Senior guard Finis Craddock provides efficient scoring and consistent effort for young Chippewas

Finis Craddock's energy and improved game have helped Central exceed expectations this season.

Senior guard Finis Craddock shields the ball from three Northern Illinois defenders on Jan. 23. (Brittni Hengesbach | GCmag)

Central Michigan did not end the game against Northern Illinois with a victory on Wednesday night at McGuirk Arena, falling 74-61. Central’s head coach Keno Davis said that his team is young and did not adjust as well as they have at other times this season.

“I think we’ve got our mind pretty straight that we improved each and every night,” Davis said. “And that we like to peak when the conference tournament is coming. And that we’d like to go out that way not only for our young guys and to get them preparation for postseason play and how to prepare for it, but for our seniors like Finis.”

Senior guard Finis Craddock was three-of-five from the field, converting two-of-three from 3-point land, scoring 11 points. The Garland, Texas native said all he tries to do is whatever the defense allows him to when he steps on the court. He hopes to bring a lot of energy for the remainder of the year. However following Wednesday’s game, Craddock admitted that he and his teammates could have put forth more effort than they did.

“I feel like we just didn’t play hard,” Craddock said. “I feel like we didn’t come out with a lot of heart. We gave up a lot of transition buckets, gave them a lot of open threes. So we just got to get back tomorrow in practice and work on it.”

Craddock said in order for the team to bounce back, they have to stay together and they’ll work it out.

“You saw some growing up we need to do and sometimes you get better from the losses more you do than the wins,” Davis said.

Davis reflected back on the growth of Craddock as a player and said he has come a long way through the team’s ups and downs. As one of the most intense defensive players on the team, Craddock is a player that can have a huge impact on any given night.

“He’s somebody that has come in with a great attitude each and every day and he does, he works hard,” Davis said. “And so as a coach, there’s sometimes where he makes decisions that get you frustrated with you and you take him out and you explain and he’s really been able to learn from those. He grasps coaching very well.”

Davis said he’s seen the improvement in Craddock’s assist and turnover margins as well as his shooting. His numbers clearly show he is learning how to take better shots and is posting a better field goal percentage as a result. Davis also said that the team needs Craddock and that he is a role model for younger players because they can “learn some of the things that he’s been able to do and hopefully put that in their own games.”

“He was a guy that tried to make the really hard play,” Davis said. “During the beginning of the year too, he’d make the great play and some of the simpler plays. He’d have to learn how to be able to take shots. And also how to be able to pass for his teammates and make plays to increase his field goal percentage.”

Craddock didn’t play a lot in the first few games this season and if he did play, he played sparingly. However, Craddock’s hard work and effort paid off and when he was given the opportunity. He showed what he was capable of and bought a lot of energy to the team. Craddock will try to bolster that energy when the Chippewas face their instate rivals Western Michigan University on Saturday, Jan. 26.

“Everybody know that’s our rival so, we want this win,” Craddock said. “I want this win as bad as everybody else (does). All we got to do is come out and play hard.”

Central is 9-9 (2-3 MAC) headed into their matchup with Western, who they host this upcoming Saturday at 7 p.m. at McGuirk Arena.

Photos by Brittni Hengesbach