COLUMN: Chris Fowler brings hope for men’s basketball future
The men’s basketball team’s season ended in heart wrenching fashion Monday with a 74-72 overtime loss to Buffalo that gave them a final record of 11-20.
While it will be difficult to get over for Central Michigan, there should be a bright future.
There is one major reason for that.
Freshman guard Chris Fowler will be a wearing the maroon and gold for a while.
He might not lead the Chippewas to the promise land next year, but, sometime in his career, he will give them a legitimate shot to win the Mid-American Conference tournament championship.
The All-MAC freshman had 13 points, nine assists and five steals in his last game of the season.
He drove into the lane with fearlessness getting his first eight points from layups.
His assists were as good as usual. He delivered two passes that were about a half court in length in the second half for two easy baskets.
While it was a steady climb up in improvement for the Southfield native as the season progressed, he made a giant leap in the middle of February.
In his first 23 of his college career, he was averaging 6.3 points and five assists per game
But, after Feb. 9, he scored 13.1 points per game, while dishing 7.8 assists.
His last performance of the season was over-shadowed, and deservedly so, by senior guard Kyle Randall’s 31-point outing.
He has learned from Randall and after a game against Ohio he talked about what he had taken from him, as well as Ohio guard D.J. Cooper.
“One thing I’ve learned from both of them (Cooper and Michigan guard Trey Burke) and even Kyle (Randall) is that there are times to be aggressive,” Fowler said.
CMU has to hope he will be because Fowler will be filling Randall’s shoes next season.
The Chippewas have no one else who can create their own shot.
There would be no bigger beneficiary of his play than starting forwards Blake Hibbitts and John Simons, who are both spot up shooters who would like their defender to have to play help defense on a driving Fowler.
And beneficiaries they should be.
Fowler was more successful than anyone on the team at hitting his shots, making 49.7 percent of them from the field.
If he can work over the summer on his three-point game and make defenders pay for fouling him when he is shooting by practicing free-throws, after making 62.9 percent this season, he will be quite a threat to other MAC teams next season and beyond.
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