CLEVELAND, Ohio - A year ago, Central Michigan was searching for answers at point guard. The Chippewas used four different players at the position throughout a season that ended in the first round of the Mid-American Conference basketball tournament. Enter true freshman point guard Austin McBroom.
This season, in his first year with the Chippewas, the North Hollywood, Calif., native has been able to provide a stability in the back court that was missing last year.
Leading the Chippewas to three wins in the last four games, McBroom's stat line has been among the best in the league. Over the three victories he has averaged 16 points, five assists and just two turnovers, while shooting 14-of-17 at the line. Monday's first-round victory at Bowling Green was keyed by his career-high 20 points.
"Austin is a huge difference," said head coach Ernie Zeigler. "He's playing arguably the best basketball of any freshman in the conference right now."
Tuesday, McBroom finished third in the MAC's Freshman of the Year voting behind Toledo guard Julius Brown, whom the Chippewas will go head-to-head with tonight, and Miami guard Brian Sullivan, and today earned one of just five spots on the league's All-Freshman Team."We are a young team, but we are starting to experience a lot of chemistry, especially here in the last two to three weeks and Austin is a big part of that," said Zeigler.
"Last year, if (leading scorer) Trey (Zeigler) has a game where he struggles like he did at Bowling Green, we don't have a chance," said Zeigler. "But now we've got guys like Austin who can account for that missing point production. Not only is he a really good shooter that you have to guard, but he is starting to know how to make others better."
Starting 29 of his 30 games, McBroom has become the second-highest scoring freshman in the league (10.9 ppg) and ranks second among all players in free throw percentage during conference games (43-50, .860).
"He is going to be in the conversation as one of the top point guards in the league for years to come," said Zeigler. "He is a big-time Division I point guard."