With the NCAA allowing coaches to work with players for five weeks during the summer, Thundering Herd Head Coach Tom Herrion is taking a defensive stand with his players. When The Herd gets together as a team once a week the focus isn’t on jump shots, inside scoring or three point shooting. The Herd is concentrating on preventing the other team from doing those things and improving on team defense that was lackluster at times during the 2011-12 season.
“Right now we’re just trying to create a foundation,” explains Herrion. “We’ve got to be more committed to being a defensive team.”
Marshall finished 11th in Conference USA in scoring defense last season allowing an average of 68.1 points per game. Only Houston allowed more points per game, 71.6, than The Herd. Marshall was dead last in the conference in field goal percentage defense as the opposition shot 45 percent from the field. Compare that with Memphis, which led the league allowing .386 field goal percentage.
“Last year our defense was second to last in the conference,” admits DeAndre Kane. “We rebounded the ball a lot but defense needs to step up.”
Of course it wasn’t all doom and gloom as Kane points out. Marshall was one of the best rebounding teams in the country, grabbing 39.8 rebounds a game to lead C-USA and rank eighth best in the country. The Herd was third in the nation in offensive rebounds per game and ranked 10th nationally in rebound margin.
“As good a rebounding team and as dominant as we were, we regressed as a defensive group and that’s got to be corrected and that’s why it’s being addressed immediately,” Herrion says.
Herrion insists the 2012-13 version of the Thundering Herd will have a renewed commitment to defense that will play a pivotal role in building on last season’s run to the C-USA championship game and NIT. That’s why Herrion is getting back to the basics with his players this summer.
“We spend a lot of time on fundamentals, shooting, ball handling, a lot of different things,” Herrion says.
However, success this season will be defined by more than just footwork and technique. Herrion believes this team has a drive that will lead them to greatness this year.
“Our young kids are talented but the one thing they have is a hunger and a passion,” praises Herrion. “They’re in the gym a lot and are hungry for even more success.”
Herrion has had only limited time with team but believes this group has allowed the staff to push and challenge them maybe even more than his first two teams at Marshall. According to Herrion if that continues this team has the potential to be very good.
“I think this year we’ll have a nice team and be better than last year,” predicts Kane.
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