Aug 29, 2013
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON – Pretty soon, second-year Marshall Women’s Basketball coach Matt Daniel is going to have to change his “Herd House of Higher Hoops” slogan.
A better one might be “Herd Homegrown House of Higher Hoops.”
When Marshall started fall semester classes Monday, signed and enrolled was one of the more prominent in-state basketball talents of recent vintage – Huntington’s Talequia Hamilton.
The 6-foot-2 Hamilton transferred to her hometown university from Cincinnati, and will have three seasons of eligibility left with Daniel’s program after getting a medical redshirt year. She will sit out the 2013-14 season as a Division I transfer after playing only two minutes in the Bearcats’ opener last season.
“I’m excited to be back here playing and really excited to be back home,” said Hamilton who tore the ACL and a portion of her meniscus in her right knee in UC’s 2012-13 opener against Cincinnati. “I have to sit out this year, but I don’t think it will be that hard because I got used to it. I had to sit out all of last year after getting hurt.
“To sit again stinks, but I’ll also have three years left to play, and I’m looking forward to that.”
Hamilton played 70 minutes in 16 games as a Bearcats’ freshman, scoring 11 points with 13 rebounds.
Daniel said Hamilton got her release from Cincinnati “and the only place she sent it was to Marshall. We had a couple of conversations then, and had her come on campus once we got the release.
“It was a fit that I liked and she seemed to like it, too.”
Hamilton was a two-time Class AAA All-State first team selection at Huntington High, after being a second team pick in her sophomore season. She also made the All-State Tournament team twice, helping the Highlanders to a runner-up finish as a sophomore and to the semifinals as a junior. She averaged a double-double each of her last two seasons.
She joins a team that has two in-state freshmen in guards Kiana Evans of Huntington and McKenzie Akers of Princeton.
“I think it’s good that we’re keeping it as local as we can,” Hamilton said. “We have two other girls from the state here now and I’m told we have more who say they’re coming here.”
Daniel has four reported recruiting commitments for the 2015-16 entering class, all from in-state or the Tri-State area. It’s a trend he’d like to continue in building the Marshall program.
“That’s something we made a point to do when we got here,” Daniel said, “and I’d rather do it with these local kids, and add in the flavor that fits us from outside this area. I think we’re starting to get to do that. We’ve made 10 additions in one year and that’s a lot, but they’re the right pieces, I believe.
“We’ve got a big contingent in the ’15 class that’s local and a lot in the class of ’16 we’d like, but at some point, it’s up to them to buy in. We’re doing everything we’re supposed to do. I guarantee you we’re doing everything we can.
“We’re going to win ballgames, we’re going to recruit ‘em. It’s just a matter of if it fits them. If it doesn’t, they don’t need to be here. If it does, we’re happy to have them.”
This season, the Herd will have 13 players, with Hamilton and 5-11 Ashley Lambert (former UMBC player) sitting out as Division I transfers. Freshman signee Maya Singleton will sit out to retain eligibility as an academic non-qualifier.
“I know last year they struggled, didn’t have a good season, but a lot of coaches don’t have good seasons when they first come to a school,” Hamilton said. “Coach Daniel did some great things at Central Arkansas and he’s building here. I’m excited to play for him at Marshall.”
Daniel said Hamilton will play the 3 and 4 spots once she eligible again.
“She reminds me of Porty (5-10 senior Suporia Dickens), a lot like her,” Daniel said. “I hate to lose Suporia after this season, but we’re glad to have Talequia to step in. They’re similar in style of play, and make similar contributions, I think. We’re just waiting on Talequia. We’re anxious to get her into what we do.
“She’s a great homegrown talent who we’re thrilled to have back home with us.”
The Herd women open the season Nov. 4 with a Henderson Center exhibition against Kentucky Christian, then play the regular-season opener at home, too, against Bluefield College.