HUNTINGTON — Per usual, Marshall coach Dan D’Antoni and staff handed out scouting reports on the opponent this week in practice.
With Marshall getting set to take on Duquesne as part of the inaugural Cleveland Classic, all focus needed to be fixated on its opponent.
The Dukes have plenty of talent that the Herd must get ready for, but one of those pieces will be quite familiar to all those who are taking the court for the Herd.
That familiar piece for the Dukes will be guard Tavian Dunn-Martin, who starred at Huntington High and ran open gym during the summer with all of Marshall’s players at the Cam Henderson Center.
“The coaches will be giving us the scouting report and it’s like, ‘I know this dude,’” Marshall guard Andrew Taylor said. “‘I got him. I’ve got it.’ It’s cool.”
Many players laughed when thinking about getting back on the court with someone they played against twice a week throughout much of the summer.
“It was pretty fun running with him,” Marshall sophomore Taevion Kinsey. said “I didn’t know much about him because I’m not from here, but they knew more about him than I did. Getting to know him, he’s fast. That kid can shoot the lights out and he’s fast with the ball. He’s a small guard, but he plays big.”
One player who knows plenty about Dunn-Martin is Marshall junior guard Jarrod West who — like Dunn-Martin — was a talented in-state product who was set on making a name for himself at the Division I level.
Dunn-Martin is known for his shooting prowess, and he’ll be looking to get going against the Herd — his hometown team — on the big stage with the teams playing at the home of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.
With Dunn-Martin being an offensive-minded player and West being the Herd’s lockdown defender, there is a likely chance that the two square off against each other on several occasions on Sunday afternoon.
It was an aspect that adds some fire to the game, West said.
Just like the players wanted to take bragging rights away from those open gym matchups, the same rules apply when they get back against each other representing their various schools in-season.
It does give it a little more of a backyard ball type feel, though.
“Any time you compete, you try to get an advantage and you always want to win,” West said. “You know what I mean? Even just playing out here with pick-up ball or 1-on-1 or whatever it is, you always want to win. I think that’s a lot just because I respect Tay-Dunn and Tay-Dunn respects me.”
For West and Dunn-Martin, their friendship has grown through the competition aspect, which renews its chapter in one of the NBA’s nicest arenas this weekend.
“We actually even had a talk,” West said. “He told me, ‘You know I’d never thought we’d be friends growing up.’ ... Because we always played against each other.”
On Sunday afternoon, however, that friendship goes to the side as the teams look to boost their own programs.
Duquesne looks to continue its hot start to the 2019-20 season while Marshall looks for a signature win to end non-conference play that will jumpstart it as the Conference USA slate comes into play.
No matter if it is played on a street court, at the A.D. Lewis Center in Huntington, at the Cam Henderson Center at Marshall or at Rocket Mortgage Arena in Cleveland, Marshall’s players know that when Dunn-Martin steps on the court, they have to zero in on him defensively.
Fittingly, the scouting report says they will be zeroing in on No. 0 in a Duquesne uniform this Sunday.
“We knew the game was going to come,” Kinsey said. “They’ve been doing good this year. At one point, they were ranked top-20 in the country, so I’m excited for the game and I know that all our guys are.