RICHMOND, Ky. – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team has started official preseason practice, and head coach Dan McHale likes what he has seen from the Colonels so far.
“This is just a really fun group of guys to coach,” McHale said. “The competition from 1-14 is phenomenal right now. We have a lot of guys vying for playing time, but they’re all still playing for each other, and that’s what I love about this team.”
EKU returns two starters – sophomore forward Nick Mayo and senior guard Isaac McGlone – from a team that ranked 18th nationally in scoring (80.5 points-per-game) and broke the school record for single-season field goal percentage (49.1) in 2015-16. The Colonels finished last season with a 15-16 mark.
Mayo was voted the Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year and first-team All-OVC after averaging 14.5 points-per-game and 4.9 rebounds-per-game during his rookie campaign in Richmond. McGlone started 30 games last season and ranked eighth in the OVC in three-point field goal percentage (40.6). He also dished out 57 assists and committed only 10 turnovers on the year.
Senior sharpshooter Jaylen Babb-Harrison (led the OVC in three-point field goal percentage at 45.3) and sophomore guard Dujuanta Weaver (played in 17 games before suffering a season-ending injury) also return for the Colonels, as do junior Daniel Parke and sophomore Kirkland Humphrey.
McHale will look for contributions from a variety of new faces, including transfers Rio Adams, Dillon Avare and Zach Charles, and freshmen Marlon Adams, Lachlan Anderson, Parker Chitty, DeAndre Dishman, Asante Gist and Trevor Hill.
“I have to give the veterans a lot of credit,” McHale said. “They have really embraced all of these guys, and the new guys have embraced the leadership the veterans have given them. This is a very, very close team. I’m shocked at how close these guys have became in such a short time, and we still have a long way to go, on the court and off the court. Isaac, Jaylen, Nick and Tay have done a great job leading, and we have some willing learners in the new guys who really want to get better.”
EKU hosts IUPUI in its season opener on Nov. 11 at 8:00 p.m.
EKU Athletics Photo