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June 14, 2012
Forgive Tamar Slay if he hasn't been a visible presence around Huntington lately. After completing his eligibility with the Herd basketball team 10 years ago, the Beckley, W. Va. native has been a bit busy.
Slay plays hoops in Venice, Italy, on a squad that last season made a Cinderella run into the playoffs in the Italian "LegADue." His schedule keeps him overseas 10 months a year. He will head back to the U.S. in July.
Last week, it was announced Slay would be a member of the Marshall Hall of Fame 2012 class. His official induction will be delayed until he can attend in person.
"All the blood, sweat and tears didn't go unappreciated," Slay said of his initial reaction after learning of the honor. "(A) huge smile came over my face.
"It's a tremendous accomplishment and means a lot to me."
Slay was a four year starter for coach Greg White, and is sixth in Herd history with 1,792 career points. Despite the distance, Slay stays up with his alma mater.
"I check up on Marshall athletics every day," Slay said. "Marshall is still a huge part of my life and I will continue to stay involved as much as possible. I really enjoyed just being around the Herd Nation."
Slay took the opportunity to return to the Mountain State in January to watch the Marshall-WVU game in Charleston. Although the Herd came up short, it was a rare opportunity for Slay to see the squad in person.
"It felt amazing" Slay said of the appreciation Marshall fans showed him that night in Charleston. "It shows the love the fans have for their athletes that represented the program the right way.
"It's really hard to explain the pride in being a Marshall athlete. It brought back a lot of emotions being in the locker room with that team."
Slay took a few minutes to speak with the squad before the Capital Classic.
"I wanted to explain to the team how important that game is for Marshall's past, present and future," Slay said. "My team consisted of four players and Coach White being born in West Virginia.
"We grew up knowing how important that game is."
From thousands of miles away, Slay followed Marshall's run to the C-USA Tournament championship game intently.
"Coach Herrion is doing a heck of a job," Slay said. "To make it to the championship game and win 20 plus games is awesome. The program is headed in the right direction."
Slay joined eight others who will be inducted at a dinner Sept. 14. Previously elected Tim Martin will also be inducted, while Slay and 2011 inductee George Chaump will remain elected until they can attend.
"Choosing Marshall University was one of the best decisions I have ever made," Slay said. "I am and always will be indebted to my coaches, teammates, and my family.
Ryan Epling is an analyst with Herd Nation. Comments and questions are welcomed and encouraged on the Old Fairfield forum.