The Emergence of Wayne
The year 2016 was destined to be a year of change around Murray, Kentucky. For many, especially consistently successful people, change can be disruptive and frightening.
Along with a couple of transfers, Wayne Langston has made that expected change more smooth.
“We knew we were counting on Wayne,” said Coach McMahon. “He was giving us good minutes last year off the bench. He was just stuck behind two really good post players in Jarvis Williams and Jonathan Fairell. He had a tremendous off-season. He put in a lot of time. He took an Athletes-in-Action trip to China.”
The Period of Adjustment
Last spring, Murray State needed to replace a head coach, an NBA player, and an entire frontcourt. Was their 3-season OVC West Championship run in jeopardy?
Nearing February the Racers of MSU are right back where they feel they belong, atop the OVC West Division.
“I think we are getting better as a team,” said Murray State Head Coach Matt McMahon. “That is the whole goal all along. We played a very challenging non-conference schedule. You are hoping that (non-conference) prepared you for, what looks to me to be a very balanced OVC portion of the schedule.”
Balanced is good for MSU. The team struggled to rebound defensively early and outside shooting continues to be erratic.
Transfers DaMarcus Croaker and Bryce Jones find ways to score in tight spaces. Jones is a very good late-game free-throw shooter, a key element of winning guard play.
“Our point guard, Bryce Jones, has done a great job,” said Coach McMahon. “He has a positive assist-turnover ratio. He had some outings where he didn’t play well, but he bounced back from that.”
Like the conference, Murray State is balanced. If there is one standout it is the veteran big man, Langston.
“He is a great passer, has a high-IQ in the post,” said Coach McMahon. “He is starting to step forward from a leadership standpoint, as well. We are going to continue to challenge him to do that as a senior.”
This week Langston was nominated for OVC Player of the Week. He is averaging 13.9 ppg on 55.0% along with 7.4 rebounds per game in OVC-play. With Langston’s heavy influence the Racers are hunting another OVC West Title.