HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Dan D’Antoni has been on the job for a little more than a month-and-a-half and has identified areas that Marshall needs to upgrade if it truly wants to be a contender for the NCAA tournament.
Those upgrades entail a major commitment by the university to the men’s basketball program.
The Henderson Center, a practice facility, training room, equipment, coaches’ offices and travel all need to be addressed, according to D’Antoni, if The Herd is to be in the conversation for conference championships and tournament berths.
“There are a lot of things just in the facilities, having the right equipment, right budget, it is difficult,” said D’Antoni during an appearance on The Stampede.
D’Antoni is thinking big when it comes to upgrades, pointing out that Marshall needs a proper practice venue. When the Henderson Center is occupied—the basketball team shares it with volleyball and women’s basketball—The Herd practices in Gullickson Hall, which was built in 1961 and hasn’t been updated much since.
“(It’s difficult) having to use Gullickson Hall, which hasn’t really changed since I played there. I went in and looked at it and it’s the same court,” said D’Antoni.
“Having a practice facility with multiple goals. It’s hard to get shooting in in the limited amount of time the NCAA gives you with just two goals. We need a practice facility to go to and one that is accessible.”
That’s just the start.
“We need a larger office space that is first-class that will help in recruiting. When you’re bringing in parents they can see the university is invested in the program and has a prominent place,” he said.
Then there’s the issue of traveling on commercial flights to cities such like El Paso and San Antonio that require layovers and connections.
“Our travel has got to be upgraded. Travel has to be such that we can get on planes, not private planes, but chartered flights,” said D’Antoni.
He also wants to see upgrades to training equipment, the training room and even the nutrition program.
No one would argue D’Antoni’s point that all of those improvements are needed, unless they had to put the program’s budget together. Each item D’Antoni mentioned will take a major financial commitment.
“It’s hard to keep raising and asking for money but I know Mike [Hamrick] is committed to make sure this basketball program is top notch.”
D’Antoni wants to bring pride back to Marshall basketball and part of bringing back pride is having facilities and an overall program to brag about.
“I think you develop pride if you walk in and all the doors are on the lockers, the room is picked up, it looks clean, there’s regular maintenance, make sure our offices are in order, so it presents a first class picture.”
Dan D’Antoni made a commitment to Marshall that he would do everything he can to resurrect the basketball program.
Now is Marshall ready to make a commitment to D’Antoni to give him the tools he feels is necessary to sustain future success?