Herd That chasing million dollar prize at TBT

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — For the second time in the run up to The Basketball Tournament, the Marshall alumni team Herd That is preparing for a different opponent than they were originally scheduled to face.

Herd That was initially drawn against Best Virginia before the WVU alumni team withdrew after multiple positive COVID-19 tests. On Friday, Playing for Jimmy V was removed from the tournament after a positive test while the team was in the ‘bubble’ in Columbus, Ohio. On Sunday, Herd That will face the Peoria All-Stars. They were a standby team for the 24-team tournament.

A mix of five Marshall alumni and five other players are listed on the Herd That roster. Ot Elmore is the team’s general manager and will play guard as well.

“I don’t play at the high level that I used to,” Elmore said. “364 days a year, I work a regular job and live a regular life. So it is nice to be out there one day a year and play basketball and relive the glory days.”

Ot’s brother Jon is Marshall’s all-time leading scorer and was instrumental in bringing in many of the new pieces to the roster.

“My back is kind of hurting,” Jon Elmore said. “I feel like I have done more than most. But it has been good fun. We have all collaborated. Several of us got together and talked about the way we wanted to go this year. It was a big-time team effort.”

Many of the new players on the Herd That roster are frontcourt players, giving the team some much-needed bulk to help out Ryan Taylor down low.

“Ryan Taylor has been holding it down for us,” said guard Stevie Browning. “He is not the biggest guy in the world but he is skilled and knows how to use his body. But he is just one guy. We went out and brought other pieces in, bigs that are very talented.”

“They can fit in well in the Marshall system,” Ot Elmore said. “Zach Smith (Texas Tech) is a high-flyer. You can expect a lot of alley-oops to him. Ryan Luther (Arizona/Pittsburgh) shoots the three-ball extremely well. He will fit in perfect, getting up and down and letting it fly.

“Marshall fans should be very familiar with Jacorey Williams (Middle Tennessee) and Chris Cokley (UAB). They were nightmares for us to deal with in Conference USA.”

“We played against some of the new pieces that we brought in in conference play twice a year for three or four years,” Taylor said. “When they first came on, the first question they asked is ‘Are you going to play like how you did at Marshall’? Everybody wants to play like that.”

Even with an added post presence, Herd That will still play the Dan D’Antoni style of uptempo basketball.

“It is different,” said guard Rondale Watson. “It is something you don’t see everyday. You can tell by the coach we learned from. He is different in the way he does things. We move fast. We spread the floor. We shoot a lot of 3’s.”

“When we were at the Greenbrier for our first practice down there, it surprised everybody when he showed up,” Ot Elmore said. “He came in and watched practice and talked to everybody. We all love coach Danny. He is a great guy.”

Herd That will play in the first of four TBT games on day two of the tournament Sunday at 2 p.m. ESPN has the broadcast. A million dollar winner-take-all prize awaits the tournament champion.

“We played with our brothers and our best friends and we added some pieces,” Browning said. “I like our chances.”

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