COLUMN: The silver lining on a dark men's basketball cloud
As the losses continue to pile up for the Central Michigan men's basketball team, one CMU player is performing like his team is undefeated.
Sophomore point guard Chris Fowler is the undeniable heart and soul of the Chippewas this season.
While the men collectively struggle through conference play, Fowler has been individually successful. His performance is essential and his energy unmatched.
Fowler leads CMU in points (18) and assists (5) per game. Last week, he broke into the top 10 in all-time assist leaders in program history with his 291st career assist in a loss to NIU.
The Chippewas have found themselves both losing and winning by more than 20 points at different points this season. While their overall play is in flux, Fowler’s vigor remains constant regardless of the scoreboard.
He possesses a coveted position. When the game is on the line, the team puts the ball in his hands.
In CMU’s first Mid-American Conference victory of the season against Kent State, Fowler made several key drives to the net in the closing moments. Without him, the Chippewas would still be winless in MAC play.
Fowler has defined toughness this season. Only the thick-skinned players drive to the net with such confidence and determination.
The sophomore has been slapped, poked, prodded and fouled on his way to the hoop by some of the most intimidating big men in the MAC this year. Fowler is never fearful.
The Detroit-native's bravery is not limited to the hardwood. As CMU falls again and again to conference opponents, he defends and commends his team.
His honesty humanizes him and his thirst for a higher standard motivates the rest of his team.
During timeouts before key moments in games, Fowler can be seen with his arms around his teammates, assuring them of their ability and communicating the task at hand.
He calls himself a facilitator of the basketball, while critics call him the saving grace of an otherwise lifeless hoops team. Like the rest of the Chippewas, he is young, but shows the most rapid maturity rate of the group.
Throughout the last minute of the last game of CMU’s season, Fowler will give 100 percent. He is the last person who deserves to lose at the rate the Chippewas are.
As the lynchpin of the men’s basketball team continues to fight for MAC victories, his superior play begs the question:
Where would the Chippewas be without him?