CMU mens basketball lose key players to transfer portal

The Central Michigan men’s basketball team motivates one another before a game against Miami (Ohio) Tuesday, Jan. 23 in McGuirk Arena. (CM-Life | Jo Kenoshmeg)

After its best season since 2019, Central Michigan men’s basketball seemed to have gained some momentum heading into next year. 

But that might not be the case.

This is because since the transfer portal opened on March 18, six Chippewas have entered the portal. With those players being sophomores Aidan Rubio, Paul McMillan IV and Max Majerle. While the other three are juniors Markus Harding, Jemal Davis and Derrick Butler.

Harding is one of the longest tenured players on the CMU squad, joining the team for the 2022-23 season. In his first year he quickly became a key player starting in 17 of 24 games, while averaging nine points and four rebounds per game. 

This season, Harding was viewed as a leader on the team and started in all 22 games that he appeared in. He averaged 10.2 points per game with 5.2 rebounds per game which ranked second on the team.

Butler who played only one year at CMU transferred in from Eastern Florida State College. It took a few games, but Butler got going offensively against Valparaiso on Dec. 6 where he had 24 points and followed that up against ranked Creighton with 28 points.

He finished his lone season at CMU, averaging 10.7 points per game which ranked third on the team. He also succeeded from beyond the arc, shooting a team high 41% from three-point range this season.

McMillan IV will also only be playing one season at CMU, but he stepped up in some big games. He played in 31 games but only started in three when he stepped in for junior guard Anthony Pritchard who was injured. 

In those games McMillan IV shined having 19 points in one and 25 in each of the other two. He averaged 8.3 points per game. 

Jemal Davis was a key player for the Chippewas this season when coming off the bench. He played in all 31 games but had no starts. In his lone year at CMU, he averaged 5.5 points per game and 2.2 rebounds per game, while also having a career high 19 points against Old Dominion.

For Rubio, he started the first six games of the season until injuries derailed him to the bench where he still found success especially from three. Averaging 6.8 points per game, he had a career high 18 points at Ball State. He also ranked second on the team in three-point percentage at 40%.

Majerle, who is the son of former CMU legend Dan Majerle, redshirted this season so he did not appear in any games. In his freshman season he played in 31 games earning himself 17 starts where he averaged four points per game.

The Chippewas ended the 2023-24 season 18-14 overall and 12-6 in conference play.