The 2013 KSU men’s basketball team will exploit its incomparable team chemistry that extends beyond the court as this year’s squad has an uncommon bond: the state of Ohio.
The Owls introduced three new members to the program this offseason, forward Drew McGhee from the University of Miami at Ohio, guard Charlie Byers from Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio and assistant coach Brian Lawhon from Cincinnati, Ohio. McGhee, Byers and Lawhon will be added to the KSU-Ohio pipeline list that includes returning players Delbert Love and Myles Hamilton. Associate Head Coach Jimmy Lallathin also hails from the Buckeye State as he enters his third season with KSU.
The comradery generated from this seemingly destined group is one that could possibly surge the Owls to open a few eyes when they embark on one of the most challenging nonconference schedules in school history.
McGhee, a 5th year senior, gained plenty of experience at Miami and has already assumed a prominent leadership role on the team as he enters his first season with the Owls. McGhee’s familiarity with Kent State and Cincinnati, both of which are on this year’s schedule, will aid the team this season having already played both teams in his career. “I played Cincinnati every year,” McGhee said. “And I played Kent State twice a year in my past four years, so I’m definitely looking forward to going up there.”
McGhee stated that his relationship with Coach Lallathin, who coached him at the University of Miami for four years, was a major draw in his decision to come to KSU.
Guard Delbert Love who is from Cleveland, Ohio also expressed his contentment with the Ohio-ridden roster stating, “I know when I first came down here coach Lallathin came from Ohio, and I could kind of relate to that.”
Guard Myles Hamilton, also from Cleveland, returns for his sophomore season after an impressive rookie campaign where he was second on the team in assists. The connection between Hamilton and Love is something to look out for in the upcoming season.
A native of Cincinnati, guard Charlie Byers will improve the squad’s durability after the KSU walk-on led the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference in minutes played with 30.6 per contest when playing at SCC.
When KSU brought in Lawhon not only did they add another member to the KSU-Ohio group, but they also received a man with knowledge of the A-Sun conference. Lawhon is a graduate of A-Sun Conference member Northern Kentucky where he helped lead the Norse achieve a 92-33 record from 1997-2001.
The Ohio connection with KSU is becoming a big part of the ambience surrounding the program and could prove to be beneficial in the team’s progress. “I think that’s one of the few things coach Lallathin and coach Preston key on, is just building pipelines and different relationships in different areas,” Love said.
The Owls will face a daunting nonconference schedule when they face Mississippi State, Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern and Indiana all on the road. With four players and over half the coaching staff originating from Ohio, the Kent State and Cincinnati games may help to lessen the difficulty of the seven-game road trip for KSU and provide the feeling of a home game for some of the players and coaches.
KSU will travel to Ohio at the end of November when they play Kent State Nov. 29 and Cincinnati Dec. 1.