With the Conference USA Tournament coming up this week and the Thundering Herd men’s basketball team looking to repeat as conference champions and head back to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in two years and the third time in 32 years, we at Downtown Huntington thought we’d take a look back at their best uniforms throughout history.
Honorable Mention: Coach D’Antoni Black Alternates
Since Marshall has worn these, it has always been one of my favorite looks. The black and green flow together so good. These are also iconic, because you never see a lot of teams with black and green uniform combinations. The pant stripe that runs around the front is so clean. My favorite thing about these uniforms is the West Virginia logo on the back of the jersey, I think that is one of the coolest additions to our uniforms. One addition I would love to see to this jersey is maybe a white outline around “Marshall” and the numbers. I believe this would make the jerseys pop out a little more. Overall, this just missed the cut, but a jersey that was super close to cracking the top 5.
5. Mike D’Antoni/Russell Lee Era
As a fan of not just Marshall, but basketball in general, I think that more often than not less is more. A basketball uniform is inherently minimalistic, there are no exaggerated shoulders or helmets to experiment with patterns and prints. The classic basketball jersey doesn’t even have sleeves. But this inherent limitation allows for the subtle differences in jerseys to become more pronounced. In Marshall’s case you’re going to see a lot of “full block font ‘Marshall’ arching over numbers,” it’s our school’s go-to look. However this does get monotonous and when something, ever so small, is changed it really stands out. Let’s look at these beauties from the late 60s. The simple addition of “University” just does something. Classic, clean, but still unique. You never have any doubt this is a basketball jersey but it says something more. They are a reminder that this is about the university, that if you’re a fan of Marshall you probably went to Marshall. You walked through Old Main and played “human Frogger” trying to cross Fifth Avenue.
I love this jersey and could only wish I got to watch Marshall play in these. Even though it is not pictured, something that really made this uniform flow was the high, white striped socks the team always wore. Another thing that separates this jersey from others, is how everything matches. If you notice at the top of the jersey, you will see the double set of green stripes running from the collar down to the sleeves. Same as the shorts, you then see the double striped design running through the pants. This is what makes me love this uniform combination.
4. Hal Greer/Leo Byrd Era
The reason I love this uniform combination is just because how simple it was. All white, with your accents being bright Kelly Green! Another thing about this jersey is it just says Marshall so there is not too much going on in the front. Because of how simple it is, I don’t think there is any way you could have ever hated this uniform. It also helped that one of the best to ever do it in a Marshall jersey wore these uniforms so that might make me a little more biased!
The 1958 striped/checkered-trim uniform ranks much higher on my personal list, but I was outvoted. To me it’s just iconic of the time period and the stage in Marshall basketball history. I’d love to see it come back if even only for an alternate uniform.
3. Jason Williams Era
This is such an iconic uniform in Marshall men’s basketball history because it’s almost like a home and away jersey all in one. Yes, I know they had a white jersey that went with it, but when have you ever seen this much of the home and away colors on the same jersey? I think what really makes it pop is the crazy design on the shorts. I also love the last name on the back, I think having the last name on the back of the jersey gives it just a tad more to pop off from that Kelly green. Finally, I love the design of the collar from the back to go over the shoulder and down the sides of the arms. This is something you don’t ever see, and I thought it was an awesome look for the Herd.
Okay, so normally I’d say there is no way a jersey set like this makes any top five list. In basketball the home whites are a sacred thing; no matter where you go in America the home basketball team wears white (sometimes gold is acceptable but only in VERY specific situations) and the away team wears their colors. Throw on a game between two random NAIA teams and I’ll be able to tell Rio Grande is home because they are sporting crisp white unis and Shawnee State is visiting ‘cause they are wearing their blues. If a team lets too much color wind up on their home unis, or too much white on their aways confusion ensues, utter chaos, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria. But these– I like. The Jason Williams look is so perfectly indicative of its time I don’t think I could leave it off. It’s so 90s it almost hurts, bright colors, bold patterns, the shorts that are so loud no one could hear the Florida athletic department seducing our dear coach. Out of the less-traditional jerseys these are the best.
2. Hassan Whiteside Era
This jersey set– this clean, crisp, bold, jersey set is hands-down my favorite. It’s not trying to hide what it is, but it takes advantage of MU’s most distinct athletic aspect– the name Thundering Herd. I seriously think we underutilize the uniqueness of our nickname; and this jersey set displays it loud and proud. The huge arching “Thundering” perched on top of “Herd” with the numbers in between. It’s a look that not a lot of teams do, or can imitate. From top to bottom these are solid, the side piping runs down the shorts slowly expanding until they are wide enough to bolster our official ‘M’ logo. They are sleek, but sturdy, and pay homage to our awesome nickname. Some of us might have some sour feelings attached to this look, thanks to Donnie Jones and Hassan Whiteside’s separate sudden exits. But the time is right, we need to forgive! (Whiteside and the Jerseys at least). Lets recognize how ? this look is.
1. Coach Danny D’Antoni Era Home Whites
Yes, that’s right, I called our coach “Danny” because that’s what everybody called him when he was a player and I like it, so I’m going to keep calling him Danny until he stops me. I love Coach D and everything about the program under his leadership from the style of play to the style of uniforms. Unlike Cody and Barstool Marshall, I even like the away greens. A+ all around.
I want to put the road greens on this list. I want, so bad, to post the image of Jon Elmore staring down the world in his bright green Marshall jersey having just knocked off the heavily favored Wichita State Shockers. However I can’t, ‘cause the road greens from the past few years have been boring. Minus the interesting font they are bland, bland, bland, bland, bland. But the home white jerseys, these I can get behind. The smooth script Marshall, the curvy font for the numbers that almost seems to imitate the path of a basketball coming off a clean arch and swishing through the net with a little flip. But here’s what puts them over the top– the piping on the sides. In a perfect example of however so subtle details can change the overall look of a uni; the green piping running up and down the side of the shorts and side of the jersey make this look feel so much more legit. It also makes the lack of a green trim around the collar and cuffs more noticeable. A modern twist, which is a nice juxtaposition to the more classic font.
These are undoubtedly the cleanest Marshall basketball jerseys we have ever had. The white with the kelly green just goes so good together, but the number one reason I think this is the best uniform Marshall has ever had is because of the Dan D’Antoni rule. What is the Dan D’Antoni rule? Every player on the team must wear the same color shoe if they want to play. I think with how well the shoe matches the jerseys, this makes the team look so good. Marshall equipment made this uniform combination so well. The cursive Marshall font to the green stripes in the front just make this my favorite uniform of all time.