Marshall University head coach Dan D’Antoni likes to spread the floor on offense and over the offseason he recruited players that fit his style.
One such player is new edition Christian Thieneman. The six-foot-five, 205 pound forward committed to Marshall University October 4th, 2014.
“I was born in Louisville, Kentucky,” Thieneman said. “Basketball came into my life at a very young age through my father. I started playing when I was four or five and fell in love with game.”
Thieneman’s passion has helped him develop into a player that can not only hold his own in the low post, but one that can change the complexion of a game by stretching the floor.
“I’m a strong type of player,” Thieneman said. “I can play the four. I like playing the three but if they need me to play some four and go low, I can do that as well. I really like to shoot the three.”
Credited with much of the scouting is assistant coach Mark Cline.
“Mark Cline followed him in AAU,” D’Antoni said. “He had a great AAU season when we were recruiting him. He was an under the basket type of player prior to the season, but in the AAU’s he was able to get outside and shoot threes. We saw a little bit of Austin Loop in him and thought that he could provide some shooting ability for us from the outside.”
Though Loop was recruited during Tom Herrion’s time as head coach, D’Antoni trusts Loop’s perimeter shooting. When D’Antoni saw another player replicate the same dead-eye ability, the recruiting process didn’t take long.
“The first time I met Coach D’Antoni was through Mark Cline,” Thieneman said. “Cline was my recruiter and over the summer going into my senior year, I kind of blew up in AAU with the Louisville Prospects. One of Mark Cline’s buddies saw me and talked about me, then Cline saw me and then he brought Coach D’Antoni to one of my practices. After that, coach just really like what he saw and about a week later he made me an offer.”
Much of Thieneman’s game can be attributed to his Father, Phil, whose playing days at Virginia Tech and in Switzerland helped advance his son’s game even further.
“He’s a great dad and honestly, I look up to him the most,” Thieneman said. “He’s my biggest idol. He’s been the best coach that I’ve ever had throughout all of the years coaching me; through the younger ages and everything. Then once I got up to high school, he stopped coaching me but I really can’t find a better coach or a better dad. He’s given me all the knowledge I know about the game.”
Thieneman played a crucial role at Trinity High School, where the Shamrocks went 24-6 and were ranked second in the state for most of the year, according to maxpreps.com. At Trinity, the basics of basketball were reinforced and greatly helped Thieneman become the well-rounded player he is.
“At Trinity they focused on a lot of fundamentals,” Thieneman said. “It’s a totally different style than D’Antoni’s style. D’Antoni’s is free, but at Trinity we worked on a lot of fundamentals and they really helped prepared me with that style.”
Thieneman noticed early on the differences between the offenses of his high school and Marshall University, but that did not deter him from making his choice.
“I like how they space the floor,” Thieneman said. “Our plays are very simple; nothing too hard to run with the floor being spaced out, the big men coming out of the low blocks, the way we swing the ball and how freely our plays are run. We also put up a lot of threes because of that and I like it.”
Playing time could be scarce depending on how he plays in the near future, but luckily for Herd fans, nothing but optimism surrounds this freshman.
“Playing time will play itself out,” D’Antoni said. “He had a good scrimmage not too long ago and with him he could go all the way. I didn’t bring here just to keep him on the bench.”
“Just like I said, whenever they need me I’m there,” Thieneman said. “I’m going to be prepared to play whatever position they need me to play. I’m a basketball player and I’ll provide what I can for the team.”