Hanner latest to leave Herd
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- So which reconfiguration is more radical: That of Conference USA, or of Marshall's basketball roster?
It's becoming a tossup, especially after Jamir Hanner's release from the Thundering Herd program. SNY.tv reported that the 6-foot-8 forward is heading to Buffalo to play for coach Bobby Hurley, and will have two years' eligibility after sitting out a season.
Hanner is the fourth player to exit coach Tom Herrion's program, seven when including three graduating seniors. Six newcomers are eligible and expected to make their college debuts in 2013-14, with potential reinforcements on the way. Only five players, one a regular starter, return.
Those newcomers have a considerable void to fill. In a statistical oddity, the Herd has lost 74 percent of its minutes, 74 percent of its points and 74 percent of its rebounds from last season.
The most visible exit was that of DeAndre Kane, who was nudged out after scoring 1,496 points in three seasons. Kane, who is earning his Marshall degree and can transfer without penalty, reportedly is considering Pittsburgh, Memphis and Iowa State.
Before then, Chris Martin left the program and has transferred to Mount St. Mary's. After Kane left, junior-college import D.D. Scarver left the program to "seek other playing options."
And now, Hanner is gone, reportedly heading to the Bulls of the Mid-American Conference.
"As we continue to mold our roster to assure a very successful future and foundation for the Marshall basketball roster, changes are inevitable," Herrion said Friday. "Jamir Hanner has decided to leave our program at this time to explore other opportunities.
"Our newcomers along with our returning pieces position us for a positive '13-14 campaign. As a staff we are very pleased with our recent roster additions as well as the possibility of future members of our team."
Hanner, a Philadelphia native, came to the Herd from Notre Dame Prep, the successful postgraduate program in Fitchburg, Mass. He originally committed to Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez in 2010 and carried Big East-type credentials - he was named a four-star recruit by Yahoo and a three-star by Scout.com.
He brought great energy, but his game never met the hype. Likened to "Bambi on ice" by Herrion, he scored 50 points in 28 games as a freshman, hitting just 7 of 29 from the foul line.
As a sophomore, he played 25 of the Herd's 32 games, averaging just 9.2 minutes. He scored 3.6 points per game with 2.5 rebounds, and got his free-throw shooting up to 58.8 percent.
Hanner's departure leaves up to two scholarships available for a late recruit. The most recent signee was another Notre Dame Prep star, point guard Jaylen Brantley, who is expected to be a nonqualifier. Rated four stars by MaxPreps.com, he will begin classes later this summer.
Herrion said he and his staff is playing all possible recruiting angles, including those fifth-year "rent-a-players" who are flooding the market.
"We're definitely grinding," Herrion said Friday. "We've got a handful of kids I'm really excited about."
Point guard Kareem Canty and 6-6 forward Ryan Taylor, nonqualifiers last winter, have attained eligibility. TyQuane Goard, the George Washington graduate who transferred from Ohio and walked on for his transfer season, is on scholarship.
Of the three signed junior-college recruits, 6-4 guard Justin Edmonds is already in school. The other two, 6-9 power forward Cheik Sane and 6-6 forward Shawn Smith, are expected to begin classes on June 10.
"That's a huge, huge benefit," Herrion said. "That's as early as we've been able to get junior-college kids in here. They can reap the benefits of our summer program."
Of the five returning players, senior forward Elijah Pittman is the leading scorer (16.1) and rebounder (4.2) and lone regular starter. Sophomore guard Tamron Manning improved late in the season and started five games.
Sophomore DeVince Boykins averaged 10.5 minutes in 22 games but needs to improve offensively (18.5 percent from floor, 2 for 6 from the line). Seven-foot-2 senior Yous Mbao and end-of-bench junior JP Kambola combined to play 111 minutes last season.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.