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Machine Gun Funk: Central Michigan’s Marcus Keene

You can't really define funky, you just know it when you see it.

You can’t really define funky, you just know it when you see it.

I’m not talking about the musty odoriferousness of the hipster sitting next to you on the subway right now who smells like he’s been wrasslin’ with an alligator. I’m pontificating on that unquantifiable quality of cool, magnetic, hypnotizing brilliance that only a true artist can conjure.

The funk drips from a Pete Rock beat, a DJ Premier production or the genius of Fela Kuti, as it does when Central Michigan’s 5-foot-8 junior point guard Marcus Keene steps on the basketball court.

If you’re simply a casual fan of college hoops, you just screamed out, “Central Michigan???” And that’s to be understood, because there’s so much beautiful dynamism taking place within the NCAA’s upper echelon right now.


Lonzo Ball is currently balling like the #1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft at UCLA, Josh Hart is looking like the Player of the Year for the undefeated, defending champion Villanova Wildcats, Josh Jackson is playing like the New Jack version of Scottie Pippen at Kansas, Markelle Fultz is like a mad scientist’s concoction of Russell Westbrook blended with some Penny Hardaway, Baylor is playing like a Final Four contender and Dennis Smith is running the point for NC State like Chris Paul at Wake Forest back in the day. 


The Duke and Kentucky rosters are stacked to the brim with lottery picks, and Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, Indiana’s OG Onunoby, Cal’s Ivan Rabb, Texas A&M’s Robert Williams and Clemson’s Jeron Blossomgame are surely in need of your viewing attention.

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You’re probably saying that if you do take some time away from the power conference grid, you’ll definitely check out Creighton, Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s, as you very well should. But you’ll be faking the funk if you don’t put aside some time to check out Keene at Central Michigan. 

Right now, he’s on pace to do something that hasn’t been done in twenty years, a feat that outstanding recent college scorers like Jimmer Fredette and Kevin Durant didn’t accomplish. Keene is averaging 31 points per game, in addition to grabbing five boards and dishing out five dimes on a nightly basis.


The last college player to pump in 30 a night for a full season was Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn native Charles Jones, who was killing it at Long Island University in 1996-1997, getting it On and On like that Eryka Badu hot fire at the time.  

If you want to see some serious Machine Gun Funk in the college game, ain’t nobody bringing it like Keene right now. Go check that young fella out. I promise, you won’t be mad that you did. 


Ali

Alejandro “Ali” Danois is the Editor-in-Chief of The Shadow League. His features “Humble Beginnings”, and “Rocky Flop” were mentioned in the Best American Sports Writing Anthology as among the country’s most notable stories of 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Ali is the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Boys of Dunbar, A Story of Love, Hope and Basketball, and he served as a Producer on the ESPN Films 30-for-30 documentary “Baltimore Boys”.

Follow him on twitter @alidanois