CMU Basketball

CMU's Meyer joins international tour

May 15, 2017 | Written By: Keno Davis

May 15, 2017

 

Andy Sneddon, CMUChippweas.com

Central Michigan’s Luke Meyer has been selected to participate in the Reach USA Friendship Tour of the Far East.

Meyer, a 6-foot-10 ½ forward, will join nine other players from around the country on the tour, during which the American squad will play eight games over a two-week period against various professional teams in Asia.

“I’m very excited about learning a new culture and seeing an entirely different part of the world,” said Meyer, who is a senior-to-be at CMU who hails from Addison. “I have never been that far away from home. I know that it will benefit me and help me grow as an individual both on and off the court.

“It will be very interesting to see how the game is played in a different part of the world.”

Meyer, a product design major who carries a 3.23 grade point average, has started every game of his CMU career and has been named to the Academic All-Mid-American Conference in each of the past two seasons.

He averaged 5.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game last season, when the Chippewas finished 16-16. He was second in the team with 36 blocks.

For his career, Meyer has appeared in 97 games, and is averaging 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. He ranks ninth in program history with 88 career blocks.

Permalink | Comments(0)

CMU and Keno Davis Enter Into a New Five-Year Agreement
Keno Davis

CMU and Keno Davis Enter Into a New Five-Year Agreement

April 15, 2015 | Written By: Keno Davis

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Central Michigan Athletics has announced that men's basketball coach Keno Davis has been signed to a new five-year contract.

"Keno Davis has done a fantastic job over the past three years building our program the right way," Athletics Director Dave Heeke said. "Coach Davis and his staff have invested in a process of hard work and patience that is producing success with high quality student athletes on the court, in the classroom and in the community--the essence of our Championship Culture that defines Chippewa Athletics.

"This new contract is competitive while at the same time responsible and includes elements that provide stability for both Coach Davis and the athletic department. The agreement also reinforces the commitment Keno has shown to CMU and this community since his arrival."

The new contract will run through the 2019-20 season. Davis' base salary is $300,000, with another $100,000 for radio, television and personal appearances.

"I am very proud of the hard work and dedication of our staff, administration and student-athletes over the past three seasons and am excited about the bright future of the Central Michigan basketball program," said Davis. "We will continue to build upon our success on and off the court while representing the University, alumni and the community in a positive manner."

Davis engineered one of college basketball's biggest turnarounds in 2014-15. After being selected to finish 11th in the preseason media poll, the Chippewas finished with a 23-9 record and captured their first Mid-American Conference regular season championship in 12 years.

Davis was the architect of one of the nation's most prolific offenses last season. CMU ranked 12th in the NCAA in scoring (78.3 points per game), third in 3-point field goals per game (10.1) and eighth in 3-pointers made, totaling a MAC record 322.

Chris Fowler (first team), John Simons (third team) and Josh Kozinski (all-freshman) earned All-MAC honors, helping CMU reach the championship game of the MAC Tournament and secure a bid to the NIT, the program's first postseason appearance since 2003.

After the season, Davis received MAC and NABC District Coach of the Year honors. Last weekend at the Final Four in Indianapolis, he was named the 2015 winner of the Skip Prosser Award, which is presented annually to a coach who achieves success on the basketball court and also displays moral integrity off of it.

"Keno has provided strong vision and leadership which has produced a program Chippewa fans everywhere can be deeply proud of," Heeke said. "The future of our men's basketball program is incredibly bright."

Permalink | Comments(0)

Davis has CMU, fans fired up; revival 'ahead of schedule'
(Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast AP)

Davis has CMU, fans fired up; revival 'ahead of schedule'

February 16, 2015 | Written By: Mark Snyder

MT. PLEASANT – All he wanted was their attention.

Central Michigan was hosting Eastern Michigan at McGuirk Arena on Jan. 24, and the Chippewas were huddled around coach Keno Davis as they had been every game for his first 21/2 years.

Almost always, their eyes were locked on him before tip-off, getting the crucial final message.

Not that afternoon, however.

"You see their eyes wandering around and the smiles on their faces," Davis recalled Monday in his Rose Center office.

Instead of snapping at them, he understood the moment.

For one of the first times in his tenure, there was a real crowd — excited and vibrant — with 4,041 fans on that Saturday, reminding the Chippewas what home felt like.

"It's nice for them to be able to do it," Davis said. "Because these are not guys that are taking that for granted. Because the whole team had seen the days when there was no one in there and you could hear people ... what they said."

For those first two years, what they said often was frustrating.

That's what happens at a program that wins 21 games in two years.

Apathy. Lack of interest.

Suddenly, there was energy, excitement, even electricity in that 65-51 win.

A week later, 4,403 came for a game against Ohio, and last weekend a game against Western Michigan drew 5,350, a sellout.

CMU is one game behind first-place Toledo in the Mid-American Conference's West Division, but the Chips held the tiebreaker over the Rockets thanks to a Jan. 6 win there.

In the wide-open MAC, the final month will determine the Chippewas' seeding in the conference tournament, which is heavily slanted toward the top-two teams.

Yet this conversation about what's next is even beyond Davis' expectations. "We're ahead of schedule," he said this week.

After Tuesday's win at Ohio to improve to 17-5, 7-4 in the MAC, the third-year coach was surprised by the acceleration.

"As we looked forward to Year 3, we would have hoped that we would be truly competitive," Davis said. "Maybe not a winning program or a contending-for-championship program, but when you stepped on the court, you felt like it wasn't apples and oranges out there. You really could compete against the other teams and have a realistic chance of having a winning season.

"But to be able with nine to 10 games remaining to have already clinched a winning season puts us in a really good position, not just for the rest of the year, but for years to come. To be able to cross those hurdles, take pressure off you and allow you to do other things in your program to be successful."

It's no surprise to athletic director Dave Heeke, who demonstrated his unconventional approach to Davis over the past two years.

Years of 12 and 15 wins got Davis fired at Providence. Years of 11 and 10 wins at CMU got him reassurance from bosses.

Instead of Davis asking them to be patient, they were telling him they believed and could see the results in the community, the classroom and the recruiting, even if not the games.

This season has provided validation.

Leaning on Davis' up-tempo, bombs-away style, the Chippewas entered Tuesday ranked sixth nationally in scoring (80.9 points per game) and third in three-point field goals per game (10.6).

The engine is run by powerful guard Chris Fowler, averaging 15.8 points and six assists entering Tuesday, and forward John Simons, a wicked mismatch at 6-feet-8 as he was averaging 11.3 points and 6.1 rebounds but still shooting nearly 46% from three-point range.

"Our confidence and our work put in during the off-season has led this to be a successful season," said Fowler, named MAC player of the week Monday after a 42-point game (with a broken thumb) a week ago. "These guys are all self-motivated."

He noticed a different vibe during the preseason, when players were arriving early and staying late, putting in solo work. The difference between what they were told to do and what they chose stood out to him.

But even when the season began, they needed proof in games.

A nonconference schedule littered with no-name opponents had only two moments of truth: at Bradley and at Northwestern.

Bradley dominated the glass and shot well, exposing some concerns.

But then the Dec. 17 trip to Northwestern became a landmark, an 80-67 victory in which the Chippewas controlled the game.

Davis felt the shift at that moment. A team that went 2-13 on the road last season had its first road win over a Big Ten team since 2007 and a reference point that this could be different.

"We always thought we would have a chance, but you never really know until you start winning games," said Simons, who is from Cadillac and grew up watching CMU games. "In the back of our mind, we always felt we had the pieces put together, especially when we got a few new freshman big guys. Because last year, we struggled when we were smaller. When they came in, we thought we had a chance.

"Maybe we're a little further along than people thought we would be."

There's that expectation again.

"I hadn't given it a lot of thought, why we're ahead of schedule," Davis said. "Part of it is we have several guys. As a coach, you're always looking for that one special player that's going to come in and work and put in the extra time to lead the team. Chris Fowler no doubt is that player. But I'm not so sure the reason for our rapid success is we have some other players who have followed and are trying to lead as well. It's not just Chris. He gets a lot of the publicity, and rightly so.

"But a Rayshawn Simmons, a John Simons have really stepped up as leaders as well. When you have two or three guys like that, as a coach you don't take that for granted because it doesn't come around that often."

Players insist they haven't talked about that four-letter acronym looming in the middle of March.

No one's banking that this will be the Chippewas' first NCAA tournament team since 2003, but in a conference where the top-six teams entered this week separated by one game, there's no reason they're out of it, either.

If they fall short with a roster that only has one senior — and he's coming off the bench — there's optimism ahead.

"You're not looking too far ahead," Davis said, "but when you do allow yourself to do that … we don't feel like it's going be a jump up one year and have success and then drop back down to the pack. When you know that and believe it, there's not as much pressure. … Our window of opportunity is for the foreseeable future.

"We're going to be at that point where we can say we're going to consistently compete for championships year in and year out."

 

Contact Mark Snyder: msnyder@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @mark__snyder.

 

The Davis file

Who: Keno Davis, third-year Central Michigan men's basketball coach.

Age: 42.

College: Iowa.

Previous jobs: Providence coach (46-50 in 2008-11), Drake coach (28-5 in 2007-08).

CMU RECORD

 

YEAR

W-L

MAC

PLACE

2012-13

11-20

4-12

5th

2013-14

10-21

3-15

5th

2014-15

16-5

6-4

2nd 

Total

37-46

13-31

Permalink | Comments(0)

Men's Basketball Excelling in the Classroom
CMU head coach Keno Davis

Men's Basketball Excelling in the Classroom

January 5, 2015 | Written By: Keno Davis

The CMU men's basketball team completed the 2014 fall semester with a 3.17 cumulative GPA

 

Jan. 5, 2015

 

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - The Central Michigan men's basketball team completed the 2014 fall semester with a 3.17 cumulative grade point average.

Five Chippewas, including Academic All-America candidates Blake HibbittsChris Fowler and John Simons, recorded a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Simons was at 3.95, Hibbitts at 3.85, and Fowler at 3.52.

Fowler and Simons both earned Academic All-MAC honors last season, and three others, including Hibbitts and Austin Stewart, received honorable mention.

The team cumulative GPA is now at 3.15.

"The student-athletes should be commended for their hard work in the classroom, and the way they represent CMU and the Mount Pleasant community," coach Keno Davis said. "We will continue to build the program as we strive for greatness academically and athletically."

In 2013, CMU was one of only 19 NCAA Division I schools to receive the Team Academic Excellence Award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches, which recognizes outstanding academic achievement by a team with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better.

Permalink | Comments(0)

Coach Keno Davis ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

August 21, 2014 | Written By: Keno Davis

Coach Keno Davis accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in front of over 2,000 CMU freshmen. He challenges the 2014-15 CMU Men's Basketball Team. Fire Up Chips!!

 

Permalink | Comments(0)

Recruiting Trail Heats Up in July for CMU Basketball Staff

July 25, 2014 | Written By: Keno Davis

http://www.cmuchippewas.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/072514aaa.html

 

July 25, 2014

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - For the CMU basketball coaching staff, the month of July is prime time for the all-important duty of recruiting. And this summer, like last year, head coach Keno Davis and his assistants have been scouring the Midwest for top talent.

It was a different story two summers ago after Davis was hired in the spring of 2012. With only three players returning from the previous season, Davis and his staff weren't able to immediately make recruiting in-roads during the summer but instead decided to spend the predominance of their time focusing on preparing for the upcoming year.

"We believed that if we were to only win two or three games that first season, it would be almost impossible to recruit for the foreseeable future," said Davis. "That first year was important not only to be able to have some success, but we needed to set the tone and lay a foundation for the program."

Fast forward to this summer. Through a lot of hard work and diligence by Davis and his staff, those vital recruiting roots have been firmly established and the fruits of that labor are coming to bear. The prospects for the future are bright and excitement for the program is beginning to build.

This year, the program will welcome three highly regarded freshmen in 6-11 forward Luke Meyer, 6-81/2 forward DaRohn Scott and 6-3 guard Filip Medjo, who are expected to immediately challenge for playing time or add crucial depth.

"The credit to our recruiting success goes to the assistant coaches and their tireless work in recruiting the right fit for CMU," said Davis. "When we talk about the right fit, we take in to account how driven the recruit is to succeed in college both in the classroom and on the court."

With the end of July drawing near, the CMU basketball staff will embark on its final recruiting session of the month buoyed by its recent success and aiming for the next piece to add to program puzzle, knowing that when they return to campus they will be able to reap the benefits of their prior recruiting successes on the court in 2014-15.

Central Michigan men's basketball is on Twitter. Follow head coach Keno Davis (@CoachKenoDavis) and the program's official Twitter account (@CMUMensBball) to get insider news and information and team updates. The Chippewas are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CMUMensBBall.

 

*Courtsey of CMUChippewas.com

Permalink | Comments(0)
Technorati

2013-14 Season Review

May 26, 2014 | Written By: Keno Davis

Permalink | Comments(0)

CMU Announces Highly Regarded 2014 Recruiting Class

April 17, 2014 | Written By: Keno Davis

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Central Michigan head coach Keno Davis announced the signing of two players to National Letters of Intent on Thursday. DaRohn Scott, a 6-8½ forward from Grand Rapids, and Filip Medjo, a 6-3 guard from Belgrade, Serbia, will join 6-10 forward Luke Meyer, who signed with the Chippewas in the fall, to comprise Davis’ highly regarded 2014 recruiting class.

“Not only have the immediate needs for next year’s team been addressed with this recruiting class but the talent and competitive drive of the players will help us become an elite team in the MAC for years to come,” said Davis.

Scott averaged a double-double as a senior at Grand Rapids Christian High School, posting 10.8 points and 11.4 rebounds in addition to 5.2 blocks per game. He was rated as the eighth best player in Michigan by ESPN, selecting the Chippewas over Wake Forest and Western Michigan.

“DaRohn is an extremely gifted young man who can give us a physical dimension to our game, as well as the ability to finish plays at the basket,” said Davis.

“The additions of DaRohn at 6-8½ and Luke Meyer at 6-10, along with 7-0 Milos Cabarkapa, will give our team an inside presence both defensively and on the boards next season.” 

Medjo comes to from CMU via Impact Academy in Florida, the same school that produced fellow Serbian Cabarkapa. Medjo averaged 20 points, six rebounds and six assists per game as a senior, highlighted by a 39-point effort and a 29 point-17 rebound performance.

“Filip is a strong, athletic talent who will be an important addition to our backcourt, as he possesses the ability to score equally from the perimeter and off the dribble,” said Davis.

Meyer is a two-time Associated Press Class C First Team All-State honoree who averaged 17.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, three blocks and two steals while shooting 57 percent from the field as a senior at Addison (Mich.) High School.

“The culmination of hard work in recruiting put forth by the assistant coaches over the past two years is paying off and will continue to do so in the future,” said Davis. “I am looking forward to getting this group on campus and working together as a team toward our goals for the upcoming season.”

Scott, Medjo and Meyer will join a young but experienced Chippewas squad that returns all five starters and 96 percent of its scoring from the 2013-14 team. Included in that group is All-MAC guard Chris Fowler, who ranked near the top of the conference in scoring, assists, steals and assist/turnover ratio last season, forward Blake Hibbitts, who moved into the top 10 in program history in three-point shooting in 2014, and forward John Simons, the team’s leading rebounder the last two seasons.

Central Michigan men’s basketball is on Twitter. Follow head coach Keno Davis (@CoachKenoDavis) and the program’s official Twitter account (@CMUMensBBall) to get insider news and information and team updates. The Chippewas are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CMUMensBBall.

 

*courtsey of CMUChippewas.com

Permalink | Comments(0)

Men's Basketball Insider - March 6, 2014

March 6, 2014 | Written By: Keno Davis

Permalink | Comments(0)

CMU Men's Basketball Insider - November 20, 2013

December 11, 2013 | Written By: Keno Davis

Permalink | Comments(0)

Mic'd up for the First Practice of the 2013-14 Season

September 28, 2013 | Written By: Keno Davis

Coach Keno Davis is mic'd up for the first practice of the 2013-2014 basketball season!

Permalink | Comments(0)

Kyle Randall Begins Pro Journey with NBA Summer League Experience

August 2, 2013 | Written By: CMU Athletic Communications

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Former Central Michigan point guard Kyle Randall got his first taste of professional basketball last month, appearing in three games for the Sacramento Kings' NBA summer league squad.

The Kings played five games at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center as part of the Las Vegas summer league, which ran from July 12-22.

Randall played a total of 33 minutes in his three appearances. In his debut against Golden State on July 15, he scored three points, grabbed two rebounds and handed out two assists in 10 minutes of action. He posted two rebounds, three assists and a steal in 12 minutes two days later against Minnesota, then tallied two points, one rebound, two assists and two steals in 11 minutes against Atlanta in the Kings' summer league finale on July 19.

"I know some other people had some doubts, but I reassured myself that I can play at that level," Randall said. "Obviously I have to keep improving, and there are definitely some noticeable things in my game I can improve on. I always thought I can compete at that level, and I think I answered a lot of questions for other people who didn't think that I could."

Along with providing valuable playing experience against NBA competition, the summer league served as an educational opportunity for Randall to familiarize himself with the lifestyle of an NBA player.

"That was great to take in," said Randall. "They also had a rookie orientation while we were there that talked about finances, marketing plans and things like that. The NBA just did a really nice job of incorporating everything about the NBA experience."

Randall emerged as a dynamic offensive threat in his one season in Mount Pleasant, leading the Mid-American Conference in scoring (18.3 ppg) and earning All-MAC and NABC All-District second team accolades. He credits CMU head coach Keno Davis and his staff for giving him an opportunity to excel and helping prepare him for the next level of competition.

"The coaches knew that I wanted to continue to play after college, so they coached me like a pro," Randall said. "They all have ties overseas or in the NBA, so they understand what it takes to be successful at that level. They gave me the freedom to play my game within the offense, and that really boosted my self-confidence."

Davis, in turn, cannot overstate the impact Randall had on the program during his relatively short time as a Chippewa.

"He fit perfectly for what we needed in our first year here," Davis said of Randall. "We knew we had mostly very young players who were hard workers but inexperienced. We knew the type of character Kyle has, which showed in the fact that he had graduated in three years, so we were hopeful he would be a leader for us during the transition year. In our style of play, we want to be explosive over the entire 94 feet of the floor both offensively and defensively, and Kyle was a perfect fit for that system. We were able to play to his strengths, but for him to lead the conference in scoring, I think was beyond any of our expectations.

"I think the impact that Kyle Randall had here, for the most part, hasn't been seen yet," Davis said. "How our freshmen and other young players develop will be a direct result of the impact and influence Kyle had on them."

So what's next for Randall? He currently is fielding contract offers from professional teams in Europe and plans to spend the 2013-14 season playing abroad.

"The journey to the NBA is still going," he said. "I'm going to play overseas this coming season, then I'll do the NBA summer league again next summer and start that process again."

And while Randall continues chasing his dream, Davis will continue to use him as a model for the type of student-athlete he wants in his program at CMU.

"We tell recruits that we want you to be able to graduate from Central Michigan with opportunities, whether those opportunities are in the job market or continuing your basketball career," Davis said. "Kyle is a great example of that. He is going to have decisions to make, both in continuing to play basketball and when he enters the job market. Having those types of opportunities available is what will help continue to attract quality student-athletes to Central Michigan in the future."

 

Link to Article

Permalink | Comments(0)

Central Michigan Men's Basketball Insider: Season Review

April 17, 2013 | Written By: Keno Davis

Coach Keno Davis gives us his thoughts on his first season as Head Coach with the Chippewas.

 

Permalink | Comments(0)

Central Michigan's Keno Davis: Video

March 5, 2013 | Written By: Keno Davis

Listen to Coach Keno Davis Mic'd up at a recent Central Michigan Practice.

Permalink | Comments(0)

Central Michigan's Keno Davis: A Chip off the old block

November 9, 2012 | Written By: Keno Davis

Detroit Free Press

November 7, 2012
 

Central Michigan's Keno Davis: A Chip off the old block

By Mark Snyder
Detroit Free Press Sports Writer

When Central Michigan athletic director Dave Heeke set out to find a new basketball coach, he had to face reality.

His first basketball coaching hire, Ernie Zeigler, approached the job from the outside, examining how other programs succeeded.

Over Zeigler's six years, during which the Chippewas were 75-111, Heeke learned a valuable lesson: Central Michigan can't live like everyone else.

"It's a niche program," Heeke said this summer, "a niche approach to having a system that brings in the right players."

He described Zeigler's approach as, "Let's just bring in a lot of players and see where we can get."

To be fair to Zeigler, that was what Central asked for when it hired the noted recruiter who would bring players to Mt. Pleasant who wouldn't come before. He brought in players, but it never added up to on-court success.

So when Heeke fired Zeigler after last season, he sought a coach who would build.

Heeke was selling a more attractive job than he was six years earlier, months after he took over as AD. Now he could offer a renovated Rose Arena (now the McGuirk Arena) with an attached, dedicated practice facility, and more financial support.

One of Central Michigan's best selling points came from a rival, Ohio University, which reached the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16 -- a reminder to all that a quick turnaround is possible.

So Mt. Pleasant was attractive. And Keno Davis was available.

A proven winner

There aren't many accoutrements in Davis' windowless, corner office in the McGuirk: A big-screen television for watching film, a prominent desk, couches, white walls and a few photos.

No frills -- except for three large trophies behind the desk.

In the Central Michigan athletic department, especially in the men's basketball program, those are foreign objects.

The Chippewas have reached one NCAA tournament in the past 25 years, and that was a decade ago. In the past 21 years, they've had four coaches who have combined for a 211-388 record and .352 winning percentage.

So when Davis, 40, unpacked those trophies -- as national coach of the year in 2007-08 when he led the 28-5 Drake Bulldogs -- there was instant credibility.

"You saw what he did at Drake, a consistently underperforming program -- I don't think they'd had a winning season for 20 years," Heeke said.

After one year as head coach at Drake (and four as an assistant), Davis jumped to Providence, only to be fired three years later.

But Heeke had a wide view of Davis while watching him try to compete with the Big East monsters with few resources and player limitations. Heeke also saw in Davis -- who spent a year analyzing games on the Big Ten Network -- a Midwest familiarity.

Meanwhile, Davis, who was fired at Providence with five years remaining on his contract, had the flexibility to be selective, and he felt Central Michigan was a perfect fit.

Charting his own course

Davis barely knew there were other professions when he was growing up.

His father, Tom Davis, had three college head coaching jobs in Keno's first 14 years, before finally finding the right fit at Iowa, where he coached in 1986-99.

His son stood by, never running wild on the court but always around it, watching and listening, understanding the demands on his father and his family.

Never a star player, even in high school, Keno may have been good enough to play at a smaller, nonscholarship college, but instead he chose Iowa, where he was a student assistant.

"I didn't want to be on the team," Davis said, "I didn't want to have a uniform. I didn't deserve it."

Staying in Iowa City reinforced his career path. He spent eight years as an assistant at Southern Indiana and Southeast Missouri State, paying his dues as coaches without famous fathers would.

When his father took the job at Drake in 2003, Keno joined as an assistant and, 2 1/2 years into the job, the Drake administration made him the coach-in-waiting.

That positioned him to spend a year and a half recruiting players who would fit his up-tempo, pressure style, the one he learned alongside his father.

"Having your father in a fishbowl that Iowa is with basketball, football and wrestling ... everybody's going to know who you are," Keno said. "That's kind of the negative, but there are a lot of positives.

"It's the only way I've ever known. I was going to be scrutinized if I changed something my father didn't do offensively and defensively. One of the best pieces of advice coaching-wise from him was, 'You've got to go with what you believe.' "

Handed the keys in 2007-08, he only had to start the car.

Magical season

The Bulldogs were picked ninth in the Missouri Valley Conference. There was one returning starter, and the other returnees were a three-year walk-on point guard, a power forward walk-on, a shooting guard who had averaged 4.5 points as a junior and a small forward who lost his job on the previous year's 17-win team.

Yet they loved Davis, and he loved them back.

"We weren't that fast, we weren't that deep, but we were a pretty tight-knit group," said Klayton Korver, a forward who set the school record for games played. "He gave us a ton of confidence. A lot of coaches are very controlling and 'You run my thing my way.' I thought it was a great coaching job. You guys know what you're doing. He just guided us. Incredible confidence."

All those years of watching allowed Davis to go his own way. He rarely screamed; he always taught and showed no pretense.

"I've tried to be every year more positive than the year before," Davis said. "The most success we've had at Drake that one year, we went in without any expectations, and I told them I wasn't going to yell at them after losses as long as they worked hard.

"I want you to take that shot. I don't care if you miss it, I'm not going to take you out. It was that kind of attitude, that message and nature that allowed a team to have that kind of success. When expectations are higher, you change as a coach and you shouldn't. ... You should reward those teams that bring it every moment."

It energized the players, who had the man who recruited them now guiding them. In mid-December that year, Drake won at Iowa for the first time in 20 years; by late January they were 16-1, cruising through The Valley and ranked for the first time in 33 years. The 20th win came Feb. 2, the first time at Drake since 1971. The MVC conference and tournament titles followed for the first time since that 1971 season.

However, in the NCAA tournament, the No. 5 seed Bulldogs were upset by a last-second, overtime shot in the first round.

Weeks later, Davis took an offer reported to be nearly $1 million per year from Providence.

Lessons learned

The three years in Rhode Island taught Davis what not to do.

Don't bend to recruit players -- recruit the person as well. Embrace where you are -- not where others think you should be. Stay with your strategy. Be patient.

None of those was achievable with the pressure at Providence, yet all seem within reach in Mt. Pleasant.

Heeke gave Davis a five-year contract for $300,000 per year and told him he knows it will take time.

When most of the team left after Zeigler's firing -- including Zeigler's talented son, Trey -- Davis was left with a new scenario: five returning players, only one who averaged more than three points.

For the coaches, that meant filling out this year's team immediately. As assistants, Davis brought former NBA forward Kevin Gamble with him from Providence; a former Southeast Missouri State player, Kyle Gerdeman, from Davis' time there; and former Oakland University and CMU assistant Jeff Smith.

Without a dominant player, playing time, the offense and the defense are all wide open.

"He's more of a player's coach," said guard Austin Keel, one of the holdovers. "He teaches the game more, the fundamentals instead of just going out there to play. He's teaching ways with that criticism you can manipulate the game and produce more."

No one in Mt. Pleasant is expecting this group to compete at the top of the MAC West. Yet three wins on this summer's trip to the Bahamas -- averaging 113 points per game -- provided confidence and optimism, even if it's distant.

Along with the mantra of patience.

"I like that calmness," Heeke said. "We needed some stability, some solid foundational elements to calm things here. It's going to be a process to rebuild ... the program. He's got those shoulders and demeanor to weather the storm."

In Mt. Pleasant, optimism is a rare commodity.

"We need to break the cycle," Heeke said. "We need to have a successful program here. The '70s were a terrific time, but that's a long time ago for college basketball."

Contact Mark Snyder: msnyder@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @mark__snyder.

More Details: The book on Keno

Who: Keno Davis, 40, first-year men’s basketball coach at Central Michigan.

Personal: Son of longtime college basketball coach Tom Davis; Keno was born in Pennsylvania and graduated from Iowa, where his father coached in 1986-99; wife Krista, children Mara and Brady.

Coaching career

1995-97: Assistant coach, Southern Indiana.

1997-2003: Assistant coach, Southeast Missouri State.

2003-07: Assistant coach, Drake.

2007-08: Head coach, Drake (28-5).

2008-11: Head coach, Providence (64-86).


 

Permalink | Comments(0)

Start of the school year

October 2, 2012 | Written By: Keno Davis

We are off to a great start to the school year at Central Michigan University!  Click below to see the current video.

Pre-preseason interview with Coach Keno Davis

 

Coach Keno Davis

@CoachKenoDavis

Keno Davis Facebook Page

Permalink | Comments(0)