High School Basketball

Johnson Central's Hall hopes to play right away at Marshall

Johnson Central basketball star Shane Hall made an unofficial visit to Marshall on Wednesday, and while he was there he committed to play for the Thundering Herd.

"I didn't plan to commit, but I was kind of thinking about it anyway so I did," Hall said Thursday morning. "I really like it there, and it takes the (recruiting) pressure off."

Hall, a versatile 6-foot-8, 215-pound senior, chose Marshall over Tennessee and Northern Kentucky.

"It's a good school and Shane feels he'll have an opportunity to play right away," Johnson Central Coach Tommy McKenzie said. "But I think the big draw for Shane was it's close to home. In the end I think that's why he picked Marshall."

Marshall is in Huntington, W.Va., about a 75-minute drive from Paintsville.

McKenzie said he told Hall about J.R. VanHoose, who led Paintsville to the Sweet Sixteen championship in 1996 and was Mr. Basketball in 1998 before going on to have a successful career at Marshall.

VanHoose, who played against McKenzie in high school, said he talked with Hall on Wednesday night after he announced he was going to Marshall. "I just told him that if he had any questions about Marshall, or wanted to talk about basketball or anything, he could get in touch with me.

"He told me he would, and that he really appreciated me reaching out to help."

Hall overcame a high ankle sprain and another ankle injury to average 17 points and nine rebounds last season. He led Johnson Central to the Sweet Sixteen, and had a 28-point, eight-rebound performance against Ballard.

He was voted to the Herald-Leader's All-State first team.