CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kareem Canty, one of the more highly touted recruits brought in by Marshall coach Tom Herrion, was denied initial eligibility Thursday by the NCAA.The 6-foot-1, 180-pound New York City native was ticketed to play a substantial role right away, helping the Thundering Herd fill the void for the departed Damier Pitts. After two games, it appears that 2011-12 leading scorer DeAndre Kane and Chris Martin will share the point-guard duties, for the most part.Canty is ineligible to play or practice but will be allowed to keep his athletic scholarship, according to an MU statement."We are very surprised and extremely disappointed in the decision by both the Eligibility Center and the NCAA regarding Kareem's initial eligibility," Herrion said. "He excelled as a student in our summer sessions at Marshall and his academic performance to date this semester has been terrific. Our basketball family will continue to support Kareem through this most disappointing experience."The Herd will carry on, as it dives deeper into the nonconference schedule.The Thundering Herd travels to Long Island for the weekend to play in the 2K Sports Classic, one of the several early-season exempt events designed to give teams two extra games on their schedule. This is a non-tournament format, with the Herd playing three specified opponents in three days at Hofstra's Mack Sports Complex."It's a good challenge. Hopefully, we'll be in a situation to play something similar late in the season," Herrion said. "Players like to play, make no mistake about it. Our kids are excited about that format, getting three opportunities to play in 72 hours, if you add it all up."Actually, it's three games in less than 48 hours, beginning at 4:30 p.m. today against the University of District of Columbia. Following are a 2:30 p.m. game Saturday against South Dakota State and a 3 p.m. game Sunday against host Hofstra.
South Dakota State (1-1) is the most intriguing opponent, coming off a 27-8 season with a Summit League tournament championship and an NCAA tournament bid. Last Saturday, Alabama needed a 3-point goal at the buzzer to finally subdue the Jackrabbits 70-67.Led by 18th-year coach Scott Nagy, the Jackrabbits feature Nate Wolters, a 6-foot-4 point guard who was named Associated Press honorable mention All-America. He averaged 21.2 points and 6.0 assists last season and scored 30 against Alabama - his 11th 30-point game of his career.After two games, he averages 26 points and 6 assists, has hit 5 of 8 3-pointers and has made all 15 of his free throws. Complementing him has been Jordan Dykstra, a 6-8, 225-pound forward who is averaging 17 points and has hit 6 of 9 from 3-point range.The Jackrabbits own a 78-71 win over Tennessee State.Hofstra is 0-2, losing 91-62 at Monmouth and 83-54 at Purdue. Jimmy Hall, a 6-7 forward, leads the way with 14 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.UDC, a Division II school taking on four Division I opponents this month, has lost 78-58 to Villanova and beaten University of the Sciences 76-63. Quasim Jones, a 6-foot guard, leads the Firebirds with 16 points per game.Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.