Ever since his coaching days at Winthrop, Gregg Marshall has had the tradition of the “Junk Yard Dog Award.”
Marshall usually gives it out after a win to a player that played exceptionally gritty on the court.
“You give it as an incentive for guys that have done the things that help you win that aren’t necessarily box score,” Marshall said. “Taking charges, getting on the floor for loose balls, setting great screens, being a wonderful passer, maybe being the defensive stopper that game, blocked shots and deflections. All of those things.”
Marshall mentioned that he gave the award out to a couple of different players so far in the 2018-19 season, but he hasn’t in a while due to their losing streak.
“If we can win tomorrow night, we’ll certainly try to find someone deserving,” Marshall said. “If we win tomorrow night, there will be several guys deserving.”
Marshall also noted that different players are having standout games at different times, and that not enough players have good games in the same night.
With the collective ups and downs of the players, Marshall feels that there hasn’t been one specific Junk Yard Dog.
If there is one player who knows what it means to be a Junk Yard Dog, it’s former Shocker Rashard Kelly. Kelly is currently playing basketball overseas, but his legacy as the Shockers’ Junk Yard Dog is still intact.
“A Junk Yard Dog is just a proper word for a dog, day in day out…think of it as a watch dog that no matter what day it is when you go by his property, he’s going to be there,” Kelly said. “You have to have an aggressive tenacity.”
Kelly said that the junkyard mentality is what gives players a more competitive edge along with more responsibility.
“That mentality is what breeds winners,” Kelly said. “You become more reliable, and a man that has major accountability.”
A Junk Yard Dog is known for doing the things that do not show up in the box score, but that never stopped Kelly from accepting his position on the team and doing the most that he can for it.
When it comes to the 2018-19 Shocker roster finding their inner Junk Yard Dog, Kelly had quite a bit of advice to give to the newcomers:
“Keep working on your game, be an everyday guy and keep getting better,” Kelly said. “Get with the coaches get with John Robert Simon and get better.
The work pays off and the money comes, but no work, no bag. You got to have that mindset that you’re not going to lose. Walk with that swag on the court and leave it all on the court.
You also have to be respectful in the community because that’s what carries your legacy through the years when you leave.”