NCAAM Player Profile Series: Thundering Herd’s Rumbling Rim Rocker

By Shea Irish

One of college basketball’s true hidden gems can be found in a location unknown to much of the country; Huntington, WV. His name is Taevion Kinsey, and if you have yet to see the highlight reel of dunks thrown down by the Marshall Thundering Herd star, you need to open a new tab on your browser and head to YouTube immediately. Opponents have learned over the last four seasons that when the 6’5” guard is headed in a path toward the rim, they better be wary of the consequences that could transpire. Kinsey has sent the 9,000 fans that pack Marshall’s Cam Henderson Center into a frenzy on many occasions with posterizing finishes over C-USA defenders. He has recently announced he will use the extra year of eligibility granted as a result of the pandemic, so opportunities for more ‘thundering’ rim punishments should be in store when next season gets rolling. Luckily for C-USA opponents, they will no longer have to travel to Huntington worrying about ending up on the wrong side of a SportsCenter Top 10 highlight. Marshall ended their Conference USA era following the 2021-22 season to transition to the Sun Belt, where Kinsey will now have the opportunity to terrorize a new conference on a nightly basis.

Kinsey’s journey to become Huntington’s Hero

Since stepping foot on Marshall’s campus back in 2018, Kinsey has progressed year in and year out to become one of the most electrifying players in the nation. The Columbus, OH native started his career in the green and white as a C-USA All-Freshman member after leading the Thundering Herd to a CIT Championship. Since then, he has been selected as an All-Conference player in each of the last three seasons, including 1st-Team honors in 2020-21. Finishing as a top 5 scorer in C-USA in all three of those campaigns, Kinsey has established himself as one of the most accomplished players across the mid-major landscape. During the 2021-22 season, Kinsey averaged 19.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 4.2 APG; while leading the conference in minutes per game despite dealing with lower leg injuries for much of the last two months. His 592 points and 130 assists on the year both ranked top five in the conference.

If any indication of just how elite his scoring ability is, look to his performance against North Texas last January to signify just that. The 29 points was the highest scoring output for any player that faced the nation’s top defense in 2021-22, and he did it on an efficient 52.6% mark from the field. Just for reference; the Mean Green held C-USA POY Jordan Walker to 16 PPG on 39.4% shooting over two matchups, limited Big 12 POY Ochai Agbaji to 18 points, contained 1st Team All-MAC selection Jeenathan Willams (Buffalo) to 14 points on 17 field goal attempts, and shut down former AAC POY Tyson Etienne (Wichita State) to just 9 points on a dismal 3 of 12 from the field. 

Kinsey has 38 career 20+ point performances to date, including 17 during last season alone. His best game in 2021-22 came when he put up 31 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists in a matchup with the Rice Owls. He also had a 30 piece against Akron, a team that won the MAC and went to the NCAA Tournament. During the 2020-21 season, Kinsey eclipsed the 30 point mark against Wright State and dropped 28 on the Ohio Bobcats, another MAC champion that reached the NCAA Tournament. He has proven over the years to be not just an elite scorer, but also an elite playmaker; and he has done so against some of the best competition in the country. He filled the statsheet against ACC opponent Notre Dame with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists two years ago, and scored 21 points vs the Indiana Hoosiers this past season. He even demonstrated his overall court vision by tying a school record with 14 assists in a matchup with Howard in December of 2019. Kinsey will head into the 2022-23 season with a chance to establish his name toward the top of a lengthy list of career statistical records.

Crashing into the Marshall record books

The Thundering Herd’s star guard is currently sitting at 1,935 career points, which is good for 4th all-time in Marshall’s NCAA Division 1 era. Early next season, he will become just the 2nd Thundering Herd player to reach the 2,000 point plateau since the 1990-91 season. Depending on how far his team can advance in the Sun Belt Tournament and a possible postseason tournament after that, Kinsey has an outside chance of surpassing Jon Elmore’s program record of 2,638 career points. Assuming he averages right around the 20 PPG mark once again, he will most likely need to play around 35 games next season to reach the top spot. With the consistent scoring prowess he has exhibited, and the team’s hopes of a deep run into March in their first season in the Sun Belt; that number is certainly attainable.

Kinsey has stamped his name on an abundance of other record lists during his four seasons at Marshall. According to sports-reference.com, he is currently ranked 3rd in win shares and 4th in player efficiency headed into his final season. In addition to his pursuit of the career scoring record, he has a chance at taking the number one spot for minutes played and FG made in a career. He is currently ranked 5th in both of those categories. Kinsey has also cracked the top 10 in offensive rebounds, FT made, FT%, FG%, and usage percentage for the Thundering Herd. If he plays at least 22 games next season, he will become the all-time leader for games played in a Marshall uniform. It is safe to say that when his career comes to a close, Kinsey will be considered as one of the most accomplished players in the 104 year history of the program. So sit back, grab some popcorn, and be prepared to see a few more jaw-dropping plays unfold during the star’s final run in Huntington.

Author

  • Shea Irish

    Shea is a life-long college basketball fanatic. He has always been passionate about following mid-majors hoops. He's 25 years old and currently resides in Upstate New York. Co-host of the Mental Dimes NCAAM Podcast.

One thought on “NCAAM Player Profile Series: Thundering Herd’s Rumbling Rim Rocker

  1. At times during the game Marshall would show a lot of potential when everyone was on their game. I think missing a true point guard this year hurt Kinsey this year. Hopefully the incoming transfer PG they have coming in will having us see a much better team for the 22-23 season. They can go with 3 guards or move Taylor to sg and Kinsey to sf and be a pretty good team.

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