won its first C-USA post season tournament and recorded its first NCAA tournament win.

Specifics magnify in clarity by reviewing shooting and floor game perspectives. In shooting, Marshall outshot both all game and conference foes in field goal percentage, three point goals, three

point percentage, total free throws and free throw percentage.

In floor game stats MU led both groups in assists, blocks and less personal fouls.

The major area of need is rebounding. Both all season and conference composite opponents won the battles of total boards and offensive boards.

The improvements in fundamentals and player contributions have raised the Herd’s profile and reincarnated the program’s regional and national prominence. But that is only the undergraph of good news.

The sidebar to the banner of good news is that only three players have completed their eligibility.

The banner of good news comes in a double headline.

One head reads the core that made Marshall great in 2017-18 can return. The second head tells that two 6-10 players are on campus and projected to complete their eligibility requirements by next season. These players will help fill The Herd’s major needs.

So listen for and to the increasing thunder. Whether plugs will be necessary to protect the ears from increasing thunder remains a moot question. What isn’t under question is whether Marshall will be vastly improved. The question, if any, is how much. Regular season and post season championships seem, at last, to be well within a reasonable reach.

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