CHAPMANVILLE — The pull to stay close to home seemed to be what made Obinna Anochili-Killen’s decision to commit to Marshall University so appealing.
Nonetheless, Marshall and head coach Dan D’Antoni are glad the Chapmanville Regional High School basketball standout picked the Thundering Herd.
Killen announced his decision on Sunday on his Twitter Page.
“First of all, I want to thank my family for supporting me and turning me into the man I am now,” he said. “I also want to thank my coaches and teammates for pushing me every day and making me the player that I have developed into. I want to thank everybody that has supported me. Lastly, I want to thank all the colleges that have been recruiting me through my basketball career. I have decided to stay home to further my academic and athletic career at Marshall University. Go Herd.”
Killen, a 6-foot-9 all-state forward, has led Chapmanville to two straight Class AA state championships and a state runner-up finish his freshman year.
Killen brings a bevy of skills — a mobile and athletic big man with ball-handling ability — to Marshall and expects to make an immediate impact with the Herd.
Killen has a lot of upside, including a improved range on his jump shot. That was on display last season at Chapmanville as he often stepped outside and was able to connect from 3-point land.
He will join Chapmanville grad Devin Collins, who is already on the Marshall roster. The 6-8 Collins is currently a freshman walk-on guard. Mingo Central’s Jeremy Dillon is also with the Herd.
The highly sought senior had several Division I offers on the table, most recently one from the University of Cincinnati.
Another top offer came from Penn State of the Big Ten Conference.
Killen also had other known offers from New Mexico, Dayton, Drexel, Kent State, Temple, George Mason, Robert Morris, South Florida, Rhode Island, Evansville, Old Dominion. Virginia Commonwealth, Ohio, Akron and East Tennessee State.
Killen, who played AAU ball this past summer with the All-Ohio Red team, averaged 16 points a game last season for Coach Brad Napier’s Tigers and is a top-notch defender, shot blocker and rebounder.
The Tigers also return starters Andrew Shull and Philip Mullins from last year’s 26-2 team and will be gunning for a historic state championship 3-peat.
CRHS will play an ambitious schedule with the highlight being a two-day showcase, which will be held at Chapmanville’s Danny Godby Gymnasium over Christmas break, December 20-21.
The tournament, dubbed the Country Roads Classic, has an eclectic mix of local teams, other squads from around the region such as Charleston Catholic, powerhouses from surrounding states and even an international team from Canada.
Chapmanville will still host its traditional four-team Bob Runyon Memorial Holiday Tournament, but that has been moved to after Christmas.
Last year, the Tigers defeated Fairmont Senior, 49-46, in a rematch of the 2018 Class AA state championship game in the Bob Runyon finals. Then later in March, Chapmanville beat the Polar Bears again in the state finals, 60-46, handing Fairmont Senior a third defeat over the last two seasons.
Killen scored 12 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and had eight blocked shots in the championship game win.
So that’s two big weekends of basketball in Chapmanville during the holiday season.
For the fourth straight season, Chapmanville will also play in an out-of-state tournament as the Tigers are set to open the 2019-20 campaign in a showcase tournament in South Carolina on Dec. 14.
The Tigers will actually been heading out of state three times this season, also taking part in the Pittsburgh Winter Jamfest on Jan. 11 and then going to Bristol, Virginia to play in the FCA Prep Showcase tourney.
On Jan. 4, CRHS plays Class AAA Wheeling Park in the Cancer Research Classic and the next day takes part in the New River Shootout at Beckley.
The Tigers will begin the season riding a 48-game winning streak against in-state competition dating back to 2017, and also an overall winning streak of 15 games.
Counting the 27-1 state championship season in 2017-18, Chapmanville is 53-3 over the last two years, a 94.6 % winning clip.
Marshall had a 23-14 season last year, winning the collegeinsider.com postseason tournament.