Oct. 29, 2013
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – For a basketball program that needs to rebound, Marshall Coach Tom Herrion has a guy who really can do that.
At a school that boasts one of the greatest rebounders in college hoops history – Charlie Slack had 1,916 of ‘em back in the mid-50s – rebounding will be crucial in more ways than one for the 2013-14 Herd.
TyQuane Goard has the attitude and aptitude to provide quality glass-cleaning for an MU team that is undersized compared to the one last season that melted into a 13-19 finish. This Herd doesn’t have the height or bulk on 2012-13, but is blessed with much more athleticism -- which was on display Monday night in a 94-60 exhibition win over Concord at the Henderson Center.
Goard came off the bench for 17 minutes, and his stat line didn’t appear to offer much – 1-of-6, 2 assists, 2 personals, 1 turnover, 2 steals, 1 block … and 10 rebounds.
That wasn’t a typo. Nor does it figure to be out of the norm for the 6-foot-7 Goard, who sat out here last season after transferring from Ohio, where he played 210 minutes in 29 games in 2011-12.
“He impacts the game in so many different ways other than a pure stat line,” Herrion said of the 215-pound sophomore. “He’s a guy who doesn’t have to shoot a lot to impact the game. He gives us great flexibility, versatility. He can play a lot of positions.”
Goard said a good boxscore line for him will usually include twice as many rebounds as points. He’s better than OK with that, as is his coach, who really appreciates Goard’s hoops smarts.
“I’m not saying TyQuane’s not going to have nights where he can score for us,” Herrion said. “But that’s not what he does. He’s got such value in terms of positioning. He knows our system, our sets, all our slides defensively. He has great long arms, which helps tremendously defensively and he knows how to get to the glass.”
On a night when the Herd had five double-figure scorers and got a double-double (15 points, 10 boards) from redshirt freshman Ryan Taylor
, the home team easily won the backboard battle. But Goard and his teammates know they were facing an NCAA Division II team.
Most nights – starting with a Nov. 8 opener against South Carolina State at “The Cam” – the Herd’s ability to corral rebounds will be crucial for not only stickbacks, but also will be the ignition to a higher-octane offense Herrion wants.
Center Cheikh Sane had eight rebounds in 18 minutes, and two-guard Chris Thomas had 6 to go with 14 points. The Herd’s lone returning starter, forward Elijah Pittman, had five boards, and Herrion has said in preseason he wants and needs more board work from the 6-9 top returning scorer in Conference USA.
“Everybody can rebound,” Goard said. “We’ve got more athleticism now. Elijah, Ryan Taylor, me, Cheikh (6-9). We have more rebounders than people think … don’t forget Chris Thomas, he can jump out of the gym.”
Goard is a 6-7 guy with 6-10 arms, but his skill on the glass is more than height and hops.
“I think a lot of it is high motor, energy,” Goard said. “If there’s a missed shot, no matter what, just get to the rim, get position. Hopefully you get the luck of the draw and something comes your way and you can get a putback. I think it’s more energy than anything.”
That’s nothing new for him. He learned early in his basketball days that it was a way to contribute and pick up what often were called garbage points.
“Yeah, I always went to the rim as a kid,” he said. “I’d try to find the open spot, and for whatever reason, the open spot is where the ball comes off. Really, I picked it up playing anywhere, from my dad, from other experienced players, playing AAU ball. I think it helped me catch a feel for the game.”
Goard practiced with the Herd last season as a transfer, then watched game nights as things went south. He said this Marshall team is different, and part of it is a togetherness that needs to include a different “team rebounding” that is listed at the bottom of boxscore totals.
“Our team chemistry, no doubt, is a big difference,” he said. “People are much closer together here now. There are no cliques. We’re all in it together, like a family … more sharing the ball.
“For me, I figure my rebounding keeps everybody else going. I’m not the best scorer, but I’m going to do whatever I can to make the team better. Right now that’s rebounding, getting the ball out to NuNu (point guard Kareem Canty), to Elijah, a great 3-point shooter, or to a Chris Thomas flying on the wing or something.
“Right now, it’s just pretty much what I’m doing.”