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Herd catches ex-Hurricane, tosses Thomas

Marshall basketball coach Dan D’Antoni made one addition and one notable subtraction in a busy Tuesday.

James Kelly, a 6-foot-7 forward, is transferring from Miami to join the Thundering Herd. After sitting out one year, he will have the 2015-16 season remaining.

A native of Ann Arbor, Mich., Kelly appeared in 27 games and made 11 starts last season for the Hurricanes. Kelly averaged 6.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 17.9 minutes per game, shooting 48.5 percent from the floor.

On the flip side, Chris Thomas’ vagabond existence in the basketball world took another turn, as he was dismissed from the program.

Thomas, the 6-foot-5 junior known for his daring drives to the basket, started in 26 of the Thundering Herd’s 33 games, averaging 12.7 points and 4.0 rebounds. He also led the team with 38 steals.

Previous coach Tom Herrion took a chance on Thomas, the Denver native who attended three prep schools in different states before enrolling in Chipola (Fla.) College. He played there in the 2012-13, committing to Xavier before reneging. Eventually, he missed his team’s postseason after landing in jail.

That cost the former five-star prospect a scholarship offer at Manhattan, but he landed on his feet at Marshall for 2013-14.

Thomas’ departure means that three of the Herd’s four double-figure scorers from last season are not returning for D’Antoni’s first season — the long-since-gone Elijah Pittman, point guard Kareem Canty and Thomas. Pittman was dismissed in midseason after a reported tirade at Penn State; Canty transferred after Herrion’s resignation and, at last report, is headed to Auburn.

It also means that with eight scholarship players back from last season (including the redshirted Justin Edmonds), two Herrion signees and two D’Antoni additions, the roster is open for one scholarship player. (Hedgesville native C.J. Burks is expected to be a nonqualifier.)


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