HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- D.D. Scarver and Elijah Pittman are more than ready for the big time.
After starring at the junior college level, the duo makes its official jump into Division I basketball when Marshall opens its regular season at 7:30 p.m. today at the Cam Henderson Center against Longwood.
The two were among the top 25 junior college prospects in America, according to JucoRecruting.com. Pittman, a 6-foot-9, 219-pound forward from Lamar State College-Port Arthur, was 21st. Scarver, a 6-foot-4, 202-pound swingman from Trinity Valley Community College, was 23rd.
Marshall Coach Tom Herrion said the two should immediately make a difference on offense. They showed that potential in the Herd's lone exhibition game versus Bluefield College. Pittman led all scorers with 23 points, while Scarver added 18, including a pair of 3-pointers.
"They both have the ability to make shots," Herrion said. "They have a knack for scoring. That's something that, sometimes, you can't teach. They're athletic and very competitive young men."
But Pittman said he wants to be more than just a scorer. He wants to reinforce Marshall's defense above everything else.
The Herd should welcome that determination. Despite a 21-14 record and an NIT berth last season, Marshall was next to last in Conference USA allowing 68.1 points per game and last in C-USA allowing opponents to shoot 45 percent from the floor.
"I want this to be a shutout team, so teams are like, 'They can score, but they're defense first,'" Pittman said. "If I can do that, I know there are 13 other guys who can do that, too."
Where the duo will make their initial contributions, be it from the bench or the starting lineup, remains to be seen.