Youth Shines In Men’s Basketball Exhibition

Ryan Jones, Sports Editor

The new-look men’s basketball team made a name for itself in their first game together, hitting poster dunks and deep threes on their way to a 40-point route of Coast Guard Academy.

Central Connecticut played in a much faster-paced offense than last season’s and rolled out a deep lineup. Nine Blue Devils played double-digit minutes, with five scoring in double figures.

“It has to do with the athleticism and also we can play a lot of guys,” head coach Donyell Marshall said on the offense. “We ended up playing nine or 10 guys that each played fifteen minutes or more. In my first three years here I don’t think we’ve ever been able to play more than six or seven guys.”

Some of the freshman Blue Devils stole the show in the second half, throwing down emphatic jams on the Coast Guard defense, much to the excitement of a packed student section.

Freshmen guards Greg Outlaw and Myles Baker led the youth movement in the game, leading CCSU in scoring with 17 and 16 points, respectively.

“We came out and we had fun,” Outlaw said. “We executed the plays we were going over and played as a team. This being our first game together, we played really well. Hopefully, we can translate this to the Hartford game.”

The returning Blue Devils made their impact in the exhibition game as well.

Karrington Wallace appears to have expanded upon a defensive prowess last season. In his 18 minutes, Wallace grabbed three offensive boards along with a pair of blocks and steals each.

Fellow returnee Jamir Coleman made the most out of his limited playtime, making as many three’s as he took on his way to 12 points.

Junior transfer Stephane Ayangma cleaned the glass for the Blue Devils, collecting nine rebounds while shooting a perfect six-for-six from the field.

“I thought the offense was a lot better than when we played in our scrimmage,” Marshall said. “We shared the ball together and it made everybody believe in each other. When we had our scrimmage I think that we had a lot of selfishness and the guys kind of put their heads down. When we’re playing as a team, we’re a lot more exciting and we like playing with each other.”

Marshall believes the team’s depth will be a strength once they get into Northeast Conference play.

“I definitely think [the depth] is going to help,” Marshall said. “When you get to NEC’s there’s a lot of teams that really only play five guys, so if we can wear them down and get to other team’s benches, it’ll be really good for us.”

Marshall has emphasized the chemistry this team has, and how that will help them on the court.

“If you look at the dunks we had and how rowdy the bench was, I don’t think we’ve had a bench that rowdy before,” Marshall said. “Even guys coming in that didn’t play a lot hit shots, one and run plays for the guys who really don’t play. In the past, we never really had that kind of excitement for the team. This team wants excitement all the way down to the 15th player.”

The Blue Devils will be starting off the regular season against Hartford, who looks to be a tougher competition than DIII Coast Guard. Going into the matchup, Marshall said the team will harp upon ball security.

“We want to stop making the small mistakes,” Marshall said. “Some of the mistakes we made as far going for steals that are leading to buckets, it might not hurt you against a team like [Coast Guard] but a team like Hartford, they’re gonna come back and hurt you.”