COLUMN: Kyle Randall needs help



Senior guard Kyle Randall cannot do it all for the men’s basketball team.

He must not be the only player that Central Michigan can count on.

But if that continues to be the case, look for the Chippewas to continue their downward spiral.

Their 8-6 record is now long gone, and the 9-12 record is what they're dealt after losing six of their last seven games.

In their 70-61 loss to Miami, it was all much of the same.

Randall scored 14 of the last 23 points that CMU tallied in the second half.

Afterward, head coach Keno Davis tried to keep it in perspective, saying he did not know if the Chippewas would win four games this year at one point before the season.

But Randall surprised and helped CMU pull off a few close wins in the non-conference schedule and raised expectations.

To return to success, Randall needs a running mate badly, and there are at least a few candidates for the position who could possibly be ready by time the conference tournament rolls around.

The first player to look at is freshman forward Blake Hibbitts.

He seemed to be etching his place as the second player Central Michigan could count on in the first half Saturday night. He was dropping three-pointers with ease.

And what has not been within his cohorts, but was within him Saturday was the confidence that he possessed.

At one point in the game, he faked as if he was going to pass it but launched the shot, knocking down his second-straight three-pointer to make it 12-8 CMU midway through the first half. He would make two more from beyond the arc before halftime.

But, in the second half, he vanished, not scoring a point.

In the last minute of the game, he had two shots from the three-point line that could have pulled CMU within reach, but they were both missed.

At least there was a sigh of surprise by the crowd that he did miss it.

Another player to look at is obvious, and that is freshman guard Chris Fowler.

He continues to impress with his passing skills. He is eight assists away from breaking the freshman record with 108.

When he starts scoring more points, then he will be a nightmare for the MAC.

Lastly, there is senior guard Finis Craddock.

He is not a player who can vie to be the go-to guy next year when Randall is gone like the other two; His time is now or never.

Normally, it is an enormous reach for a player in his last year to make a leap in scoring at the end of the season, but he has improved throughout this year and has much more to learn in the last month or so in Davis’ system.

The standard for the whole season, as it was after the RedHawks game, is that they just need to keep getting better.

If one of the three players not only improves little by little but makes major strides and aids Randall, then maybe — just maybe — they can surprise MAC teams in March like they are hoping.

And if two players make a leap in improvement then watch out. But if all the weight remains on Randall’s shoulders, hope is lost for this season and they will finish how most thought they would at the beginning.


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