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When Coach Gregg Marshall's Winthrop University Men's Basketball team heads to the NCAA Tournament, the Eagles will have a taste of WWE in their corner as they fight their way through March. The Eagles have begun the unique tradition of awarding after each game the Junkyard Dog award to the most deserving player.

According to Marshall, the ritual began when, "we were referred to as a bunch of Junkyard Dogs in some early games, and at one game in particular at Wisconsin, the announcer said, ‘Gregg Marshall's team always comes at you like junkyard dogs.'"

A friend of Marshall's, who happens to be a psychologist, took the reference and along with Marshall, spun it to create the unique award. "My friend went on eBay and bought the Junkyard Dog figure in its original case," said Marshall, "and at my friends urging, I started awarding the figure to the player on my team who best exemplifies the term junkyard dog during the game."

Much like WWE Hall of Famer Junkyard Dog, for who the award is named, the recipient of the Junkyard Dog award exhibits, "toughness, hustle, and the little things," said Marshall. "It doesn't have to be the player who scores the most points; it could be the player with the most rebounds, the player who takes the most charges, or the player who gets the most floor burns."

Marshall, the 2007 District III Coach of the Year after leading the Winthrop Eagles to a record of 28-4, was unsure that handing out the award would catch on with his team. "I was skeptical at first, but it has been well received by all my players."

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