Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Central Michigan men's basketball coach Keno Davis announced the signing of four players on Wednesday.
The class comprises guards Matt Smith of Elgin, Ill., Kevin McKay of Warren, and Ellis Jefferson of San Antonio, Texas, along with 6-foot-11 center Innocent Nwoko.
All four players fall in line with what Davis puts at the top of the priority list: character.
"The thing that's remained the same since we've gotten here is the value that we put in the character of the individual," said Davis, whose team, coming off the Mid-American Conference regular-season championship, opens Friday at home against Jacksonville State.
"Even now when we've been more successful on the court and recruit somebody who's maybe more highly thought of, we haven't gone away from what has been successful for us," Davis added. "I think you're going to see a young group come in next year that's going to be very talented, and with a really high ceiling."
Nwoko is one of the top players in suburban Detroit's Macomb County, having led New Haven High School to a 25-1 record and league, district and regional championships last season.
The addition of Nwoko further boosts a Chippewa frontcourt that includes 6-11 Luke Meyer and 6-9 DaRohn Scott, both sophomores.
"I think when you recruit size at any level you're looking at and projecting how good they can be down the road," Davis said. "And anything they can give you in year one is a bonus.
"We were really fortunate to have Luke Meyer and DaRohn Scott both as freshmen be able to step in to roles. We don't want to put too much pressure on anybody coming in on what they're going to do on day one, but we do think highly of the entire class that each one of those can be really great players here at CMU."
McKay, a solid 6-4 and 218 pounds, is a three-time team captain at De La Salle High School in Warren, just outside Detroit. The Pilots play in the highly competitive Catholic League, and McKay has been a member of the varsity since his freshman year.
Jefferson, 6-1, plays at Brandeis High School, where he is a three-year starter, four-time letterwinner, and two-time captain.
Smith is a three-year letterwinner and the all-time leading scorer at South Elgin High School.