New faces highlight men's basketball's Maroon and Gold game
It was a back and forth affair between members of the Central Michigan men’s basketball team in the annual Maroon and Gold game, which the Maroon side won 60-50.
The Maroon team had members who started last season or played major minutes, plus new transfers Larry Austin Jr., Rob Montgomery and Dallas Morgan.
The gold team was made up of mostly freshman, role players from a season ago and new transfers Kevin Hamlet and Romelo Burrel.
Head coach Keno Davis said there is a clear difference in this team from a year ago from the point guard position, starting with senior guard Shawn Roundtree and Austin.
Austin had an and-one and steal for a slam dunk early in the scrimmage. He continued with knocking down a couple 3-pointers and charging at the basket time and time again.
Last season, Roundtree was second on the team with 33 minutes and 14.8 points per game. He also was the only player with triple figures in assists with 151 on the year.
“Larry and I have a great basketball I.Q.,” Roundtree said. “Once we get it down to where we can just play off of each other it will be even greater.”
CMU lost former center Luke Meyer to graduation, which leaves a couple different options Davis. Redshirt sophomore Innocent Nwoko, Montgomery and Hamlet are expected to take up most of the minutes.
“You have seen Inno’s game develop but we also have a mix of new guys that will show we can play underneath more than we maybe have in past seasons,” Davis said. “We knew we needed help inside but I think we are bringing a new physical nature now.”
Nwoko played in 28 games a season ago, but only averaged 2.8 minutes.
Hamlet transferred from Mineral Area College. He’s listed as a 6-foot-7 forward who averaged 8.3 points and 4.8 boards per game.
Montgomery played major minutes for the Maroon team. The 6-foot-6 forward played for Indian Hills Community College previously, where he averaged 6.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest.
“Everything has been coming along smooth and we’ve been jelling good inside,” Montgomery said. “I think we have a chance to be a special unit this year.”
“Kevin McKay was our guy who could change a game defensively but now you talk about Larry Austin, Shawn Roundtree as a senior and our new inside players,” Davis said. “We have multiple guys who can do it now."
McKay thought there was something about the new energy on defense so far this offseason.
“We were fundamentally sound last year but didn’t have guys talking and feeding off each other,” McKay said. “The new guys we have like Larry and Dallas slap the floor and get us going.”