The Marshall men will face a Wheeling Jesuit team that finished 13-15 overall, 8-12 in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, losing in the first round to Fairmont State, 83-81 in overtime. The Cardinals return senior Maqsood Harrington, who led WJU at 13.9 points per game. He also averaged 3.75 assists per game and made 2.46 three-pointer per game. He is a 6-foot, 185-pound player from Oxon Hill, Md.
Wheeling Jesuit averaged 74.5 points per game last year, and surrendered 73.4. The team shot only .633 at the line, 14th among 16 teams in the WVIAC, but shot .456 from the floor, 10th in the league.
Marshall coach Donnie Jones has five returning players and three returning starters, but two of the three are sidelined until later in November. Senior Markel Humphrey led the Herd with 13.9 points per game while junior Tyler Wilkerson led the Herd in rebounds, but both are out with fractures.
Humphrey has a stress fracture in his foot, and his return may not come until much later this month. Wilkerson broke a bone in his hand, but should be out only a couple of more weeks. C-USA All-Freshman Team member Tirrell Baines is the third returning starter. Marshall has three transfer who sat out last year, but Chris Lutz, a three-point specialist from Purdue, hurt his knee and is wearing a brace and Brandon Powell, from Florida, is also ailing.
The run of pre-season injuries continued on October 25 when Powell left practice because of a lower leg/ankle problem. Back in the spring, the third transfer, Octavius Spann, was injured in an auto accident and could not work out until late in the summer. Freshman Dago Pena was battling the bug last week while fellow frosh Kore White went out with a hand/wrist problem the same day Powell was hurt. MU even had to cancel a promised open to the public practice last weekend they were so short of healthy players. Who will go Saturday is still up in the air.
The other returnees are senior guard Darryl Merthie, who is very close to regaining a year he sat out for academics for 2009-2010, and junior Adam Williams. The other players are 6-foot-10 sophomore center Marcus Goode and freshmen guards Damier Pitts and Shaquille Johnson. Transfer Camden Miller is sitting out after playing most of last year at Western Carolina, but can practice as a transfer.
On Sunday, the women will open a season in which they hope to improve on a 17-16 mark, its fifth-straight non-losing season. The Herd advanced to the semi-finals of the C-USA Tournament before falling to eventual champ, SMU. Royce Chadwick is starting his eighth season at MU, and won his 500th career game last season, also his 100th with the Herd.
MU returns four starters including center Tynikki Crook, who won All-Tournament honors as a true freshman; senior guard Casey Baker, who led C-USA in steals and was named to the All-C-USA Defensive Team; and juniors Alyssa Hammond, the team's second-leading scorer last year, and Chantelle Handy, who played this summer for the British National Team. Other returning players include junior Alex Barnett, while senior Kendra King will miss the season because of injury.
Nine newcomers include Angelica Harris, a junior from Rend Lake CC, junior Keona Brooks, from Southwest Tennessee CC, junior Andrea Ibezim, from Monroe CC in New York, red-shirt freshmen Tania Walters and Rashedah Henriques and true frosh Kamille Lisonbee, who is 6-foot-7 and may be Marshall's tallest player ever, plus Raechele Gray, Alaya Mitchell and Annette Kristiansen.
The women will also play the DT-3 All-Stars on Saturday, November 8 at 7 p.m. The women open the season on November 14 at 7 p.m. at Appalachian State in Boone, N.C., a former MU rival in the Southern Conference. The men open their season on Sunday, November 16, at 2 p.m., in the Henderson Center, against WVU Tech's Golden Bears, a NAIA member of the Mid-South Conference.