During our Open Gym Tour in West Virginia, we got a sneak preview as well of Marshall University and what the Thundering Herd bring this year on the basketball court.

Under head coach Dan D’Antoni, Marshall will look to push the tempo, as they finished averaging 74 possessions per game and Top-10 nationally in adjusted tempo for the fifth consecutive season.  With a 23-14 overall record last year and an 11-7 conference record, there are still questions on who will continue to produce especially with the losses of guards Jon Elmore (20.3ppg) and C.J. Burks (17.7ppg).

However, new names will be looking to step up to replace as well as several other players that could make an even bigger impact and will certainly be ones to watch this season for Marshall.

Returning starters:

We are telling you now and be sure to mark his name down today.  Sophomore 6’5 Taevion Kinsey is a star in the making for this Marshall team and will be one of the guys that will take over offensively for the Thundering Herd.  Named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team last year and averaging 10.5ppg, Kinsey earned experience last year, shooting nearly 58 percent from the floor.  The sophomore guard brings incredible athleticism to the floor but also knows how to score the ball in an array of ways.  He should start becoming a national name for college basketball fans.

Junior 6’9 Jannson Williams
screams versatility as well as high IQ to the floor.  Not only did he shoot 58 percent from two last year, but also knocked down 62 3-pointers vs. DI opponents.  After averaging 9.0 points and 5.1 rebounds, expect Williams to continue to grow and be a force as well.  He started every game last year, playing in 37 games and recording a team-high 72 blocks last season.

Junior 5’11 Jarrod West is the final starter returning from last season and will be looked at as not only the lead guard to lead this offense but also an experienced guard that will need to step up scoring-wise.  West sees the floor well and has that quick crossover/handles to get past defenders.  He also showcased his ability to knock down the outside jumper, as he shot 35.3 percent from three last year.

Watch for these players to step up:

Junior 6’7 Darius George has tremendous upside and should really start to show his athleticism on the court, along with his size.  George can play inside and out, has tremendous length, and brings explosion in attacking the rim.  He started 10 games last year, averaging 5.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in only 14.7 minutes.  George should see all those numbers increase this year.

Junior 6’9 Mikel Beyers saw limited action last year in terms of minutes but did play in 33 games for Marshall.  Beyers brings versatility again to the floor, as he really can stretch the court with his ability to shoot the spot-up jumper from three.  He also plays hard and with a chip on his shoulder, as he is one of those vocal leaders both on and off the court.

Sophomore 6’9 Iran Bennett has been working hard and getting in shape and it has paid off heading into the season.  Bennett brings size in the paint and should help make it difficult for opponents around the paint.  He appeared in 16 games last year, starting in seven games.

Freshmen help:

Center 7’0 Goran Miladinovic brings size but still very raw with his game, as he looks to get a better feel for the game in the coming years.  He does bring size and moves well on his feet but still has a lot of work to do to consistently receive significant minutes.

Forward 6’6 Dajour Rucker will be a nice wing prospect as he can do a little bit of everything on the court.  The Virginia Beach product brings a non-stop motor and can really have an impact on both sides of the floor.  He knows how to score and stretch the defense but it will be interesting to see his development at Marshall.

Also, keep an eye on Guard Devin Collins as well. He may not receive a lot of time but will be name down the road to watch from Chapmanville high school.