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Tamar Slay glad he chose Marshall University

Former basketball standout to speak at alumni dinner

Photo Provided Beckley native Tamar Slay coaching a middle school basketball team in North Carolina.

VIENNA — As the West Virginia high school basketball player of the year in 1998, Tamar Slay narrowed his college choice to West Virginia University and Marshall University.

Marshall won the recruiting battle for Slay, a standout at Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley.

Slay played basketball for four years at Marshall, averaging 15 points a game over his career. He then played in the National Basketball Association for the New Jersey Nets and the Charlotte Bobcats and played professional basketball overseas, for a total of 12 years.

Slay, 37, now works as a National Basketball Players Association regional representative, mentoring rookie NBA players. Working for the NBA players union, Slay said, he helps to prepare the players for life after basketball.

Slay also coaches youth basketball, teaching the fundamentals of the game and life skills. He conducts basketball clinics, camps and tournaments in West Virginia and Charlotte.

Slay, a 2002 graduate of Marshall and a member of the university’s Athletics Hall of Fame, will be the guest speaker at the Marshall University Alumni of the Mid-Ohio Valley (Thundering Bison Club) scholarship dinner on April 18 at Grand Pointe Conference and Reception Center in Vienna.

“I am definitely excited to talk to Herd fans,” Slay said. It will be his first time speaking at an event in Wood County.

Back to why Slay, who led Woodrow Wilson to two state championships, selected Marshall over WVU — a school he wanted to play for while growing up in West Virginia.

“There was something about Marshall,” Slay said. “It was a tough decision. Marshall’s style (of basketball play) fit my style.”

Greg White, former Mullens High School and Marshall basketball star, was Slay’s coach at Marshall.

The Mountaineers defeated Marshall in Slay’s first three years with the Thundering Herd basketball team. But as a senior, Slay hit the game-winning shot against WVU.

Slay, who lives in Charlotte, keeps in touch with Marshall basketball coach Dan D’Antoni and follows the Thundering Herd’s basketball and football teams. He held a basketball clinic in Huntington last year.

Slay is happy that Cornelius Jackson, a former Oak Hill (W.Va.) High School and Marshall basketball player, has been named an assistant coach at Marshall. Jackson was the West Virginia high school basketball player of the year in 1996.

Slay also knows the new head basketball coach at North Carolina State University, Kevin Keatts, who was an assistant coach at Marshall when Slay played there.

Slay has talked basketball with NBA All-Stars Patrick Ewing, the new head coach at Georgetown University, and Dominique Wilkins. He has played against basketball icon Michael Jordan.

Slay said it is important for athletes, like himself, to give back and try to help younger generations.

“Basketball has been good to me,” Slay said. “I have been truly blessed.”

Describing coaching as his passion, Slay said he would consider becoming a high school basketball coach someday.

And if a special advisory position opened up in the Marshall basketball program, Slay said he would be very interested.

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