SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

December 14, 2013

Jean DePlacido column: Danvers' McKenna learning the college game quickly at Springfield

Nick McKenna has made a smooth transition from Danvers High to Springfield College basketball.

The freshman has played in every game for the Pride, averaging 18 minutes and 9.9 points. The 6-foot-1 guard had a career-high 20 points in the consolation game of the Carnegie Mellon/Double Tree Invitational in Pittsburgh, where Springfield defeated Penn State New Kensington, 109-62.

“It’s going very well so far and I’m playing more than I expected,” said McKenna. “Our only losses have come to top 10 teams and we played both of them tough. I think that shows a lot about what kind of team we are.”

Springfield, which has scored over 100 points twice already this season, is off to a fast start this season under 16th year head coach Charlie Brock. The Pride are 6-2 so far, with their losses coming against the No. 8 team nationally in Division 3 college basketball, Hampden Sydney College of Virginia (89-82), and an 80-75 setback against No. 7 Williams last weekend.

“Of course we want to win every game, but those losses will help us down the line,” said McKenna. “We gave them a good fight; every single Williams player can shoot the ball and that’s a well-coached team.”

McKenna is counted on for his accurate three-point shooting. In the first five games he hit 14 of 20 from behind the arc and led the country in Division 3 shooting percentage (70 percent) for treys. He is now 17 for 28 with a .607 percent accuracy.

The former Falcons’ star is adjusting to the faster paced college game and not being on the court all the time. “I only applied to two schools, Springfield and High Point University in North Carolina,” said the sports management major. “Springfield was my No. 1 choice, and our offense fits my style of play. I try to fit in and contribute in any way I can.

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