Marshall basketball: Canty’s exit leaves void at point guard
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The Marshall men’s basketball career of Kareem Canty has been prolific, but likely very short.
Canty, a freshman who led Marshall in scoring and assists this past season, won his appeal Friday before a three-member committee and was granted release from his scholarship. He has not yet announced where he intends to transfer.
“I’ve won my appeal !!!!!!!!!! I will be granted my Release,” he wrote Friday morning on Twitter, where he first announced his desire to transfer on March 14, the day Tom Herrion resigned as Thundering Herd coach.
That leaves the Herd, who remains without a head coach, also looking for another primary point guard, the second straight season Marshall has been forced to do so. DeAndre Kane, second in Conference USA at nearly seven assists per game in 2012-13, left the Herd in April 2013. He subsequently graduated from Marshall, transferred to Iowa State as a graduate student and helped the Cyclones reach the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16.
The loss of Kane was buffered by Canty, who finished this past season fifth in C-USA in scoring at 16.3 points per game and third in assists at 5.45 per game. His 538 points in 2013-14 were the second-highest freshman total in program history behind Skip Henderson’s 584 points. Canty was named to both C-USA’s all-freshman team and all-conference third team.
Canty isn’t the only all-freshman team selection to seek a scholarship release this offseason. Rice center Sean Obi, who led the conference with 9.3 rebounds per game, was granted his release in March.
While Canty soothed the pain of Kane’s departure, who will soothe the pain from Canty’s? Scoring-wise, the Herd has some contenders — fellow all-freshman team member Ryan Taylor, who averaged 12.8 points per game, and rising junior Chris Thomas, who averaged 12.7 points per game and scored in double figures in 11 of his last 13 games, averaging 15.2 points in that span.
Finding a new distributor is a tougher problem. The highest assist total last season behind Canty’s 180 was Thomas’ 58. Tamron Manning, who filled in at point guard two seasons ago when Kane broke his hand, had 45. The Herd also has an academic non-qualifier waiting in the wings, 5-foot-10 Jaylen Brantley.
Brantley, who sat out this past season after signing with Marshall out of Notre Dame Prep, averaged 16 points and five assists in prep school. If his shooting touch makes the transition from prep school to college, he also could bolster Marshall’s 3-point accuracy. He shot 44 percent from beyond the arc and 85 percent from the free throw line. Canty shot 30.4 percent from 3 while attempting 214 shots from that range, and shot 72.8 percent from the free throw line.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at email@example.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.