Before kicker Ron Coluzzi was kicking field goals at Kelly/Shorts Stadium, the men’s basketball team was making baskets at McGuirk Arena.
The 2012-13 Chippewas were in action for the first time prior to the CMU homecoming football game and the Maroon squad, comprised of sophomores: Guard Chris Fowler, forward John Simons, forward Blake Hibbitts, guard Austin Stewart, guard Spencer Krannitz and guard Rayshawn Simmons; freshman guard Josh Kozinski and senior center Zach Saylor, ran past the gold team with a strong shooting effort from 3-point range.
“It was good, but that’s what the Maroon squad does,” Krannitz said. “We push it and look for our shot. We all know we can shoot the ball, so that helps a lot.”
Krannitz, along with Hibbitts, Simons, Fowler and Kozinski, all contributed with multiple three-pointers on Saturday afternoon, which allowed the maroon squad to post nearly 80 points in 30 minutes of play.
This isn’t a surprise to anyone who has followed head coach Keno Davis’ career or saw the team last season. With a roster full of youth and a lack of size last season, the offense pushed a high-tempo pace and shot 754 three-pointers, making 33 percent of those attempts.
“We knew last year that we had a team with good shooters on it,” Davis said. “It didn’t mean we were going to shoot well, as they come in as freshmen. It’s going to take some time to develop. It doesn’t mean the way we shot (Saturday) is going to be every game, but we’ve got several guys who are great shooters and can help us win games.”
Krannitz is a perfect example of how the shooters have used the offseason to develop. Of the 11 players who appeared in half of the games last season, 10 attempted a three-pointer and Krannitz shot the second lowest three-point percentage (.245) of those players.
It’s much too early to tell, but during Wednesday’s open practice and Saturday’s scrimmage, Krannitz was knocking down shots both inside and behind the three-point arch with consistency.
“During the end of last season, I was missing my shots when I got in there,” Krannitz said. “I know (the team) is looking for me to go in there and make those shots. During the middle of the season, something got to me and threw me off – maybe the change of the game from high school to college – but now I’m used to it and my shot feels good.”
Simons, Hibbitts and Fowler were also solid from three for the Maroon squad.
The Gold squad was represented by freshmen: Center Milos Cabarkapa, forward Nick Carlos and guard Braylon Rayson; sophomore guards Sheldon Lowman and Derrick Richardson Jr. and senior forward DeAndray Buckley.
Although the Maroon squad consists of mostly the players fans will be seeing a lot of, that doesn’t mean players on the Gold squad like Richardson, who made 11 starts last year, won’t be in the same role this season.
“What we’re doing is we’ll have a top group of Maroon and the next group of Gold, but those teams change,” Davis said. “We’ll change the guys who have been at the top of Gold and who haven’t been on the top of Maroon and we’ll keep rotating those guys over.”
Both squads will be together for the first time this season at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28 when Lake Superior State visits McGuirk Arena for an exhibition game.