Improved play from Luke Meyer leads to possible professional opportunities
In the 2016-17 season, Central Michigan senior forward Luke Meyer was on the floor, but rarely touched the ball due to the stardom of guards Marcus Keene and Braylon Rayson.
This time around, Meyer has taken on an expanded role of a scorer, rebounder, passer and more as a leader for the Chippewas. Ultimately, he has been called on to do it all.
Last season, the 6-foot-11, 224-pound athlete shot 65-of-134 (48.5 percent) from the field and 18-of-53 (34 percent) from 3-point range.
Through 12 games in the 2017-18 season, Meyer has connected on 39-of-73 (53.4 percent) shots from the field and 10-of-26 (38.5 percent) attempts from downtown.
“My teammates are putting me in good positions,” Meyer said. “I’m just knocking down shots. Everything is coming together offensively for me.”
CMU head coach Keno Davis believes the increase in shooting percentage is due to a change in the players around Meyer.
“Going into his senior year, he was really motivated to focus on improving his game,” Davis said. “The team fits him better (this year). As good of scorers are Rayson and Keene were at the guard position, (Shawn) Roundtree is more of a player who can set your team up. He fits our team better and the players around him have helped as well.”
Keene and Rayson averaged 51.2 points per game last season for the Chippewas before moving to play basketball at the professional level. Even though they scored at a high rate, the duo only helped the Chippewas to a 16-16 record.
Senior guard Josh Kozinski, CMU’s captain, knew someone would have to step up and had a feeling it would be Meyer.
“He knew he was going to have to take on a bigger role after losing over 50 points per game last year,” Kozinski said. “It’s a great example of a guy stepping up for the team.”
Roundtree, even though he is scoring 14.6 points per game, has dished out 4.0 assists per game, which is a team-high.
“As a coach, you want someone that can run a team, score when needed and find the open player,” Davis said. “(Roundtree) is an older player coming in who hasn’t played at this tempo, so there’s no reason to believe he won’t get better.”
Even though Roundtree has the most assists on the team, Meyer believes every player on the team has helped him get open looks to score, especially junior guard Gavin Peppers and senior forward Cecil Williams.
“I think everyone on the team has given me an assist this year,” Meyer said. “When Gavin drives to the basket, he looks for me. Cecil does the same, as well. Everyone on the team looks for me and I’m thankful for that.”
Due to his ability to grow as an all-around player, Davis said there is an opportunity to play professionally in the coming years for his starting center.
“When you’re 6-foot-11, can run the floor, play as hard as he can and spread the floor with the ability to shoot, there’s a professional opportunity next year to be able to continue playing basketball. He’s an outstanding student, but he’s going to have an opportunity to continue his basketball career.”
In order to stay hot through a long season, the native of Addison, Michigan plans to stay confident and continue to shoot the basketball, even if he has a rough night.
“I’m just going to go out and play,” Meyer said. “I’m not going to think about it and just shoot. If I have a rough shooting night, I’ll just keep shooting. The coaches have faith on me, which is awesome.”