MCGILL: Jon Elmore Adds NBA Flair to Herd Home Games
The Word on the Herd
By Chuck McGill
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – If one wonders where Jon Elmore found inspiration for his playing style on the basketball court, don’t look at today’s NBA stars.
@HerdMBB Falls at Akron, 99-88
Stevie Browning's (Logan, W.Va.) game-high 31 points were not enough to help Marshall defeat the Akron Zips, as the Herd fell, 99-88, on Saturday evening.
Check Elmore’s closet.
That’s where the jerseys of the legends hang. The hoops greats who, when a boy from Charleston, West Virginia, was crafting his game and developing into the player he’d grow to become, provided the blueprint.
Elmore emulated them. Now he pays tribute to them.
“I love the classics,” Elmore said. “All of the legends.”
Before each home game – Marshall (4-3) next hosts Akron (3-1) this Saturday at 7 p.m. – Elmore arrives at the Henderson Center wearing a throwback jersey. Each game, he has recognized a different player who has influenced his game. Elmore, a 6-foot-3 junior, says he will continue the rollout of tributes before every home game this season.
“I modeled my game after a lot of things those guys have done,” Elmore said. “It’s really my favorite players over the years.”
So far, Elmore has used social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to share his throwback uniforms, an idea hatched by associate sports information director Wilbur DeLashmet. Elmore has worn a uniform for basketball greats “Pistol” Pete Maravich, Larry Bird, Reggie Miller and state native Jerry West before games this season. He offered no hints on who the other players might be, but he did admit to owning a John Stockton throwback uniform and said no current NBA players will be recognized.
“I have one for every home game,” Elmore said. “I have a little collection.”
Elmore said he didn’t collect the jerseys when he was younger, but developed the hobby in the past few years. Eventually, he found himself with more of a dozen jerseys for players who starred in the 1970s, eighties and nineties.
“My first one was probably John Stockton,” Elmore said. “That’s my go-to guy. That’s one of my favorite players. The rest are still a surprise, though. It’s a game-by-game decision.”
Maravich and Bird were the first two throwback jerseys out of the closet, and that was no accident.
“Those are two of my favorite players of all-time,” Elmore said. “Those guys are neck and neck.”
Elmore said he has always been enamored with Maravich’s game because of “his creativity and how he broke a lot of barriers in the way he played.”
Maravich was a scorer and a passer with flare, and keep in mind that Elmore is on pace to threaten the Marshall school records for points scored and assists in a single season. The former record is held by Skip Henderson, who scored 804 points in 1987-88. The assists mark is held by Mike D’Antoni, who had 241 in 1971-72.
As for Bird, Elmore tries to play with the same certainty as the Boston Celtics great.
“He was so talented and so confident,” Elmore said. “I don’t think anybody was able to stop him. He was fundamentally sound and made shots and plays. He had the overall game.”
Marshall has non-conference home games against Akron, Chattanooga, Ohio and Eastern Kentucky before Conference USA play begins. There will be plenty of opportunities for Elmore to toss on a throwback uniform and pay homage to the all-time greats.
“It’s cool to put on their jerseys,” Elmore said. “I’ve watched a lot of film of all of these guys and picked up little things they did to be successful.”
SCOUTING THE ZIPS
Akron boasts an elite defense that is holding foes to 64.8 points per game, which is good for No. 60 in the nation. The Zips are converting 73.6 percent of its free throw shots, which is good for 97th among all DI schools. In return, Akron has limited fouling the opponent to 77 times in its four games, which leads its conference. The Zips take care of the ball, as it has only committed 58 turnovers, which leads the MAC. Akron is averaging 8.8 baskets from behind the arc. It is also limiting foes to just 35.4 percent of made 3-pointers.
WHO TO KNOW
Daniel Utomi ranks among the top of the Mid-American Conference and the nation in several categories, including 3-point field goal percentage (No. 18 in the country with 54.5 percent), made 3-pointers per game (4.5 leads the nation), defensive rebounds per game (No. 51 in the nation with 6.75) and field goal percentage (54.4 percent is No. 118 in the nation).
Malcolm Duvivier is averaging 4.8 dimes per game, which is good for No. 90 in the nation. Eric Parrish is averaging 2 steals per game.
Marshall will meet former Mid-American Conference foe Akron for the sixth straight year. The Zips have won the last seven contests and lead the overall series, 14-11.
LAST TIME - Dec. 17, 2016 at Huntington, W.Va.-
Stevie Browning scored a game-high 31 points, while Austin Loop scored a season-high 24 points in the 99-88 defeat at Akron.
Jon Elmore became the first Herd player in program history to record three straight double-doubles with points and assists.
For all the latest information about Marshall men's basketball, follow @HerdMBB on Twitter and Instagram.