MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – The Chippewas will open the doors to McGuirk Arena Wednesday night as the first season under head coach Keno Davis gets underway Wednesday with an exhibition game against Lake Superior State.
Fans will get their first look at the Chippewas against an opponent when the two teams tip off at 7 p.m.
The regular season officially opens Monday at Iowa and the Chippewas will next be home on Friday, Nov. 16.
Lake Superior State Exhibition Notes:
2001 Central Michigan graduate Tim Kisner is one of three Lakers with CMU connections returning to Mount Pleasant. Kisner led the Chippewas in assists from 1997-98 to 2000-01 and in steals each of his first three years, and scored 1,029 career points.
Sophomore guard Jorddan Myrick played in 15 games with the Chippewas last year, making one start. He was sidelined for the last 10 games of the season with an injury. Student assistant coach Ryan Mizner was a student manager for the Chippewas from 2001-04.
Not the First Time:
CMU is 13-4 against LSSU. The two schools are facing each other for the first time since Nov. 30, 1993.
Three Big Ten contests and a pair of tournaments highlight the first non-conference schedule for Keno Davis. The Chippewas open at Iowa, will see Nebraska at the Sun Bowl Invitational Tournament, and then visit Michigan before returning home for the MAC season. The schedule also has CMU playing in the Utah Thanksgiving Tournament, and in road games at Charlotte and Pepperdine, taking the Chippewas to five state in addition to their own.
A New Look: One Returning Starter, Nine Newcomers
Opportunity has presented itself for a large group of newcomers expected to contribute widely during Keno Davis' first season on the Chippewas' bench. Davis has signed nine newcomers since his arrival in April, and will be re-joined by just one starter (Olivier Mbaigoto) from last year's squad. Four letterwinners and a total of seven players from the roster return.
Davis Builds Program for the Long Haul with Young Squad
Just two of the nine newcomers to Davis' first-year roster are transfers, leaving seven who are in their first year of college basketball and looking to be a part of the Chippewas' future success.
"We have built this program for the long haul but we still don't want to sell short what we are capable of accomplishing this year," says Davis.
Davis brought in junior guard/forward DeAndray Buckley from Indian Hills Community College and Kyle Randall, a senior point guard who graduated in three years from UNC Greensboro.
Expect a Run-and-Gun Offense and a Hard Work Ethic
With the two tallest players measuring in at 6-foot-8, the Chippewas' roster has been built for speed. Davis has been known for his high-scoring offenses, and will rely on a three-quarter or full-court pressure defense to dictate the speed of the game and create opportunities for three-point buckets.
"We have built our team for this tempo," said Davis. "We don't have the players that would play in a 40 or 50-point game and slow things down. We have the guys who can push the ball. All of our guys can run. All of our guys can shoot. We want to get out there and run the court each possession and sprint like this is the possession that will win the game.
That speed will require a rotation of 10 or 11 individuals, which has yet to be set in stone as the staff continues to evaluate work-ethic and rebounding. According to Davis, 11 or 12 players are still battling for starting positions.
"I want our fans to leave the arena knowing that the Central Michigan team didn't get out-worked. We were the team that played harder. We were the team diving on the floor, running the court harder. We were the team that looked like they wanted to win more. And the guys who show that day-in and day-out will be the ones who play."
About Coach Keno Davis:
2008 National Coach of the Year Keno Davis was introduced in April as Central Michigan's 20th head men's basketball coach, promising an exciting brand of up-tempo offense as fast as anyone in the country, and a commitment to defense.
Davis took over a Drake team in 2007- 08 that finished the season 28-5, ranked No. 14 in the country and as champions of the Missouri Valley Conference with a 15-3 conference record. That blueprint followed him to Providence College from 2008-11. He guided the Friars to a 19-14 record and a seventh-place in the ultra-competitive Big East Conference on the merits of hard work and dedication.
Following three seasons at Providence, Davis was an analyst for the Big Ten Network last season.