HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall men's basketball point guard Kareem Canty doesn't need outsiders to critique his performance in the Thundering Herd's loss at Morehead State on Sunday. He does a thorough job of it himself.
"I lost that game," he said earlier this week. "Good guards should never let a team come back from 20 points down. I've got to protect the ball more. That's all. I take full responsibility for that."
While there are 19 points and nine assists by his name on the Morehead State score sheet, Canty has his eyes on the nine turnovers, mistakes he doesn't want to happen again when the Herd (2-1) hosts Stephen F. Austin at 7 tonight.
Canty had eight turnovers in the Herd's exhibition win over Concord, but settled down in the team's first two regular season games to record 16 assists against just six turnovers. Those mistakes cropped up again, though, against Morehead, where the Herd held as much as a 21-point lead before losing it in a cloud of turnovers and personal fouls during a 102-94 overtime loss.
There's plenty to be happy with in Canty's game. His 17.3 points per game is 11th best in Conference USA, while his 8.33 assists per game leads the league and is fifth in the nation. But his 15 turnovers also are the most in C-USA, and that's the statistic that eats at him. Canty admits that, in his self-criticism, he has to do a better job of balancing looking at the good and the bad.
"That's something I work on every day, to try and not get down on myself and not be too proud of myself," he said. "I'm my biggest critic. I always talk to Coach (Tom Herrion) and he keeps it 50-50 because he knows how down I get on myself."
Herrion understands that, even though Canty is a freshman, he has lofty goals for himself and the team. And as the Herd's floor general, he wants to steer away from as many mistakes as possible.
"He wants to be a leader and he embraces the responsibility of that," Herrion said. "He also has to understand what we teach through, showing him the good things he did, not just the negative things he did and the rest of us did that contributed to the loss."
Still, Herrion appreciates that Canty will cast a critical eye at himself when he struggles. It's evidence that the young player isn't satisfied with the status quo.