Elmore returning to MU, gains third year of eligibility


HUNTINGTON — Jon Elmore withdrew from the NBA Draft on Wednesday morning, but it turns out that was only a portion of the good news for the Marshall men’s basketball program. Elmore isn’t only returning for the 2017-18 season — he has the option for two more years of college basketball. Marshall learned late Wednesday afternoon that Elmore has received a release from the original letter intent he signed out of high school, which restores a year of eligibility.

Marshall announced earlier Wednesday Elmore had opted to withdraw his name from the list of early entrants into the NBA Draft. Elmore, a Charleston native, now has two years to use two seasons of eligibility.

Elmore started his career at Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 2014-15 but left school to tend his ailing grandfather in October. He enrolled at Marshall in January of 2015, but the administration at VMI indicated to Marshall they would not release Elmore from his commitment, so he sat out the early part of the 2015-16 season.

“I’m happy it is behind me,” Elmore said. “It’s been a long process — lots of ups and downs. I’m glad everything got resolved. I’ve got the year back and hopefully, I can make the most of it and I have got two years now.”

Elmore became a Conference USA first-team selection last season after leading the league in scoring and assists. He joined the Herd in the 2015-16 season, eight games into the season. He was listed as a junior but last season (2016-17) was actually his sophomore season, with the year now given back. He will now be a junior for 2017-18 and a senior in 2018-19.

MUBSKB 2016-17 Jan. 21, 2017 Game 920 94-80 win WKU photo by GP, Jon Elmore, Herd bench and Herd fans feeling the 3

Jon Elmore releases a three, with the bench of the Herd (and Jon’s brother, Ot, right behind him) and Marshall fans feeling it. It was one of 83 threes made and over 600 points scored last season, along with 200 assists dished to teammates for the C-USA Tournament runners-up. (Herd Insider photo by Greg Perry)

“Jon gets another year to develop and if he needs another year to develop after next year, he has options,” Marshall coach Dan D’Antoni said. “If we get him for one more year, we’ll look forward to it. If it’s two more years, we’ll look forward to that, too.”

“It was great that he put his name out there,” MU coach Dan D’Antoni said. “I think he’s an NBA type of player. Certainly just getting his name out and getting people talking about him a little bit and knowing who he is a little bit is a good thing.

“If he’d had gone first round, it would have been a good thing, too. There was nothing bad about it. If he goes in the first round, it helps us recruit. If he comes back, we’re a better team. Certainly, him coming back, it makes my nights better. I’ll sleep better.”

Elmore averaged 19.7 points and 5.9 assists in 35 games last season. He is the first player in MU history to eclipse 600 points and 200 assists in the same season. After 60 career games, Elmore already ranks on the program’s all-time list for points (No. 44), 3-pointers (No. 12), 3-pointers attempted (No. 11), assists (No. 11) and steals (No. 49). He passed his head coach on the all-time points list and joined Mike D’Antoni as one of three players – Cornelius Jackson is the other – with 200 assists in a season.

Elmore’s other 2016-17 statistics alongside single-season ranks: 691 points (No. 6), 210 field goals (No. 22), 508 shots attempted (No. 8), 83 3-pointers (No. 9), 236 3-pointers attempted (No. 5), 188 free throws (No. 2), 233 free throws attempted (No. 3) and 40 steals (tied for No. 24). Elmore led the Herd to the finals of the Conference USA Championship at Birmingham, Ala. and Marshall fell to Middle Tennessee.


Jon Elmore drives up the court past a Morehead State player. Marshall was 20-15 last season, falling to MTSU in the C-USA Finals. (Herd Insider photo by Greg Perry)

Jon is the son of Gay Elmore (VMI ’86) who was a two time Southern Conference Player of the Year for the Keydets in 1986 and 1987, and was the MVP of the SoCon Tournament when he led VMI to the finals in 1985, losing 70-65 to Marshall under Coach Rick Huckabay. The elder Elmore finished his career as the school’s then all-time leading scorer with 2,422 points – a mark that stood for 22 years – and is one of five players at VMI to have their number retired.

Ot Elmore, Jon’s brother, is also a junior on the Herd, having transferred to Marshall from Texas Rio Grande Valley after also starting his career at VMI. Jon is majoring in public communications with a management minor, and his parents run a law firm, Elmore & Elmore, in Charleston, W.Va.

About Woody Woodrum

Senior Editor and columnist/writer for Herd Insider since 2003, with Kindred Communications on radio for Marshall football/men's basketball pregame and postgame shows since 1996 and with First Sentry Bank Sportsline (Also Scott on Sports, Sideline Sports and Herd Insider Sportsline) since 1997. Married to Liz (12-22-1990) and one son, Tre' (11-7-1997). National Sportswriters & Sportscasters West Virginia Broadcaster of the Year winner for radio, 2000; won W.Va. Broadcasters Best Talk Show in 2013 with co-host Paul Swann and W.Va. Broadcasters Best Play-by-Play in 2015 with Jason Toy (Huntington at South Charleston, state AAA semifinals). Member of (College) Football Writers Association of America, (College) Basketball Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Color commentator for Marshall football (1999-2000), for Marshall basketball (2004-2016) and Marshall baseball (2004-2016). Color for high school football at Spring Valley (1999-2008), Cabell Midland (2009-2012) and Huntington (W.Va.) High School (2013-2016).

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