HUNTINGTON - More than a few times, freshman non-qualifiers in basketball gain their eligibility and spend their delayed first college season shooting enough bricks to rebuild Cam Henderson Center.In his first exhibition game more than a week ago, point guard Kareem Canty showed he just might buck that trend. In the 94-60 romp over Concord, he hit 5 of 9 from the floor, hitting a 3-point goal and an eye-popping step-back jumper at the top of the foul circle."That's something I worked on all year when the NCAA told me 'no,'" Canty said. "The step-back is my go-to move, either side. That's something I really do to get into rhythm."Canty says he's closer to finding the rhythm at his main job, running the offense and distributing the ball, and is eager to make his true college debut. That comes at 7 p.m. Friday at the Henderson Center.The 6-foot-1, 185-pound native of Harlem, N.Y., is enjoying his escape from NCAA exile, but isn't enjoying those eight turnovers he committed in the exhibition. He has had plenty of practices and a super-secret scrimmage against Eastern Kentucky since, but he can't rid himself of that taste.Many of those turnovers came on ill-advised lob attempts, which suggests Canty was trying to do a little too much. Still ..."I can say I'm my biggest critic," he said. "I go home after an eight-turnover game and I'm real pissed at myself all day. I won't speak. I hate turning the ball over."His coach, Tom Herrion, and his teammates are more patient. Herrion is trying to get that patience to rub off on Canty, because the season is too long to brood over a mistake.
"He puts too much pressure on himself," said Herrion, entering his fourth year at MU. "He's a perfectionist; he's puts a lot of time into his game, works really hard on his game. But I think even he would say he's used the opportunities against Concord and the closed scrimmage, which we can't talk about much, to gain game experience."He hasn't played in a little while [but] you're not going to question his heart, his toughness, his willingness. I just want him to slow down a little bit. He's fearless and we have great confidence in him, along with all of our new guys."Canty doesn't lack confidence, even with his harsh self-criticism. He knows he's the centerpiece for a different Marshall system on both ends.What does he envision, offensively? "Pushing the ball, finishing dunks. Transition and 3s. As long as I don't turn it over, we'll be straight."nn
The Herd has had its bumps and bruises, but no notable new injuries. Herrion remains hopeful about Justin Edmonds, who is continuing rehabilitation of his torn anterior cruciate ligament. JP Kambola was held out of the exhibition, but has been practicing regularly."Edmonds has been slowed, but nothing out of the ordinary," Herrion said. "We'll see what direction it takes. Kambola's just been dinged up. We'll see."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, email@example.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.