A tweet that can't be sweet
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- APPARENTLY, WE had one of these "tweet from the hip" moments, and it might not bode well for the Marshall basketball program.
It came after yet another Thundering Herd road loss, 66-56 at Texas-El Paso. It increased "The Streak," that of Marshall stumbling in venues other than Cam Henderson Center, to a dirty dozen.
The El Paso Times game report noted that Marshall made life uncomfortable for the Miners in the homestretch, cutting their lead to 60-55 with 1:05 left. Big whoppin' deal - the Herd fell behind by 18 (what else is new?) and couldn't come back far enough to have possession with an opportunity to tie or take the lead.
Which, in my demented world, doesn't remove the "butt-kicking" tag. Or the "more of same" tag.
(Who said the Herd's 2013 football team couldn't play on the road? I counted four wins away from home. For the basketball program, four such wins ago stretches back to the semifinals of the 2012 Conference USA tournament.)
Anyway, Kareem Canty didn't have a good Saturday night. He was throttled by the Miners, scoring just seven points on 2 of 14 shooting. His six 3-pointers clanked away, he hit half his six free throws and picked up a smooth technical foul along the way.
Who was guarding Canty? Six-foot-8 Julian Washburn, one bit of evidence that the Miners just might get through the loss of three players to betting allegations. Washburn is a junior who has led his team in minutes all three seasons, and is skilled enough defensively to handle a point guard.
As for Canty, he's leading his team in minutes as a freshman, a 36.18 average. Check that - he leads all of Conference USA, save for Tulane freshman Jonathan Stark. Canty will continue to play that much because, well, he has to.
And he will get tired. And frustrated.
But he needs to keep his phone off after the game. Apparently, he squeezed off the following tweet minutes after the contest: "I got a lot on my mind don't think I'll be returning next year."
The tweet was deleted, but you figure somebody among his 1,400 followers would screen-capture and pass it around. Of course, it happened.
The screen capture took place at 11:43 p.m.; the tweet was stamped 11:31 p.m. on the 11th (Saturday). Both times Eastern, which means Canty piped up about 20 minutes or so after the game ended.
An impulsive act? Certainly. And Canty wouldn't be the first young athlete to harbor thoughts of leaving. I've talked to more than a few who had such notions, but stuck it out and had fine careers in a Thundering Herd uniform.
Then again, DeAndre Kane looks awfully good this season, pending ankle injury - in an Iowa State uniform. Elijah Pittman is suspended and should stay that way. Coach Tom Herrion's popularity is plunging toward that of Obamacare.
These are not good days for Marshall basketball, and anything that appears to be a bad signal is going to be magnified. Players need to lay off the "Tweet" button.
In a Canty tweet that wasn't removed, he congratulated walk-on Austin Loop from being awarded a scholarship. The 6-foot-4, 207-pound redshirt freshman from South Webster, Ohio, earned it.
Loop has played only 66 minutes, but has 38 points to show for it - that's equivalent to playing all 40 minutes a game and scoring 23 points. He has hit 10 of 28 from 3-point range, a .357 percentage. Remember, he's often coming off the bench cold.
But his work and attitude in a season and a half are his most valuable assets.
Get on the Herd for its weekend sweep, but don't call UTEP a fully "depleted" team. The folks in El Paso specifically bid on the 2014 Conference USA tournament with a well-stocked, veteran team in mind.
There are still elements of such a team in place, as Marshall rediscovered Saturday night. John Bohannon had 18 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, and probably would ring up a double-double 10 times out of 10 against this Herd team. Too tall, too strong and too smart to do anything less against an undersized squad.
As for the league-opening loss to Texas-San Antonio, the Roadrunners knocked off Charlotte 85-77 and sit at 2-0. And I'm still not impressed. Bad loss for the 49ers, as well as the Herd.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.