For the GCU men’s basketball team, the guards hold the keys to the car. And once they turn the ignition and put the vehicle into gear, watch out. GCU has arguably the best guard in the WAC in Jovan Blacksher Jr, who is back for his fourth season in purple and white. But, after losing the team’s leading scorer in Holland Woods to graduation, head coach Bryce Drew and his staff had to go out and fill a big hole.
Enter Presbyterian transfer Rayshon Harrison. Add in Georgia transfer and hometown kid Noah Baumann. Then add another hometown kid in Josh Baker from UNLV and the hole may be filled. These three guards, along with sophomore Chance McMillian give GCU some depth around Blacksher Jr. It is Rayshon Harrison and Chance McMillian that we will focus on in this article.
McMillian Has All the Tools
Were you at the WAC Tournament semifinal game against New Mexico State in March? If not, were you watching on ESPN+? Well, hopefully you answered yes to one of these first two questions. Because if you didn’t, you missed arguably the play of the tournament with about 19 seconds remaining in the game. The video below doesn’t do it justice, either. McMillian came out of nowhere to fly above the rim for the two-handed put-back dunk that cut the lead to two with 19 seconds to play.
— GCU Men’s Basketball (@GCU_MBB) March 12, 2022
Yes, New Mexico State went on to win the game. But, McMillian’s play late in that semifinal game was all part of his play down the late stretch of the season for GCU. McMillian played in all 31 games for Lopes and averaged just 5.7 points per game. But it was other things that the sophomore guard did that kept him on the floor. In the 2021-22 WAC opener, it was McMillian’s defense against Chicago State that set the tone. In fact, GCU outscored the Cougars, 80-46, when McMillian was on the floor. Pretty wild.
Against Sam Houston, McMillian came in and knocked down four 3-pointers and had a season-high 15 points in a win over the Bearkats on Feb. 26.
Here is GCU head coach Bryce Drew on his sophomore guard.
As you can see, Drew is high on McMillian and the work he is putting in this offseason. It is highly likely that McMillian will be the first off the bench for the Lopes. Coming off the bench was McMillian’s role in 2021-22 and providing a spark. That won’t change in 2022-23.
Presbyterian Transfer Can Score in Multiple Ways
Two years ago, it was Asbjørn Midtgaard. Last season, it was Holland Woods. And in 2022-23, don’t be surprised when Rayshon Harrison is one of the leading scorers in the WAC. According to his new head coach, Harrison can play multiple guard positions between the 1, 2, and 3 spots.
There are similar comparisons to Holland Woods. But, Harrison has a little more explosiveness and doesn’t have to be quite as crafty as Woods. Just take a look at the photo below where Harrison goes up for a dunk over 6-10 Aidan Igiehon. Crazy, right?
The 6-4, 180-pound sophomore guard was the Big South Freshman of the Year in 2020-21. And during his freshman season at Presbyterian, Harrison scored in double figures in all but one game. In 2021-22, Harrison averaged just over 17 points per game and pulled down 3.9 rebounds while shooting a little under 37 percent from the field.
So, the shooting percentage will have to improve. But, when Harrison is on, look out. On Nov. 12 against VMI, Harrison went for 32 points while shooting nearly 57 percent from the floor.
Here is Bryce Drew on Harrison and what he brings to the floor.
GCU has some really good guards in 2022-23. And as the guards go, so go the Lopes. No one way around that. From Jovan Blacksher Jr. down to Chance McMillian and everyone in between. The guards will play a vital role in the success of GCU basketball in 2022-23.