After losing last year’s top three scorers in sophomore guard Hakeem Baxter (transfer to UAB), senior point guard KyRee Jones (illness) and forward Troy Snyder (graduation), UMES was desperate to fill the void.
The Hawks (4-7 overall and 1-1 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) may have found a suitable replacement in senior forward Mike Myers. The 6-foot-9, 245-pound transfer from Angelina College (Texas) ranks 10th in the MEAC in scoring (13.5 points per game) and 12th in rebounding (6.0).
First-year coach Bobby Collins said Myers has produced what the coaching staff had anticipated.
“It’s what I’ve been expecting,” Collins said Wednesday. “He still hasn’t gotten his legs under him totally. He’s coming around and coming into his own. Michael is a very special talent, a physical specimen. Also, we have [junior forward and Trinity Valley Community College transfer] Dominique Elliott, who I am also expecting to explode at any time now. So we have two big guys that can really score.”
The presence of Myers and the 6-8, 260-pound Elliott has aided the team’s outside shooting, especially from behind the 3-point arc. UMES ranks third in the league in 3-point shooting, connecting on 34.0 percent (68 of 200) of those attempts.
Collins said the offensive philosophy of going to the low post with Myers and Elliott has forced defenses to pay extra attention to the paint, which leaves the Hawks’ shooters open on the perimeter.
“We have an inside presence,” Collins said. “So I really want the ball to go inside more. Michael Myers is leading the country in free-throw shooting attempts [with 95]. He’s gotten every post player we’ve played against in foul trouble. So the more touches he gets, the more looks our three-point shooters are getting.”