Head coach Keno Davis was not so sure in August if senior Zach Saylor was going to be a part of the basketball team this season.
Saylor did not know either, so Davis had to re-recruit him to Central Michigan.
Now, both could not be happier about the decision Saylor made to come back after he led CMU in points against Olivet Friday at McGuirk Arena with 14 – a career-high.
“(Re-recruiting him) looks like a pretty good move right now,” Davis said with a smile. “I knew what kind of impact he would have with us.”
Saylor said Davis told him to play on the team and do something he loves.
“Probably one of the best decisions I made, coming back and playing here,” he said.
Saylor made six of 12 shots and led the team in rebounds with six against the Comets.
He does not have a plethora of post moves. Most times his back is to his defender and then he hooks it toward the basket.
He was not used much on the offensive end against Iowa Monday, scoring four points. But in an exhibition game against Lake Superior State, he led the team with 17 points.
Davis said that is the kind of season he is going to have, and he is completely fine with it.
“Every good team has a Zach Saylor on it,” Davis said. “He’s not going to play well each and every day, but he’s going to play hard, and, as a coach, you can’t be upset with Zach Saylor when he doesn’t have a good game because you know he’s giving everything he’s got out there.”
Things did not start well for Saylor Friday.
Trying to score the first points of the game for the Chippewas, he missed a dunk, and after getting fouled on another dunk attempt moments later, he missed both free throws.
But at the end of the game, he made both shots from the free throw line for good measure.
“Down years” at CMU
Saylor’s first three years at CMU were plagued with injuries. On Friday, he was happy to say he is healthy.
“It’s my baby,” he said as he patted his right shoulder. “(I’ve) been through thick and thin with it, but I’ve managed to make it work.”
He said taking the time off in the summer helped.
“It was a blessing in disguise,” he said. “I had a little break this summer to see what I love; to see what I liked to do and, actually, getting the time off really helped my shoulder and helped me get back to a normal state.”
“He’s had the down years … he understands about how valuable it is to be out on the court,” Davis said.