Men’s Basketball Hints At Brighter Pastures Ahead

Ryan Jones, Managing Editor

The results that Blue Devils fans may not have shown on the scoreboard for men’s basketball, but the on court product slowly developed into a story of its own. A story of growth, development and what could be a much brighter future for CCSU basketball.

Central only collected four wins in their 31 games this season, the team’s worst mark since the 2015-2016 season. Freshmen often struggle taking the jump from high school ball to the Division one level and with seven joining the program in the offseason, there was bound to be some growing pains.

The Blue Devils showcased that to start the season. Some small errors in game accumulated to costly losses. CCSU headed into the final stretch of its Northeast Conference schedule with a 1-12 record, enough that anyone would excusably throw in towel on the season.

But they didn’t.

Instead, CCSU ended the season on a high. The team learned to play together and collected their first back-to-back wins of the season. Though they missed out on the NEC Tournament, their continued grind was validated in their improvement through the year.

The freshmen were thrown into the ring early, which was a two-sided coin for the Blue Devils. On the negative side, it’s tough to win basketball games without experience in doing so. On the plus, there’s no young core as deep and now as experienced as Central’s heading into their sophomore seasons. They bit the bullet on some early losses, but with more pieces and continued development could be a legitimate contender for the next few years.

Myles Baker took home the honors of first-team all rookie after completely flipping the switch throughout the season. Baker scored a career high 24 against Bryant and followed it up with a clutch three and block on the other end to ice Central’s aforementioned first back-to-back win. Like Krishnan, Baker is a serious threat from beyond the arc and will continue to be a top scoring option in year two.

Ian Krishnan was notably absent from Central’s first 13 games, but was white-hot instantly upon his return. He finished the year shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc and will most likely play a large role in the continued development of the young guys.

Greg Outlaw, who hails from the same windy city as Baker, was jumping out of the gym since day one. In the Blue Devil’s exhibition game against the Coast Guard, Outlaw threw down an electrifying dunk that fired up the Detrick Gymnasium crowd. The freshman’s athleticism helped assert him into the lineup all season. He won’t be lighting things up from downtown (his most threes attempted in a game this year is three) but his ability to attack the rim and get to the line are unique to Central’s offense that relied heavily on the three ball and mid range jumpers this year. His defense is just exemplary, Outlaw led all freshmen with 1.1 steals per game.

Jamir Reed and Trey Tenyson were two more guards who shined as the season progressed, adding even more depth to the back court.

The front court looks to be anchored by Kerrington Wallace and Xavier Wilson next season unless Ola Olamuyiwa takes a huge jump into a bigger role, though his development will be critical in Central’s future unless a true center is brought into the program.

Now that the dust has settled on the Blue Devils’ season, it’s clear to see that the team started trending in a better direction as it came to a close. Not to say they’ll go out and win the NEC next year, but there’s no question that they will have a better chance of competing.