Basketball Wraps Up "Jirsa-Year One" At Banquet

Marshall's uniforms have been cleaned and shelved; the basketballs will sit on racks in the equipment room until camps start this summer. You know the 2003-04 season has been ended when the awards are announced at the annual Tip Off Club MU Basketball Banquet, held Tuesday evening at the Radisson Hotel in Huntington. A capacity crowd watched as speeches were made, awards were handed out and Herd seniors Marvin Black, Ardo Armpalu and manager Reeves Kirtner were honored for the final time.

Marshall Director of Athletics, Bob "Kayo" Marcum, reminded the crowd not to confuse routine with commitment when discussing how the season played out and the prospects for next year. Head coach Ron Jirsa later echoed those comments. "Fighters fight to the end," said Jirsa. "If they don't win, they want to keep on fighting and we will keep fighting to improve Marshall basketball.

"The groundwork has been laid and our seniors leave us a legacy. They have been the start of something big." Jirsa told the crowd of nearly 300 Herd fans and family MU had ended up being 93rd in the country in strength of schedule, far and away the best in the Mid-American Conference, and the Herd had finished 150th in RPI despite the final 12-17 record. Guest speaker Mark Adams, an announcer for ESPN Regional who called many Herd games on television this past winter, told the team it would take discipline, faith and perserance to make Marshall a great team in the future and challenged individual players during his motivational-style talk.

The awards were given to the following players and managers:
First Year Letter Winners-Eric Smith, Adam Zimmerman, Taurean Marshall, Tre' Whitted, John Ward and manager Lisa D'Esposito;
Second Year Letter Jacket Awards-Marvin Black, LaVar Carter, Mark Patton, David Anderson and manager Chaz Wolfe;
Third Year Letter Blanket Awards-Enoch Bunch, Ronnie Dawn and A.W. Hamilton;
Four Year Letterman Clock Awards-Ardo Armpalu and manager Reeves Kirtner.

The statistical and special awards:
Marvin Black-Second Team All-Mid-American Conference, two-time MAC Player of the Week, Russell Lee Leading Team Scorer (14.4 ppg/388 points), Charlie Slack Team Rebound Leader (7.6 rpg) and Walt Walowac MU Most Outstanding Player for 2003-04;
A.W. Hamilton-MAC Player of the Week, Mike D'Antoni Playmaker Award (152 assists/5.4 apg), Jeff Battle Team Steals Award (37) and Leo Byrd Thoroughbred Award (played over 1,000 minutes/35.6 mpg average);
Ardo Armpalu-Cebe Price Most Courageous Award (playing with medical condition) and Whitey Wilson Student-Athlete Award (3.66 gpa at MU);
Enoch Bunch-George Stone Free-Throw Percentage Award (83.3% for season);
David Anderson-Hal Greer Field Goal Percentage Award (54.3% for season);
Ronnie Dawn-Keith Veney Three-Point Field Goal Percentage Award (39.5% from behind the arc);
and Mark Patton-Most Improved Player Award (5.1 rpg average, up from 2.9 last season/7.8 ppg average, up from 3.6/23 blocks, up from 18/77% free throw percentage, up from 71%/and 22% from three-point, up from 15% last season).

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