Shane Hall was eager to subdue the chaos that comes with constant college attention.
The 6-foot-9, 200-pound forward put the search for his next school to sleep with a couple swipes of the pen on Wednesday morning at the Johnson Central High School library.
Hall inked a National Letter of Intent to play basketball at Marshall University in front of family, friends, teammates and media members on the first day of the basketball early signing period.
While he’s looking forward to suiting up for the Thundering Herd next season, his current mission is to help guide another ride into the state tournament. The Golden Eagles are the two-time defending 15th Region champions.
“This is a pretty big relief,” Hall admitted. “It will help me focus more on the high school team instead of where I’m going to college and worrying about all that.”
Marshall was one of 11 Division I programs hoping to add Hall to its mix — others that offered were Tennessee, Butler, UAB, Northern Kentucky, Indiana State, Wright State, Morehead State, Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky and Miami (Ohio).
Marshall coach Tom Herrion had originally expressed interest in Hall during his sophomore season, according to Golden Eagles coaches, but just recently re-entered the picture.
Hall, a Rivals.com three-star recruit, said the fit was a natural one.
“I could tell that they really needed me there, and it’s still close to home,” said the soft-spoken senior. “It’s a good place for me.”
Hall became just the third Johnson Central boys basketball player to sign to a Division I college out of high school, joining David Couch (West Point, 1979) and Jodi Salisbury (Eastern Kentucky, 1991).
The two-time All-State player is expected to be a Mr. Basketball finalist this season if he stays healthy.
While he’s consistently churned out quality production since his freshman year, he caught the eyes of the Bluegrass with a terrific effort in the Sweet Sixteen opening round this past March.
Against Louisville Ballard, which headed into the tournament as the favorite, Hall was 10 of 11 from the field, including four dunks, scoring 28 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
As a junior, Hall averaged 15.9 points, 10 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game.
Hall holds the school’s all-time blocks mark, with 332 career swats. He is on pace to finish second in the state in that category behind Paintsville’s J.R. VanHoose (541). VanHoose also went to Marshall, where he orchestrated a stellar career, from the town of Paintsville.
Hall also owns the school record for career rebounds, with 827. He is currently at 1,235 total points, on pace to break the record tally of 1,880, and he sits on 387 free throws made, just 50 short of the program mark. He has 38 career double-doubles and three triple-doubles.
Also included on the list of accolades: a two-time 15th Region Tournament Most Valuable Player; a two-time All-Area selection; a Kentucky-Indiana Junior All-Star Game participant; and the 2012 Boyd County Roundball Classic Player of the Game against Portsmouth, in which he racked up a career-best seven slams.
Hall doesn’t profess to being the best jump-shooter on the floor, but that’s one area he’s working to improve. He attempted just five 3-pointers all of last season.
The greatest emphasis, though, is placed on posting up, blocking shots and rebounding.
Hall thought the way that he moves for his size attracted Marshall to him.
“They liked how good I get up and down the court,” Hall said.
Johnson Central coach Tommy McKenzie, who has coached Hall throughout his varsity years, said he was proud to be a part of Wednesday’s moment.
“As a coach, it was surreal, an awesome experience,” said McKenzie, who played for Johnson Central and Alice Lloyd College. “It’s awesome for our school and for our community.”
Hall is looking forward to playing for Herrion next fall.
“I really like him. He seems excited about his team, and wanting them to get better,” Hall said.
Hall had committed to Marshall in late September.
The Herd also has commitments from John A. Logan College forward Jay Johnson and Kirkwood Community College center Henry Uwadiae.
Marshall went 13-19 overall in 2012-13 and is 2-0 to start this season.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.