www.charlestondailymail.com Sports http://www.charlestondailymail.com Daily Mail feed en-us Copyright 2014, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers WVU FOOTBALL: Michigan linebacker reportedly transferring to WVU http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219395 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219395 Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:49:19 -0500


DETROIT - The fallout from Michigan football coach Brady Hoke's firing Dec. 2 continues.

According to multiple reports, Michigan freshman linebacker Michael Ferns will transfer to West Virginia. A Michigan spokesperson Tuesday confirmed that Ferns asked for and received a release from his scholarship.

The 6-foot-3, 239-pound linebacker from St. Clairsville, Ohio, sat out this season as a true freshman.

Morgantown is 1 1/2 hours from Ferns' hometown. Ann Arbor is five hours away.

Ferns was a major factor in trying to build U-M's 2014 class, actively recruiting other players.

WVU SOCCER: Mountaineer earns honor http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219404 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219404 Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:07:40 -0500


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University women's soccer defender Kadeisha Buchanan has been named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com Best XI First Team.

The sophomore, a member of the 2014 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Continental Tire All-America First Team, earns her first career honor; she was named to the Best XI Freshman First Team in 2013. Buchanan, a Brampton, Ontario, native, has scored several postseason awards in the last month, including a spot on the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy semifinal list.

Also, freshman forward Michaela Abam was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com Best XI Freshman First Team. A Houston native, Abam, the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, played in all 22 matches this season and paced the Mountaineers in points (16), goals (8) and game-winning goals (4). Her totals ranked No. 6, No. 4 and No. 2, respectively, in the Big 12. An NSCAA All-Central Region Second Team honoree, she earned six starts and tallied two two-goal performances.

COLLEGE SOFTBALL: WVU Tech signs pair http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219405 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219405 Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:07:23 -0500


MONTGOMERY, W.Va. - WVU Tech softball head coach Amber Affholter announced the signing of Becky and Rachel Rusch. The Rusch twins will enter Tech at the start of the 2015-16 school year and be eligible for the 2015 season.

Becky Rusch will be pitching while Rachel Rusch will catch or play third base as Golden Bears. The Chesapeake, Va. natives attend Western Branch High School and played travel ball with Virginia Sting Fastpitch.

WVU GOLF: Mountaineers announce home courses http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219406 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219406 Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:02:45 -0500


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University director of athletics Oliver Luck announced Tuesday that the Mountaineer golf team will practice and, starting next season, compete at eight home courses. Lakeview Golf Course, Mountainview Golf Course, The Links at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Mystic Rock, Nemacolin Golf Academy, Pete Dye Golf Club, The Pines Country Club and the Arnold Palmer Signature Course at Stonewall Resort will serve as WVU's home courses.

The Pines Country Club in Morgantown will be a local practice and competition course for the Mountaineers.

WVU had a golf team from 1933-82 and was reinstated in 2013. The Mountaineers will begin competition in July 2015.

Coaching the Mountaineers is former Mississippi State assistant Sean Covich.

WVU BASKETBALL: Mountaineer women move up to No. 18 in USA Today Poll http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219407 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219407 Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:02:41 -0500


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - After extending its win streak to six games, the West Virginia University women's basketball team moved up two spots to No. 18 in the USA Today Sports Coaches poll released on Tuesday.

The Mountaineers picked up wins over Duquesne (79-60) and IPFW (82-48) last week. Currently, WVU's 15-game home winning streak ranks fifth in the NCAA. On Monday, WVU climbed one spot to No. 22 in the Associated Press Poll.

West Virginia earned 231 votes in the poll, just 50 behind No. 17 Georgia. Three other Big 12 programs are in the poll: No. 3 Texas, No. 9 Baylor and No. 16 Oklahoma State.

West Virginia plays Marshall in the annual Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic at 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Charleston Civic Center.

YOUTH SOCCER: St. Albans' Bane earns regional coaching award http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219408 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219408 Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:02:34 -0500


FRISCO, Texas - St. Albans resident and South Charleston Eagles coach Steven Bane was named a 2014 US Youth Soccer Recreation Coach of the Year regional award winner.

The coach of the year is awarded to a recreation coach for both a boys team and a girls team for his or her coaching activities, sportsmanship, player development, personal coaching development and citizenship.

The national awards will be announced at the US Youth Soccer Awards Gala at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 16 as part of the US Youth Soccer Workshop at the NSCAA Convention in Philadelphia.

Bane has coached the Eagles for six years.

WVU SOCCER: Three men's players earn scholar all-region http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219411 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219411 Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:57:15 -0500


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Three student-athletes from the West Virginia University men's soccer team have earned NSCAA Scholar All-East Region honors.

Senior Andy Bevin was named to the first team for the second time in his career with a 3.93 grade point average in management information systems, junior Jamie Merriam was named to the second team with a 3.32 GPA in biometric systems and junior Zak Leedom was named honorable mention with a 3.79 GPA in finance.

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Herbert Hoover tops Poca http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/DM03/141219464 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/DM03/141219464 Mon, 15 Dec 2014 22:54:22 -0500



POCA, W.Va. - Herbert Hoover forward Kari Harding celebrated her 17th birthday in a big way en route to defeating the Poca girls basketball on Monday night.

Harding, a junior, tallied a team-high 13 points and asserted her presence in the post, taking advantage of a diminutive Poca lineup. Behind Harding's effort, the Huskies prevailed with a 47-32 road victory.

"It definitely felt great, definitely," Harding said of the birthday victory. "Normally we have games on my birthday every year. It wasn't much of a surprise, but a big win like this, it definitely feels good."

Both teams lacked in size, but the 5-foot-8 Harding took advantage of the opportunity to score the bulk of her points in the paint against the smaller Poca lineup.

"I think my long arms help," Harding said. "I'm 5-8, but my wingspan is pretty long, so I can catch the rebounds a little further behind me than normal. I think that helps a lot."

In addition to her 13 points, Harding finished with eight rebounds, as the Huskies (2-1) held a 39-19 rebound advantage against Poca (2-2).

For Hoover, coach Greg Ullman said it was much welcomed to be the bigger team on the court for once.

"Size-wise, we probably match up with Poca as well as we do anybody," he said. "The rest of the year everybody is going to be taller than us, but us and Poca are similar size. Kari, she's one of those kids, she times her rebounds well and she's got long arms for her size, so she did play big inside tonight."

The Huskies manufactured a 19-0 run across the second and third quarters to build a 30-11 second-half lead behind the success of Harding and Bailey Aab. The duo accounted for all of Hoover's 22 first-half points.

After trailing by 19 to begin the fourth quarter, the Dots finally out-scored the Huskies and cut the deficit to 11, but never any closer.

"I think it boosts our confidence a lot," Harding said of the hard-fought victory. "It was definitely a team game."

In the first half, the teams battled each other with both squads working hard for each basket. With Hoover's 19-0 run, however, the Huskies created all the separation the team needed.

"The effort wasn't there tonight," Dots coach Kenny Sayre said. "The effort finally showed up the fourth quarter. Right from the get-go, I thought our effort wasn't there tonight.

"We didn't box out. Harding got some points in there and Aab got some putbacks and fouls and stuff. We weren't boxing out very well the first half."

The teams locked in a tie at 11-11 early in the second quarter, as Poca guard Casey Skeens quickly scored her first two baskets of the night. Skeens' second bucket marked the final made field goal of the first half for the Dots, as the Huskies defense held Poca scoreless for the final 7:08 of the second quarter. The Dots' drought extended to the third quarter before McKenzie Ball ended the 9:06 scoreless streak with a 3-pointer.

Poca's Aubrey Chandler led all scorers with 14 points, and added five rebounds and four steals.

Hoover next plays host to Buffalo 7:30 p.m. Friday, while the Dots visit Chapmanville 7 p.m. Wednesday.

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Freshman McDaniels leads St. Albans http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/DM03/141219465 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/DM03/141219465 Mon, 15 Dec 2014 22:51:41 -0500 By Michael Dailey CHARLESTON, W.Va. - St. Albans freshman point guard Jaden McDaniels was at it again on Monday evening.

After opening her varsity high school career with 19 points in the Red Dragons' season opener, the 5-foot-4 McDaniels was even better in game two.

McDaniels scored a game-high 24 points while directing the Red Dragons' offense in leading St. Albans to an easy 62-29 road win over Capital.

St. Albans, ranked 10th in the Associated Press Class AAA Preseason Poll, improved to 2-0, while Capital dropped to 0-3.

McDaniels got the Red Dragons started early when she took the opening tip from senior Breanna Propst and drove to the basket for a 2-0 lead just four seconds into the game.

It was a lead St. Albans would never relinquish.

"We got another great performance out of the freshman tonight," SA coach Scott James said. "She turns a lot of defense into offense and that's her style of play. She wants to be aggressive and that brings another facet to our team that we really haven't had in the past."

Against the Cougars, McDaniels connected on 6-of-12 field goal attempts, and connected on 11-of-13 from the foul line.

"I try to push the ball up the floor because it makes things easier," McDaniels said. "You get easier baskets and you can draw fouls.

"I have a great team around me. All I have to be is confident and they will help me get through the game."

St. Albans was also strong defensively, allowing double-digit points in just one quarter, while limiting the Cougars to only 12 second-half points.

The effort was even more impressive given that the Red Dragons were without Lexi Cooper, the Daily Mail Kanawha Valley Defensive Player of the Year last season.

Cooper missed the first of two games after being ejected from the Red Dragons' season-opening win over Riverside.

"Overall I thought it was a great defensive team effort," James said. "To hold a team with the athletes the caliber that Capital has to 20-something points, that is a great defensive effort."

Capital hit just 13-of-49 field goal attempts and just 1-of-12 3-point tries.

"It's just growing pains, but they'll catch on," said first-year Capital coach Ahmed Witten. "We just need to keep teaching them in practice. This is brand new to them, so we need to teach them and they need to execute." Propst added 16 points for St. Albans on 4-of-9 shooting from the field, and 8-of-8 from the foul line.

Capital was led by Alex Gray's six points, while Dashia Foster and Jertaya Hall added five points apiece.

While happy with this team's start, James knows there's still plenty more to work on for the Red Dragons.

"We have to get better in our half court set," James said. "There's going to be times when we have to be more patient, but it's still early. I'm tickled to death for where we are right now, but my firmest belief is the biggest room in the house is the room for improvement. "Right now I like the way we're pushing the ball and we're being very aggressive offensively and defensively. We're more aggressive than we have been in the past."

BOYS BASKETBALL: Knapper, Grier lead South Charleston rout http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/DM03/141219466 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/DM03/141219466 Mon, 15 Dec 2014 22:50:51 -0500 By Chris Wade CHARLESTON, W.Va. - South Charleston quarterback Kentre Grier and the rest of his Black Eagle teammates had a lot on their minds on the long bus ride home from Wheeling nine days ago after losing in the Class AAA state football championship game to rival Capital.

Despite the heartbreak for Grier and five of his football teammates, their thoughts quickly had to turn to basketball as the Black Eagles elected to practice on Saturday night in order to get everyone eligible with enough practices.

In a quick turnaround, SC took the court for the first time in their season opener Monday night, and looked impressive in disposing of Shady Spring 90-49 at the South Charleston Community Center.

The dedication was not lost on Black Eagle coach Vic Herbert, who indicated the team wanted to practice to avoid the likelihood of having their season opener on Monday postponed to a later date.

"That was very impressive," Herbert said. "They showed up at 9:30 p.m. that night ready to go. We have two in the top eight. They all couldn't wait to get started. That says a whole lot about them to be that down after the championship game and coming to practice like that."

Herbert knows it will take the Black Eagles a little time to get acclimated with a limited amount of practices as well as the fact that Grier and Brandon Knapper are the only two players back with varsity experience.

"Kentre and Brandon is all I had out there with 7:30 lights minutes," Herbert said. "They have been through the wars. I told the kids to follow their lead and they will get to you to the finish line, and that is what they did."

Knapper, a first team All-State selection last year and West Virginia University commit, led the way with 26 points and four steals while Grier added 11 points and six rebounds.

While Herbert knows what he is going to get out of Knapper and Grier, he was very pleased with his contributions elsewhere. All 11 Black Eagle players that got into the game scored, and Shaiyan Mabre had 14 points, seven rebounds, and four steals.

"For a first game, we executed about as well as you can with a bunch of inexperience," Herbert said. "We went deep into the bench and everyone contributed and scored. Everyone is happy, and we are happy. It is a great win for us to start off with.

"Mabry is a man. He is going to be pretty good this year and surprise a lot of people. He hasn't played but is getting his chance. I didn't see anybody out there that was shook up or nervous about a first game. We are a project but can be pretty good as the season goes along."

Grier, a first team All-State quarterback for SC, admitted the first practice was a little difficult, especially with what happened in the championship game earlier in the day, losing to Capital 55-15, but is happy to be back on the court for the Black Eagles.

"After the state championship, it was emotional but I love basketball just as much as I do football," Grier said. "I knew I had to practice so I could play in the first game for us. I am happy to be out there. Basketball means a lot to us."

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: W.Va. State men fall at Bowie State http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/DM03/141219467 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/DM03/141219467 Mon, 15 Dec 2014 22:31:23 -0500


BOWIE, Md. - Bowie State opened by capitalizing on the first of 19 West Virginia State turnovers with a 3-pointer and scored 14 of the game's first 16 points in earning a 73-58 men's basketball victory at the Bulldogs' A.C. Jordan Arena on Monday night.

The Yellow Jackets (1-7) were outscored 14-2 to start and didn't get any closer than nine the rest of the way against their foe from the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

Cam Knox had 23 points to lead four double-figure scorers for the Bulldogs (7-4), while Andre Jackson added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Steve Wing's 13 points led State, but he was also 1-6 from the foul line, where the Yellow Jackets were a woeful 13-32.

State will remain in the area on Tuesday when it heads 17 miles west to face Washington Adventist at 7 p.m.

WVU FOOTBALL: White added to Senior Bowl roster http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/DM03/141219468 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/DM03/141219468 Mon, 15 Dec 2014 22:31:08 -0500


MOBILE, Ala. - West Virginia University wide receiver Kevin White is among the 12 players recently added to the roster for the Senior Bowl, set for 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 24 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

The total number of players invited to the Senior Bowl is 110 for the North and South squads.

White, a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award - given to the nation's top wide receiver - has 102 receptions for 1,318 yards and nine touchdowns this season.

"After transferring from junior college, (White) has blossomed into an All-American level player who projects well to the next level," said Phil Savage, the Senior Bowl executive director. "At 6-foot-3, he can elevate for the football, yet has the speed to run past people, too."

Joining White as the latest invitees is LSU offensive lineman La'el Collins, Florida State tight end Nick O'Leary, Missouri defensive end Markus Golden, Central Florida safety Clayton Geathers, Ohio State cornerback Doran Grant, Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson, Ohio State tight end Jeff Heuerman, Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett, Louisiana-Monroe placekicker and punter Justin Manton and Louisiana State fullback Connor Neighbors.

Senior Bowl practices begin on Tuesday, Jan. 20 with all of the practices and the game being televised by NFL Network.

Derek Redd: Haig reflects on a special season http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/DM03/141219470 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/DM03/141219470 Mon, 15 Dec 2014 22:15:21 -0500 By Derek Redd Marshall kicker Justin Haig and the rest of his special teams brethren get most of their work done at the start of practice, so they often have time to hang back and watch the rest of the Thundering Herd football team do its work.

It is in those moments that he realizes exactly what he's been able to take part in this season.

"Every day, I try to appreciate it," Haig said. "Every day. Once I'm done kicking, we'll sit back and throw the ball around and all the kickers will talk. And we'll all say, 'Wow, this is a special team.'"

How unique has this season been? Wrap your mind around the facts below.

The leader in career passes, completions, passing yards and touchdowns in Marshall history, Rakeem Cato, broke those records this season by throwing to the man who, barring catastrophe, will become Marshall's career leader in receptions, Tommy Shuler.

All that was done while, at the same time, Marshall's running back, Devon Johnson, was putting together what is, as of now, the fourth-best rushing season in team history. And that happened while he carried the ball a total of seven times over three games.

Haig himself should break at least one record in the Dec. 23 Boca Raton Bowl against Mid-American Conference champion Northern Illinois. He's one point away from tying kicker Tim Openlander's career record of 336 points. He's seven points behind Openlander's single-season mark of 130 points.

Marshall has gained more yards of total offense this season than any other in team history. The Herd broke a record in 13 games that was set in 1996 in 15 games.

The Herd leads Conference USA in scoring offense and scoring defense. The list of teams which has accomplished that in conference history? The 2004 Louisville team that finished sixth in the Associated Press top 25 and this Marshall team. The 2014 Herd has beaten teams by an average of 24.3 points.

Sixteen Marshall football players earned some type of all-conference recognition - first team, second team or honorable mention. No team in conference history has more first-team members, nor does any team in conference history have more first- and second-team members. The Herd boasts the conference's offensive player of the year, defensive player of the year and coach of the year.

This Herd team is just the seventh to win at least 12 games in a Marshall football history that dates to 1895. If Marshall can beat the Huskies in the Boca Raton Bowl, it will become one of just three teams in Herd history to win at least 13 games.

All of those milestones were reached by one roster.

Defensive lineman James Rouse has seen six rosters in his Marshall career. He's seen teams where the offense struggled and the defense dominated. He's seen teams where the defense struggled and the offense was a juggernaut.

"It's crazy how it just hasn't clicked before," Rouse said. "But this year, it's just clicked where both offense and defense are always with each other and playing lights-out football."

Marshall coach Doc Holliday has said that the magnitude of this season likely won't hit these players until years from now, when their hairlines may have marched backwards a few inches, their waistlines have expanded another few inches and they're tugging a gaggle of children along with them.

But it might not hurt for Marshall's players, during a few seconds of rest during bowl preparation, to reflect on just what they've been able to accomplish. As Haig can tell you, it's pretty fun.

MARSHALL BASKETBALL: Herd tries to rebound vs. King http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/DM03/141219471 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/DM03/141219471 Mon, 15 Dec 2014 22:14:19 -0500 By Derek Redd HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - For the second consecutive game, Marshall's men's basketball team played another strong opponent tough down the stretch. The Thundering Herd led No. 22 West Virginia by eight in the second half before succumbing to the Mountaineers, 69-66.

That came off the heels of Marshall's down-to-the-wire night against Penn State, where the Herd cut the Nittany Lions' lead to one point before falling 73-69. Marshall's players can learn from those setbacks, but Marshall coach Dan D'Antoni said what he learned was the Herd still hasn't figured out how to pull out a win.

Marshall (3-6) has lost its last six, and D'Antoni said close losses get no special treatment in a record book.

"Ws are what catches on," he said. "You do start getting a swagger to you. If we could just get over the hump, I think we'll get a rhythm and that comes with Ws."

The Herd's next chance to climb over that hump comes at 7 p.m. Tuesday when Marshall hosts Division II King University at the Cam Henderson Center.

That game will be Marshall's last in Huntington until Jan. 8. That night, the Herd's home Conference USA opener against Old Dominion will break a streak of four road games that sends the team from Arkansas to Nevada to Ohio to Kentucky.

Sunday's Capital Classic loss to the Mountaineers was evidence the players have been able to evolve, sophomore guard Austin Loop said. In games past, a pressure defense would have shut down the Herd. West Virginia's press still forced 24 Herd turnovers, but Marshall was able to break through at points and convert when it had the chance. Marshall shot 50 percent from the floor Sunday.

"Eight games ago, we would not have been able to handle that press like that," Loop said. "Every game, we are taking steps in the right direction, and we're getting better every game."

D'Antoni said Marshall has improved in nearly every aspect since he took the reins from the departed Tom Herrion. The Herd is moving the ball better and 3-pointers are starting to fall. Marshall made 9 of 24 from beyond the arc Sunday.

Still, D'Antoni felt the ball movement could have been better, and improving that simply will take time, practice and eliminating old habits.

"They're used to catching and holding, because that's what they've done," he said. "But the game isn't played like that anymore. The things I used to teach in the '70s and '80s, you can't do anymore. We've got to learn to free ourselves from that, get the ball moving and take shots that are available."

King (6-2) had won five straight games before losing Saturday to the University of South Carolina Aiken, 88-87, in overtime. The Bristol, Tenn.-based Tornado has just one player listed taller than 6-foot-6, 6-9 redshirt freshman center Jonathan King who has averaged four minutes a game this year.

Senior forward Logan Lyle and junior forward Malcolm St. Louis shoulder King's scoring load. Lyle averages 15.4 points per game while St. Louis averages 15.0 points and leads the team with 10 rebounds a game.

Marshall redshirt junior guard Justin Edmonds, who led all scorers Sunday with 18 points, said there was plenty to take from recent losses and apply to the future.

"There's always room for improvement," Edmonds said. "That's what coach stresses - sharper cuts, sharper passes, better decisions. I think we can look back at this (West Virginia) game, learn a lot from it, learn from our mistakes and take it on to the next game."

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.

BOYS BASKETBALL: Capital gets a late start on hoops http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/DM03/141219473 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/DM03/141219473 Mon, 15 Dec 2014 21:59:26 -0500 By Michael Dailey CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Carl Clark, the Capital High fan, was happy to see the Cougars' football team steamroll its way through the Class AAA football playoffs, culminating in a state championship earlier this month.

But for Carl Clark the Capital High School boys basketball coach, the Cougars' deep playoff run placed a nearly three-week-long damper on the beginning of the season.

With nearly every varsity basketball contributor also a member of the football team, the Cougars' basketball staff spent the first three weeks of preseason practice working primarily with junior varsity players.

That extra time spent with the younger players in the program may pay dividends down the road, but will do little to help the Cougars tonight when they begin the regular season by hosting defending Class AAA runner-up Hurricane.

Clark, who has guided the Cougars to the state championship game from 1999-2000 with titles in 2000 and 2001, knows his team will be a work in progress.

"They've only been here for about a week," said Clark of the Cougars' football players. "We're starting off with the runners-up in the state last year and then we go to a tournament in Bluefield and Bluefield is always one of the top Class AA teams, so it's going to be a tough start.

"It's just a matter of how quickly we can get the kids to gel after coming in from football. If we can play hard enough and play aggressive enough defensively, we may have a chance to win some of those tough early games. We practiced three weeks without any of the football players, so of course, we're going to be a little bit behind."

The top returning player for the Cougars will be 6-foot-4 senior point guard Jordan Kinney, who returns for his third season as a starter.

The Class AAA football championship game's Most Valuable Player, Kinney averaged 13.1 points per contest as a junior and will be counted on to provide leadership on the court and in the locker room.

"He was our point guard last year and this is his third year as a starter, so we will have to depend a lot on him to lead our team," Clark said. "He's a good kid that can get the job done for us."

Senior Tyrell Davis (5-7) also joins the basketball team, where his competitiveness and athleticism will help the Cougars, especially on the defensive end of the court.

Juniors Bryce Goldsmith (6-4) and Miguel Bays (6-0) also returned to the basketball team when the football season concluded, as did lightning-quick sophomore guard Silas Nazario (5-8).

There were also a few surprises for Clark, with junior Tyhree Pratt (6-2) and sophomores Turan Rush (6-0) and Dorian Etheridge (6-3) joining the basketball team after having not played in 2013-14.

"We had kids come out that did not play last year," Clark said. "Those kids are good athletes, but they're pretty good basketball players too. We had all the kids that played last year come back this year except for one player and, when you add the new kids, we have about 25 to 30 kids in the program."

The Cougars will need to find additional scoring to replace the 20 points per game lost because of the graduation of Carrington Morris.

"We're going to have someone to pick up Carrington's scoring and we have to be able to stop people. You need every aspect of the game to be good, so we're going to have to build consistency."

Musselman's Glover wins Fulton Walker Award http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/WH01/141219534 WH01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/WH01/141219534 Mon, 15 Dec 2014 16:03:10 -0500



INWOOD, W.Va. - Deonte Glover's biggest return of the season came neither on a punt nor a kickoff - his specialties.

Rather, the Musselman senior scooped up a fumble late in a tied game against Morgantown and raced in the other direction, returning the fumble for a 73-yard score with 24 seconds left to give the Applemen a 27-20 victory.

Obviously, Glover knows how to return the football.

He made it kind of an art form for Musselman, as Morgantown discovered none too kindly.

Glover also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in that victory over the Mohigans.

He returned four kickoffs for touchdowns this season and returned a punt for a touchdown as well.

Glover averaged 46.8 yards per kickoff return and 23.1 on punts. He also punted.

As a result of his performance in the return game, Glover is being named as the Fulton Walker Award, given to the state's top special teams player as voted on by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

Walker, who played high school football at Martinsburg and college ball at West Virginia, became the first player to return a kickoff for a touchdown in a Super Bowl. He went 98 yards for Miami in a 27-17 loss to Washington in Super Bowl XVII. He set several records in that game and held a mark for total punt return yardage in a season for 11 years.

It is the first of six new football honors that will be announced this week by the WVSWA.

"These six new awards help to recognize more of the top athletes in the state," said all-state football committee chairman Chris Johnson of The Exponent-Telegram of Clarksburg. "Anytime we can do something like that, it's a worthwhile change."

Pretty much, Glover did everything for his team. There might not have been another player as valuable to his team as Glover, who lately has been receiving interest from lower-Division I teams.

"It would be hard to find someone who was more valuable," Musselman coach Brian Thomas said. "It really would be."

A first-team All-State running back, Glover led Musselman in rushing and receiving, accounting for 1,817 yards from scrimmage. In all-purpose yardage, he managed 2,588 yards.

In comparison, the rest of the team stood at 1,843 yards from scrimmage and 2,036 in all-purpose yardage for the rest of the players on Musselman, which at 6-4 finished one place out of the postseason.

"There's a lot of people who said to me, 'How do you replace him; what do you do to fill those big shoes?'" Thomas said. "I don't have an answer."

A finish for Glover usually landed him in the end zone. He scored 29 touchdowns.

Success, particularly in the return game, in Glover's eyes is based on vision.

"I just go full speed ahead and also keep my eyes on a swivel to see if there's any other openings," he said. "If there is, I take it and go."

For the triumphs, though, there are the opportunities that never arrive. Teams often kick away from the top return threat, limiting a standout's chances for a runback.

"It's pretty frustrating," Glover said, then added, "but most of the time, they kick it out of bounds, so it gives us good field position."

Morgantown gave Glover ample opportunities for returns.

The Mohigans sent the second-half kickoff his way, and Glover took it back for a touchdown. After scoring, Morgantown kicked to Glover again, and once more, he returned the football for a touchdown.

Finally, there was the fumble-recovery return.

Three returns by Glover for all three of Musselman's touchdowns, the last a game-winner.

"That was probably the best feeling I've had playing a game," he said.

His departure leaves Musselman with a huge void.

"You're going to be hard-pressed in future years to find anybody in the state with a return game like that," Thomas said.

CAPITAL CLASSIC: No. 22 WVU edges Marshall, 69-66 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141214/DM03/141219582 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141214/DM03/141219582 Sun, 14 Dec 2014 21:55:05 -0500 By Derek Redd CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia University's pressure defense carried the team to victory once again.

After falling behind by eight in the second half Sunday versus Marshall University, the Mountaineers blanketed the Thundering Herd and erased that lead almost exclusively from the free-throw line. WVU took the lead to stay with 2:17 left and withstood one final 3-point heave by J.P. Kambola to escape the Capital Classic with a 69-66 win at the Charleston Civic Center.

"Our team is built on pressure," WVU guard Juwan Staten said. "When we see one steal, it's going to get us more pumped. If we see two steals, we'll get even more pumped. The more we're able turn guys over and the more we see them struggle with our press is typically when we start to turn it up."

The No. 22 Mountaineers (9-1) scored 33 points off the Thundering Herd's 24 turnovers. Four of those turnovers came in a crucial span of three minutes. Marshall guard Austin Loop had just drained a 3-pointer in the corner to give the Herd (3-6) its biggest lead of the game at 49-41. But defense and free-throw shooting brought WVU even again.

Loop felt that, for most of that three minutes, the ball barely got to the Herd's side of the floor. He was right. West Virginia took 10 free throws in that span, making six. When the Mountaineers made the second of two, they were able to pressure the inbounds pass. When they missed, they often created enough chaos on the rebound to maintain possession.

"We've got to get better with the ball," Marshall coach Dan D'Antoni said. "We're not strong and our players hesitate, still, a little bit. It's been a problem we've had all year. And, of course, when you get into really tough situations, you sort of revert back to the way you were."

The fourth Marshall turnover of that three minutes, a Gary Browne steal, gave Browne the opening to hit a jumper and tie the game at 49-49. It was Brown's comeback to engineer, as senior guard Juwan Staten, the preseason Big 12 player of the year, spent a shade over seven minutes on the bench after Marshall took that eight-point lead.

In that seven minutes, Browne had two steals, hit that game-tying jumper and went 3 for 4 from the free-throw line. WVU coach Bob Huggins said Browne earned that playing time through his work before and during practice in trying to pull himself out of a slump.

In the Mountaineers' previous four games, he had made just one of 11 shots. Against Marshall, he went 3 for 6 from the floor for a season-high 10 points.

"I thought Gary played well," Huggins said. "I thought Gary was the difference in the game. I told them from day one, that everybody's going to get a chance, but I've gotta play the guys I think are playing the best at that particular time, and that's what I did."

Browne, a senior who twice was voted a team captain despite starting just 15 games in his WVU career, said he's always been willing to fill the roles requested of him.

"Like Coach said, I might not be a great shooter. I might not be a great passer. I might not be a great whatever, but like he says, I make winning plays. Since I've been here freshman year, I've been making big plays."

The Herd, who has lost six straight, put another scare into West Virginia in the final minute thanks to five late points from guard Justin Edmonds. Edmonds, a redshirt junior making his second career start, hit a pair of free throws with 1:14 left, then drilled a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left to cut West Virginia's lead to 67-66.

Edmonds led all scorers with 18 points, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range, to win MVP honors for Marshall. He added six rebounds, six assists, a block and a steal.

Staten hit a pair of free throws to give WVU a 69-66 lead with seven seconds left, then Kambola's 3-pointer fell short as time ran out.

"I learned we still don't know exactly how to win a game," D'Antoni said. "I think we had some opportunities ... We've got to be better and make sure we don't make those mistakes."

Despite entering Sunday's game in a slump, the Herd hung tough with the nationally ranked Mountaineers. Marshall led for 16 minutes, 44 seconds of that game, with WVU leading for 17 minutes, 22 seconds. The game was tied for 5:47. Marshall shot 19 of 38 from the floor (50 percent), while WVU shot 22 for 57 (38.6 percent).

It was another foul-filled affair, with a total of 56 whistled on both teams - 30 on Marshall and 26 on WVU. Marshall made 19 of 25 from the line (76 percent), and WVU made 22 of 34 (64.7 percent).

Jevon Carter won MVP honors for WVU, scoring 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting with six rebounds. Staten led WVU with 15 points with three assists and two rebounds, and Jonathan Holton added 14 points and six rebounds. Loop scored 13 points, hitting 3 of 6 3-pointers, while Ryan Taylor added 11 points.

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.

Chuck McGill: New players, new coach, same Classic feel http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141214/DM03/141219583 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141214/DM03/141219583 Sun, 14 Dec 2014 21:47:25 -0500 CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Legendary Charleston and West Virginia University basketball player "Hot" Rod Hundley was in the Charleston Civic Center on Sunday afternoon.

He was the ultimate hoops showman. He had pizazz. He could sky-hook his way to a win on the court and at the turnstiles.

This year's Capital Classic, like so many before it, had more plod than Rod. The WVU men's hoops team, 17.5-point favorites, survived a suspenseful finish when J.P. Kambola's last-moment 3-pointer caromed off the front of the rim to give the Mountaineers a 69-66 win over Marshall, WVU's fourth consecutive victory in the intra-state series. Attendance dropped for the fourth consecutive year, too, with a crowd of 10,749. That is the smallest turnout for the Classic since Jan. 27, 1999 (9,132).

The teams combined for 41 field goals, 56 personal fouls and 39 turnovers. They combined for 10 points at the foul line in the first half, 31 in the second.

It was a grueling, grinding finish - which has been the norm when these two teams tangle.

"There was so many stoppages in play that there was a lot of time to rest," WVU coach Bob Huggins said afterward.

That gave his No. 22 Mountaineers a jolt down the stretch. The Herd frittered away all of its 49-41 lead with 11:28 left of the second half as Marshall racked up fouls and WVU erased the deficit at the foul line and with its unrelenting coast-to-coast pressure.

During a span of 3:08 when the Mountaineers outscored the Herd 8-0, Marshall committed five fouls, turned it over four times and missed a layup and open 3-pointer. West Virginia made 6 of 10 free throws and then Gary Browne hit a game-tying pull-up jump shot from the top of the key to make it 49-49.

"We went up 8 and put them at the foul the next 15 trips, it seemed like," D'Antoni said. "They weren't scoring anywhere else."

The Mountaineers scored 17 of their final 28 points from the foul line, flipping an 8-point deficit into a 3-point win. They only made five field goals in the final 13 minutes.

"They were having a hard time scoring on us," D'Antoni said.

It didn't matter.

WVU nearly missed as many field-goal attempts (35) as Marshall attempted (38) overall. Huggins lamented his defense, but the Mountaineers forced the Herd into 24 turnovers. That's the most turnovers by Marshall in a Classic game since Feb. 17, 1993, when Dwight Freeman coached Marshall and Gale Catlett was at WVU. There were a combined 47 fouls in that 72-65 WVU win.

"They made some bad decisions," Huggins said of Marshall's backcourt against the WVU full-court pressure. "Didn't they throw two away when they were trying to throw it the length of the floor? That's a tough pass."

The players change. The coaches change. The style of the game does not change. Only nine of the 21 players who logged minutes Sunday afternoon played in last year's game, but the dozen newcomers played like they'd been there.

Maybe the addition of D'Antoni to the game will keep this matchup entertaining. WVU had won the previous three meetings by double figures, an average of 12.0 points per victory.

Yet when the final buzzer sounded Sunday, the Herd's Justin Edmonds dropped to the court and pounded his fist on the hardwood. Edmonds' teammate, Cheikh Sane, sprawled in the paint, face down and motionless. WVU's Gary Browne sprinted to the other end of the court and spiked the ball before celebrating with his teammates.

The gate didn't show people cared for a mid-December matchup on a Sunday afternoon, but whenever this game is played, the student-athletes show their passion.

"Fans got their money's worth," D'Antoni said. "The ones who didn't buy a ticket ... should."

West Virginia has won eight of nine in the series, and its program is 9-1 this season and nationally ranked. Marshall is 3-6 with six consecutive losses on the ledger. That skid will likely end Tuesday when the Herd hosts Division II King at the Henderson Center, but it'll take more than that to convince Marshall's first-year head coach his team is ready for what it almost pulled off here Sunday.

"Moral victories have got to stop," D'Antoni said. "We've got to start putting W's in the column."

CAPITAL CLASSIC: D'Antoni wants alternating sites for WVU-Marshall game http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141214/DM03/141219584 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141214/DM03/141219584 Sun, 14 Dec 2014 21:46:55 -0500 By Tom Bragg CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Dan D'Antoni waited a long time to get his first shot at West Virginia University.

The Mullens native and former Thundering Herd standout never got the chance to take on the Mountaineers during his four seasons in Huntington, so Sunday's Capital Classic was the first opportunity for the West Virginia boy, now the Herd's coach, to get a crack at MU's in-state rival.

West Virginia won the game, 69-66, in front of a less-than-full Charleston Civic Center crowd. Marshall has not won a game in the series since 2011, but that does not mean the first-year coach wants to explore other options when scheduling. In fact, if D'Antoni had it his way West Virginia and Marshall would play each other twice each season.

"I heard suggestions for home and home. Here's my suggestion: Morgantown, Charleston. Next year Charleston, Huntington and just keep it that way," he said. "It's good for the state. If they back out now they're afraid of us. We're coming back."

West Virginia and Marshall have played 42 times dating to Jan 16, 1929 in Morgantown. The series found a home in Charleston in 1992 and has been played at the Civic Center since. The teams met 17 times in either Morgantown or Huntington prior to 1992. In those games home court has meant a lot. WVU owns an 11-1 record against Marshall in Morgantown, but has never won in Huntington with the Herd taking all five games. Marshall's first win in the series was the only road win for either team - a 76-73 victory against a Gale Catlett-coached Mountaineers' team on Dec 6, 1980.

* * *

VETERANS OF previous Capital Classics likely noted the low attendance at the Civic Center to see the Herd and Mountaineers.

Sunday's announced attendance was 10,749 - the lowest for the Classic since 9,132 people saw West Virginia take an 85-84 win in 1999. The figure had not dipped below 11,000 in the 15 years since prior to Sunday. "Fans got their money's worth," D'Antoni said. "The ones that didn't buy a ticket should have. You saw two teams fight extremely hard."

Only four games between the two teams have had lower attendance since 1992 - Jan. 19, 1994 (6,805), the previously mentioned 1999 game, Dec. 17, 1996 (9, 532) and Jan 18, 1996 (10,410). The Civic Center can hold up to 12,337 for basketball.

* * *

FORMER WYOMING East standout Brett Bowling made his Capital Classic debut for Marshall and, in doing so, became just the latest former Mountain State prep player to reach the state's biggest game.

Bowling played three minutes and did not score. West Virginia's Nathan Adrian, a former Morgantown High standout, saw action in his second Classic. Adrian played 29 minutes, scoring three points while going 1 of three from the field and 1 of 2 at the foul line. He also grabbed four rebounds and had four assists.

* * *

THERE WERE other former prep standouts from West Virginia on hand for Sunday's game.

Former Charleston High and WVU player Rod Hundley, former Woodrow Wilson and Marshall player Tamar Slay and former Charleston High and University of North Carolina standout Nemo Nearman were recognized on the court during a timeout in the first half. Hundley has been in Charleston for several days as part of the Charleston Family YMCA naming its gymnasium in his honor. Slay recently retired from an 11-year professional basketball career that included a trip to the 2003 NBA Finals, where Slay's New Jersey Nets lost to the San Antonio Spurs.

Nearman was a standout at Charleston High and a four-year starter and captain at UNC, where he played from 1946-50.

Contact sportswriter Tom Bragg at tom.bragg@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4871. Follow him on Twitter @TomBraggSports.

MARSHALL FOOTBALL: Indoor facility pays off for Boca Raton Bowl prep http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141214/DM03/141219605 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141214/DM03/141219605 Sun, 14 Dec 2014 18:08:45 -0500 By Derek Redd HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - It never used to be anywhere remotely easy for the Marshall football team to simulate Florida weather for a December bowl practice, a luxury the Thundering Herd would have loved in getting ready for the 2011 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg.

But this December, thanks to the Herd's new multimillion-dollar indoor practice facility, the preparation for the team's Dec. 23 Boca Raton Bowl matchup against Northern Illinois (11-2) can feel a little more like what Marshall can expect in the Sunshine State.

The forecast for the next 10 days in Boca Raton, Fla., has the highs in the 70s and the lows in the 50s. Meanwhile, the Herd (12-1) will be lucky if the high temperatures in Huntington climb into the 50s for the next week. The indoor facility, however, stays at 62 degrees.

"It's huge," Marshall coach Doc Holliday said. "And the other thing is, too, is that you don't know what this weather's going to do. Weather is no longer an issue as far as practice goes. We just set the time and day and just go."

The Herd won't spend all its bowl practices indoors. When the team heads to Florida, it will practice outside at St. Andrew's School in Boca Raton, so the Herd will see whatever elements it may face when it takes on the Huskies at FAU Stadium.

Linebacker Neville Hewitt said the team's new digs also offer a psychological boost in getting ready for the bowl. Players don't have to trudge out into frigid weather to prepare. For last season's Military Bowl in Annapolis, Md., it actually gave Marshall a good idea of the weather it would experience, but Hewitt said that still didn't make it feel any better.

"Last year, bowl practice, it was miserable," Hewitt said. "It was cold. It was difficult to get your mind right to go hard, but we got it done. Now we've got this (facility), and this is great. We can really get work done. You have no excuse. You should be able to go."

Holliday said that if Marshall gets nice weather for a practice, the Herd might take it outside, but the warmest it's scheduled to get is 52 degrees on Tuesday with a 40-percent chance of rain.

* * *

MARSHALL'S COACHES aren't just using these bowl-prep practices with an eye toward the game. They're also using them with an eye toward the offseason, spring practice and beyond.

Holliday said there will be designated developmental periods every day. Most of Marshall's Friday practice was used for that purpose. Players in pads that day were ones the coaches wanted to get some work in, while the veterans were able to dial back. That strategy changed starting Sunday, when the team began more traditional game preparation, but younger players and those further down the depth chart still got plenty of practice time.

Marshall has 13 seniors in its two-deep, so getting a closer look at younger players is crucial. The performances of December might give coaches an idea of which less-experienced players can fill the depth chart.

Holliday said those observations can make a difference on National Signing Day.

"What that does is it helps you make decisions as far as recruiting, too," he said. "There'll be three or four kids out here where we can say he's going to be good enough to help us, so it'll help us make some decisions as far as recruiting goes."

Linebackers coach Adam Fuller said those developmental periods will do as much to help the players as it will the coaches' evaluations. Players who spent the season on scout teams, running other teams' formations to prepare the first- and second-stringers, now get to run Marshall's offenses and defenses. It can help rekindle their love for the game.

"It gives them life," Fuller said. "Today, (Maryland transfer) Shawn Petty took 20 snaps for us. He's going back and, for the first time this year, is going back and saying, 'I did some things right, I did some things wrong.' And tomorrow, he's probably going to have a better workout in the weight room because of it. It's energized him."

* * *

THE TEAM handed out several awards at its annual banquet Saturday night, including several most valuable player awards. Special teams MVP went to kicker Justin Haig, while defensive MVP went to Hewitt, offensive MVP went to running back Devon Johnson and overall team MVP went to quarterback Rakeem Cato.

The six permanent captains, as voted by the players, also were announced. Those six will serve as captains for the Boca Raton Bowl. Along with Cato and Hewitt will be receiver Tommy Shuler, center Chris Jasperse, defensive lineman James Rouse and corner Darryl Roberts. All six were named all-Conference USA first-team members.

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.