Sunday, October 21, 2012

Keno Davis thoughts from yesterday's open scrimmage

I attended the first hour-plus of Saturday's CMU men's basketball scrimmage and spoke with head coach Keno Davis halfway through.

As far as my own impressions go, here is what I liked:

- The Chippewas play very fast and have plenty of shooters.
- Freshman point guard Chris Fowler along with senior point guard Kyle Randall are the perfect fits for this system. Fowler really impressed me and will be one to watch this year.
- There are plenty of 3-point shooters and guys like Austin Keel will have plenty of open looks in this offense.
- Not a lot of size inside, but it appears that everyone CMU does have wants to scrap and claw for rebounds. It might be a better team in that area than people think, just because Davis stresses the importance of the glass.
- I don't know much about freshman guard/forward Spencer Krannitz other than he averaged 30 points per game his senior year at North Muskegon, but the kid has a very nice shooting stroke. Could be a solid performer in this offense in the years to come.
- Not great defense played by CMU in the scrimmage, but senior guard Finis Craddock stepped into a couple passing lanes and was aggressive defensively. He also ran the point guard spot some and looked confident.

Here is what coach Davis had to say:

His overall thoughts:
"We hadn't had the opportunity to have officials in, we haven't had the opportunity to scrimmage, or have people in the stands. The nice thing about having the opportunity like we have today is to show the fans where we are at, then next week we will have another scrimmage at the same time and hopefully we will have some more fans come. The goal is to improve every day through the hard work that we have shown and continue to show throughout the season."

Who impressed him:
"Inside, Olivier Mbaigoto and Zach Saylor that are coming back for their senior year. They've got a chance to help our younger players. They've been through it before. They've got some size, they've got some strength. They understand what it's going to be like. So you add in some older inside players with some younger players and it should be a good mix."

Talking about his point guards:
"Our number one emphasis in recruiting was finding solid point guard play. Since we knew we would have trouble getting size late and we didn't want to take any projects, we wanted guys that could play right away. We wanted true point guards that could play right away, so I went out and saw every point guard possible. To be able to find two guys like Chris Fowler and Kyle Randall, plus a guy like D.J. Richardson who is playing off the ball right now but working on his point guard play, it really put the ball in place right away for us. They are all working very hard for us."

On whether the team is playing as fast as he wants:
"We're going to be faster as we play against bigger, slower teams. When we play against each other, it's kind of a catch-22. We want to contain the other team in the scrimmage, because that is what they do best as well. It's going to be easier to guard out on the perimeter as we get into the season because our opponents won't have as many good shooters as we have. If anything, this allows us to build up to where we want to be when Nov. 7 hits."

I also asked Davis a couple additional questions about putting the program together and finding pieces that fit his system so quickly, but I plan on using that stuff for a recruiting story sometime in the near future as it gets closer to the start of the season.


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