Men's basketball to start season healthy and intact
CMU men’s basketball coach Ernie Zeigler could not express how happy he is to start the season with a full, healthy roster at Tuesday’s Media Day.
Last season, CMU started its season with several players out due to injury and ineligibility. The team failed to develop a solid nucleus.
Later, the Chippewas lost senior forward Chris Kellermann to injury just seven games in, further shortening the team’s depth at forward. Junior Marko Spica was already out with an injury.
But this season, Zeigler said he has a full, healthy roster heading into his fourth season.
“When you come to practice and everyone’s on the floor, you realize it’s not a luxury, it’s a blessing,” he said.
The team returns Kellermann and fellow seniors Jordan Bitzer, Robbie Harman and Brandon Ford, juniors Antonio Weary and Marko Spica and sophomore Nick Jordan. Redshirt freshman Zach Saylor returns as well, following a medical redshirt in 2008-09.
Spica and Kellermann return after medical redshirts last season. Zeigler said the versatility they bring will go a long way in helping the team.
“Both of them bring ability to score the basketball,” Zeigler said.
After an offseason that had two players graduate, four leave on mutual terms, an assistant coach leave and one player released from the team, CMU adds seven new players and a new coach to the program.
Incoming freshmen include Joe Estrada, Finis Craddock, Tyler Brown and Sean Day. Juniors Amir Rashid and Jalin Thomas are in their first season at CMU after transferring from junior colleges.
Thomas said the group of incoming players have fit in well with the existing roster.
“We’re all gelling really well,” he said.
CMU’s first exhibition game is against Marygrove at 4:30 p.m. Sunday in Rose Arena.
The team starts the season with five straight home games, the first two being exhibition. CMU’s home opener is against Princeton at noon Nov. 14 in Rose Arena.
“Opening the season at home, I think, is going to be key for us, hoping to catapult ourselves into having a good start,” Zeigler said.