Women Start Thur., 10/9, Men's on Sat., 10/11

Ty Crook returns for sophomore season

HUNTINGTON - The Cam Henderson Center will once again serve as the site of Thundering Herd Madness on Saturday, Oct. 11, to officially kickoff the first practice for the Marshall University men's basketball team. But first, the Thundering Herd women's basketball team, along with the Locker Room Club is set to hold a season preview event entitled "Marshall Women's Basketball Is Sweet," on Oct. 9.

The women's basketball event, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Hartley Room at the Cam Henderson Center. On Saturday at the men's workout, admission to the 7 p.m. event is $5 for adults, $2 for children 12 and under, and all proceeds go to the Victory Club, the fund-raising organization for MU men's basketball.


Marshall's Casey Baker, shown battling West Virginia last season in Charleston, is one of many returners for Coach Royce Chadwick on the MU women's team. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

At the "Marshall Women's Basketball Is Sweet" event, dessert and refreshments will be served and fans will have the opportunity to meet with the players and coaches to discuss the 2008-09 season. During the event, current Locker Room Club members will discuss the benefits of joining the club. The players will also provide testimonials on how the club has helped their careers.

Following that, head coach Royce Chadwick will discuss the X's and O's of women's basketball, and then fans will have the opportunity to see the Herd in action for an intra-squad scrimmage.


MU junior Alyssa Hammond, shown last year against Memphis, is one of the top returners for the Herd women's team in 2008-09. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

Marshall returns four starters from last season's team, which came within minutes of advancing to the Conference USA Championship game. Senior Casey Baker leads the group, which also includes juniors Alyssa Hammond and Chantelle Handy, along with sophomore Tynikki Crook who recorded a double-double in each of Marshall's tournament games last season as a true frosh.

The Marshall women will host two pre-season exhibition games on November 2 and 8, facing the Exodus All Stars and the DT-3 All Stars. The regular season for MU will begin with a road game against former Southern Conference foe Appalachian State. Following the opener, the Herd will play the next five contests at home and eight of the next nine. The important stretch begins with the November 17 home opener against North Texas.

On the following weekend, MU will host its annual Fifth Third Classic, which will feature Louisiana Monroe, Morgan State and Tennessee State. The Herd will face Tennessee State in its opening game of the tournament. Games against Morehead State and UT Arlington wrap up the home stand before the Herd travels to South Orange, N.J. on December 6 for its first ever meeting against Big East member Seton Hall. Marshall will then return to Huntington for three games before Christmas break, facing Ohio U., Houston Baptist and Richmond prior to break for Christmas.


Senior Markel Humphrey (No. 4, right), last year against UTEP, will be counted on by Coach Donnie Jones for leadership in year two of Jones tenure at Marshall men's basketball. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

Coming up next is "Thundering Herd Madness" on Saturday, October 11. The workout will also be the first day men's season and game tickets tickets will go on sale to the general public, and will be available during and after Thundering Herd Madness. Season ticket renewals went so well the deadline was extended from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3 to accommodate all the returning season ticket holders.

Head coach Donnie Jones, entering his second season at Marshall, will introduce the 2008-09 Thundering Herd to the crowd with a drills session to follow. The team will participate in a three-point shootout and a slam dunk competition along with a brief scrimmage. "I encourage our fans to come out and support our returning players and newcomers at Thundering Herd Madness," Jones said. "We're looking forward to revealing our program's eight newcomers to the Marshall fans and we're excited to get the 2008-09 season rolling."

The Herd dance team, MU cheerleaders and Marco will also be on hand to entertain the crowd and will join forces for an on-floor routine together.


Tirrell Baines, shown in the Marshall-UTEP game, was named to the Second Team National All-Freshman team Monday, as selected by CollegeHoops.net. Baines will be a sophomore for the Herd in 2008-09. file photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

The Herd will play a 16-game regular season home schedule at the Henderson Center in 2008-09, beginning with a game as part of the Glenn Wilks Classic versus WVU Tech on Nov. 16. The Herd will then travel to Daytona Beach, Fla., for the other three games in the tournament, which counts as one game in the schedule. Marshall will face Morgan State, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Ole Miss in the tournament, which will take place Nov. 21-22-23. Other home games for the Herd include Old Dominion on Nov. 29, a 11:30 a.m. tip-off double-header with Marshall football, who closes the regular season that day with Tulsa at 3:30 p.m.

In the Henderson Center, the Herd will also face East Tennessee State, University of Texas-Arlington, Ohio U., the University of The Cumberlands, Tennessee State, East Carolina, SMU, UAB, Tulsa, Tulane, Rio Grande, Houston, UCF and Rice.


Marshall's Tyler Wilkerson, shown last season versus the Houston Cougars, is one of three returning starters for the Herd in 2008-09. photo courtesy of the University of Houston, www.UHCougars.com

The Herd returns five letter winners and three starters - senior forward Markel Humphrey, junior forward/center Tyler Wilkerson and sophomore forward Tirrell Baines - from last year's team, plus returnees in senior combo guard Darryl Merthie and junior guard/forward Adam Williams. Eight newcomers dot the roster, including transfers who sat out the 2007-08 season: junior three-point threat Chris Lutz (Purdue), junior guard Brandon Powell (Florida) and sophomore forward Octavius Spann (Georgetown), the brother of senior Herd receiver Emmanuel Spann.

Highly-touted freshmen include combo guard Shaquille Johnson, point guard Damier Pitts and forwards Dago Pena and Kore White, who will all perform in their first official team practice Also new this year is sophomore center Marcus Goode, who sat out due to academic reasons last season. Western Carolina transfer, and a native of Wheelersburg, Ohio, Camden Miller will practice with the team all season but is not eligible for games while sitting out this year under NCAA transfer regulations.

Marshall, 16-14 in 2007-08, posted its first winning season in seven years in Jones' first year at the helm of the Herd. Mike Kirtner of The Dawg, 93.7 FM, will be on the microphone for what will be his 15th season of working the public address for MU men's basketball. We'll see you Thursday and Saturday for your first dose of Marshall basketball; It's good for what ails you.

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