HUNTINGTON — This week, Marshall had a pair of standout basketball players recognized as two of the top players within Conference USA.
Marshall men’s basketball guard Taevion Kinsey and women’s basketball guard Savannah Wheeler were among the honorees as the 2021-22 Preseason All-Conference USA Teams were announced by the league.
Kinsey, a senior from Columbus, Ohio, was named to the team after averaging 19.5 points and 6.2 rebounds — both team highs — for the Thundering Herd last season.
In addition to the Conference USA honor, Kinsey was named to the 2021-22 Jerry West Award Watch List, which featured the 20 top shooting guards in college basketball.
Last season, Kinsey took on more of a scoring and leadership role for the Herd and flourished, using an improved jump shot and his athleticism to get to his spots to score for Marshall’s offense.
Kinsey scored more than 20 points in 11 of Marshall’s 22 games and had a season-high of 31 points in the Herd’s win at Wright State.
The First Team All-Conference USA selection from a year ago is garnering NBA interest with several teams coming to see him throughout the preseason already.
Kinsey was one of 11 players named to the team, which is voted on by the league’s 14 head coaches.
On the women’s side, Wheeler has been just as pivotal to Marshall’s success, leading the Herd in scoring at 17 points per game, which was the sixth-highest average in the league last season.
Like Kinsey, the sophomore from Catlettsburg, Kentucky, was a consistent scoring force for the Herd, notching 20 or more points in seven of the team’s 19 games last season.
Wheeler’s presence became even more vital down the stretch as the Herd found its way and secured a home win over Rice — the Owls’ lone regular season blemish in league play — and road wins over eventual C-USA champ Middle Tennessee and also North Texas.
The former Miss Kentucky Basketball Award winner also had 35 points in a win over Old Dominion on Feb. 6.
Wheeler was one of eight players nominated to the women’s preseason team, which is also voted on by the league’s coaches.
Marshall’s men’s basketball team opens its exhibition schedule at 2 p.m. Sunday against Davis & Elkins at Cam Henderson Center.
After taking part in closed scrimmages in lieu of exhibitions, the Thundering Herd women’s team opens its season on Nov. 9 against Bluefield State.
Grant Traylor is the sports editor of The Herald-Dispatch, who also covers Marshall athletics for HD Media. Follow him on Twitter @GrantTraylor.