Ohio is losing a returning starter from last season, as sophomore guard Ryan Taylor is transferring, according to a report from Jason Arksley of the Athens Messenger.
The 6-foot-5 native of Gary, Indiana started 28 games last season for the Bobcats and was fourth on the team in scoring at 8.1 points per game. Taylor also put up 2.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game on 43 percent shooting.
According to Arksley’s report, Ohio head coach Saul Phillips felt that this transfer came out of nowhere.
“I’m feeling a little puzzled, a little baffled,” Phillips said to Arksley. “We weren’t given any kind of reason other than that.”
“I really didn’t see it coming, and that’s what hurts the worst. I still don’t know quite why it happened,” Phillips continued. “We’ve tried to communicate, but at some point it always came back to we couldn’t get any more answers other than it was a gut feeling.”
The loss of Taylor certainly hurts Ohio down the road. As a young player, he was already playing heavy minutes and a bout with mono towards the end of last season made his production dip a little bit.
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The beginning of Tom Herrion’s tenure at Marshall was so promising. Back-to-back 20-plus win seasons had Herd faithful dreaming of NCAA tournament appearances, but two straight sub-.500 records, including an 11-22 mark this season, must have compelled Marshall’s athletic administration to make a change: per ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, Herrion is no longer Marshall’s head coach.
There was never any doubt regarding Herrion’s ability to bring high-major talent to Huntington. But clashes with players — DeAndre Kane and Herrion frequently butted heads, and Kane left for Iowa State to use his final season of eligibility; Elijah Pittman was suspended indefinitely in early December — undermined Herrion’s recruiting success. Even though the squad won their initial 2014 Conference USA tournament game, a 63-59 win over Florida Atlantic, a double-digit loss to Old Dominion must have provided the justification needed to part ways with Herrion.
Whomever Marshall targets for its next coach will potentially have a talented team to work with (provided, of course, that the group, which doesn’t lose any seniors, all returns). Kareem Canty proved to be an outstanding point guard, posting an assist rate of 30 percent. The Harlem native was named to the conference’s all-freshman team, along with fellow Herd ‘mate Ryan Taylor, and the duo led the squad in points per game. Combined with Chris Thomas, the oft-committed guard who is prone for double-digit scoring outbursts, and the new coach could have a strong offensive core to build upon.