North East (Md.) Cecil C.C. forward Antonio Haymon (6-foot-6, 218-pounds) caused celebration within the basketball offices at Marshall on Monday when he committed to the Herd and faxed and over his letter of intent.
"Marshall is the perfect place for me," said Haymon. "They have a need for a player like me and I love it there. It just gives me this feeling of comfort. The coaches, the players, and the Huntington area all just felt right to me."
Recruited by assistants Shawn Finney and Brett Nelson, Haymon was recruited to fill minutes vacated by departing senior Markel Humphrey.
"Coach Nelson and Coach Finney have told me that they see me in the role that Markel Humphrey played in. Marshall was looking for an impact scorer and they see me as fitting into that role. I feel that I can be that player."
Haymon, a first-team JUCO All-American, is expected to play a large role with the Marshall basketball team next season and he is excited about the opportunity to play for head coach Donnie Jones.
"Coach Jones doesn't recruit junior college players so in some ways, I view this as an honor. He told me they targeted me because they needed someone to come in right away and provide a scoring punch.
"I will play the three and four. I will be asked to score from the wing and from the post depending on who is guarding me. I like the style of basketball that Coach Jones is running. I can push the ball up the floor and they like that about my game as well."
What has Haymon been told he should expect in terms of playing time with the Herd next season?
"Coach Jones said that Markel averaged close to 35 minutes a game. He said that those minutes are ones that he would like for me to pick up but it is up to me to prove that I can fill them. I don't plan on letting him down."
Largely ignored by the recruiting services, the Cecil C.C. forward doesn't mind. He would rather be judged by on his on-court performances.
"It has been the same way since high school. It doesn't matter to me though. I have always wanted to prove it on the court rather than with a star ranking.
"Last year, I played behind two first-team All-Americans and still averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds a game in just under 13 minutes of play per night. This year, I averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds. I would rather have production than a ranking."
What should Marshall fans expect from Haymon?
"I am a high-energy player that plays with a lot of emotion. I hate to lose and don't plan on doing much of that in Huntington. I will give everything I have on every night. They can count on that."
Haymon plans to enroll at Marshall in July. He will have three years to expend his final two years of playing eligibility.