May 30, 2013
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON – One of the echoing refrains about major college basketball in West Virginia is that not enough scholarship players from the Mountain State are on the team rosters.
Well, Marshall has one, and Coach Tom Herrion says sophomore forward TyQuane Goard is a welcome addition … but not just because the 6-foot-8 Goard helped Charleston’s George Washington High to a Class AAA State Tournament championship in 2011.
Goard is one of the Thundering Herd newcomers, in a way. He sat out game competition last season after transferring from Ohio University, where he played in 29 games (7.2 minutes per game) for the Bobcats’ 2012 NCAA Sweet Sixteen team.
He practiced with the Herd last season, and he and Herrion figure that gives Goard a step ahead on a roster that’s being retooled.
“He benefitted, obviously, from having a season of practice with us,” Herrion said recently. “TyQuane is a high-motor, high-energy guy. He’s got to get bigger (210 pounds), put on more weight, but he’s a guy who’s really smart at both ends of the floor.”
Goard, 20, already went through what some of his erstwhile MU teammates have this offseason, and knows that transfers are just a reality in major college hoops. There have been about 450 of them this year, already a similar number to a year ago, when Goard made his move.
“I feel like it’s an advantage to me because I’ve been here, and even though I couldn’t play, I know the system and the coaches and when somebody leaves it creates an opportunity,” Goard said. “You wish everybody that has left hadn’t left, but everybody does it for a reason like I did (at Ohio).
“It just makes us tighter. You hate to see somebody go, but it happens. Whoever stays, great. The guys that are here are going to play hard, work hard, take it forward.”
Goard took an unofficial visit to Marshall before signing with Ohio. Goard didn’t play in the Mid-American Conference or NCAA Tournaments in 2012, but he does have experience in the Henderson Center.
In the Bobcats’ early season 70-68 win over the Herd, Goard came off the bench to grab three rebounds in nine minutes. He averaged 1.7 points and 1.5 rebounds for the season.
“I’m glad I’m here,” said Goard, who chose the Bobcats over offers from VCU, Charlotte and Marshall after averaging 17.1 points and 12.0 rebounds as a GW senior and as an all-state first team pick. “It was kind of rough at the end (at Ohio). I was playing more, then I didn’t play. I think some of it was my maturity level. I just wasn’t mature enough … but I made my decision and I’m fine with it, did what I thought I had to do.”
Herrion likes Goard’s feel for the game as well as the player’s athletic ability.
“He’s a guy with a high basketball IQ,” the fourth-year Herd coach said. “TyQuane can be an anchor for us because he knows our rotations and stuff defensively … the right plays, right time.”
Perhaps that hoops IQ has roots in Goard’s birthplace of Roxboro, N.C., which is about as close to Tobacco Road as you can get – just north of Durham and Chapel Hill, N.C. Goard said he has been “back and forth” growing up between Roxboro and Charleston and calls both places home.
He said he’s also picked up some his athletic know-how from his father, an uncle and his older brother, Tyrone, a former Capital High and Eastern Kentucky wide receiver who is a rookie free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I think it helps that I’ve always been around sports,” Goard said. “My brother, dad, uncle, they’re my role models, and they’ve always spent a lot of time talking with me, watching games. I study film and I try to talk to people and listen to people you feel know the game … paying attention.”
With the loss of three graduated big men and the recent transfer of Jamir Hanner, Goard sees an opportunity to move to the front row in the Herd frontcourt, where Herrion’s move to an uptempo, pressure game will benefit Goard with his quickness and leaping ability.
“I think I’m more of a 4 (position), with Elijah (Pittman) at the 3. I’m more of a rebounder, a guy who can sit on the backside and talk and tell everybody what’s there. I see myself as a 4 a lot more than a 3, but 1 to 5, if they ask me to play it, I’ll do it.
“I think my strength is basketball IQ, doing things at defensive end, talking, seeing things before they happen,” Goard said. “Maybe I don’t shoot it as well as some of these other guys, but I can rebound, I can jump and go get the ball.
“I feel like we are going to play more of a faster pace. At Ohio, we played at a faster pace, everybody getting out running. Conference USA has more and heavier bigs than the MAC, and we’ll be different now, so I think it be an advantage for us. I like to run. I’m a high flyer.”
Goard said he appreciates Herrion because of the Herd coach’s “believing in us.”
“Coach is always going to believe we can win and believe in us,” Goard said. “Even when we could be down 50, he still thinking about what we can do, telling us to work hard, making us think. It’s great to have somebody believe in you. That kind of attitude is contagious.”
Herrion calls Goard “more of a 4, but he can guard multiple positions…. He’s a guy who can really help you win games.”