Head coach Davis calls non-starter McKay one of ‘best players’

Central Michigan sophomore guard Kevin McKay gets warmed up prior to playing against Miami (Ohio) on Jan. 23 at McGuirk Arena.

Following Central Michigan’s 70-61 loss to Miami (Ohio) on Jan. 23 at McGuirk Arena, head coach Keno Davis called sophomore guard Kevin McKay his star player. 

However, McKay has yet to start a game in his Chippewa career. 

“He’s our best defender and best rebounder,” Davis said. “When you’re the best player, you’re going to get opportunities.”

In the loss to Miami, McKay posted 17 points, eight rebounds, one block and one steal. All of his points came in the second half to give CMU a late opportunity to beat the RedHawks. 

“Kevin has the green light to attack the basket (and) to knock down the open 3-pointer,” Davis said.

McKay has scored more than 10 points in five of the last six games for the Chippewas. In that span, he logged 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per contest. He has scored in double figures nine times this season.

The switch from scoring zero points in the first half to 17 points in the second half against Miami came from being aggressive, McKay said.

"In the second half, I was (being aggressive) and my teammates were finding me."

In spite of heating up in the second half, the sophomore does not plan to take more shots than usual early in games going forward. 

“If the ball comes to me, I’m fine with that,” McKay said. “If not, I’m fine with that too.” 

The 6-foot-5, 222-pound shooting guard plays a backup role to senior guard Josh Kozinski, who has scored in double figures just four times this year. 

Over the same six games as McKay, Kozinski averaged six points, 2.5 rebounds and 0.5 assists. 

“As much as I’ve seen him improve as a player, there’s a lot more you’ll see from McKay in his career here at CMU,” Davis said. 

During the 2017 season, Kozinski, at 6-foot-4, 188 pounds, has posted 5.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game. 

McKay, one of Kozinski’s backups, has averaged 10.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per contest for CMU this season. 

Davis said McKay needs to improve his endurance to expand his role with CMU. 

McKay averages 24.4 minutes per game for the Chippewas. Kozinski only averages 22.9 minutes, but the senior gets the start. 

“(McKay) brings so much energy on the court," Davis said. "Now, it’s about him being able to play that number of minutes and not get too tired.”

In the Chippewas' most recent game, McKay did not start.