DeAndre Kane's strange early season took an even stranger turn Monday, when he showed up to Marshall's practice with a cast on his right - yes, shooting - hand.The Thundering Herd's top scorer and one of the nation's leading assist men has an unspecified hand injury that will put him out for an indefinite period, coach Tom Herrion said. Herrion did not further specify the injury, or when it was suffered.If it were an existing condition that got worse, that would be understandable, given his shooting struggles. He is shooting 35.7 percent from the floor, including 7 of 43 (16.3 percent) from 3-point range.But his most visible problems have come from the free-throw line, where he is shooting 47.1 percent. At one point, he missed nine foul shots in a row over two games, and he has even air-balled three.Still, he leads the Herd in scoring at 15.0 points per game and is third on the team in rebounding at 4.8. Having to assume most of the point-guard duties, he averages 8.5 assists, and was fourth in the nation through games of Dec. 2. His assist-to-turnover ratio (now 2.66) was in the top 40.Perhaps a more daunting void to fill is Kane's 38.2 minutes per game, which leads Conference USA by nearly two minutes. That became almost inevitable when freshman Kareem Canty, considered the likely starting point guard, was ruled ineligible.
Chris Martin averages 20.1 minutes per game, but has as many assists as turnovers (12 each) and has been ineffective on both ends of the court in recent games. He started Saturday in the Herd's win over Coppin State, but played only seven minutes.But Martin will likely share point-guard duties with freshman Tamron Manning, who played a career-high 12 minutes against Coppin State. Manning has two assists and in 23 minutes this year, but no points.Combo guard Kelvin Amayo, the midyear nonqualifier who enrolled at Marshall in January, is expected to join the program at the end of the fall semester Dec. 18, but that seems a long way off - especially when the Herd faces 11th-ranked Cincinnati on Saturday at the Charleston Civic Center. Tip-off is at 2 p.m."Next man up," Herrion said. "Chris and Tamron, they're going to have to play. They're going to have to play extended minutes."Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, by e-mail at email@example.com
or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.