We are pleased to add Harry Cummins as a contributor to NAIAHoopsReport.com. Harry is a former magazine editor, free-lance writer, and ‘stringer’ for the international news service (UPI). He has profiled many athletes from far -ranging sports like boxing ( World Champion Archie Moore).. to figure skating (Olympic Gold Medalist John Curry).. to former NY Knick and Presidential Candidate Bill Bradley. Harry’s recent profile ofZach Richardson of tiny Multnomah University in Portland,Oregon, is reflective of his interest in stories buried behind the box scores. craw’s corner: THE SON ALSO RISES
He also keeps a close eye on the Cascade Collegiate Conference out West. A rough and tumble conference that landed two teams in last year’s NAIA D-2 Final Four!!!
By Harry Cummins
Playing three home games on consecutive days this past weekend in Portland,Oregon, Multnomah University teammates Zach Richardson and Justin Martin parlayed 3 straight wins into a swift trip to the summit of college basketball’s individual early season statistical charts.
Boasting the nation’s highest scoring offense last season at 97 points per game, the Lions (4-1) of the Cascade Collegiate Conference turned their backcourt tandem loose in an offensive display that saw Multnomah post 128,113, and 137 points on successive nights. The offensive onslaught was highlighted on Saturday when the 6’1″sophomore sensation Richardson went 7 for 10 from 3 point range to take over the No 1 spot in the NAIA this season in 3 point baskets made with 22. For the 3-game weekend set, Richardson canned 17 of 26 from long distance, averaging 21 points per game while collecting 20 rebounds
Meanwhile, Martin, the explosive 5’7″ senior, has simply resumed where he left off last season when he was the NAIA’s leading scorer at 32 ppg. Martin averaged an impressive 40 points and 10 assists for the recent trio of games, and has assumed the NAIA total points lead again this year with 151 points in 5 games. In Saturday’s 137-116 win over New Hope Christian, Martin had 35 points at halftime before retiring to the bench in the second half with 42 points and 8 assists. As a result, Martin has now assumed the NAIA D-2 national lead in total assists as well as points this year, a rare feat for a prodigious scoring guard. In his second season at Multnomah, Martin has now recorded an amazing 10 games where he has amassed 40 or more points in a single game.
“Incredible 3 days of shooting” understated Lions Coach Curt Bickley.
In Saturday’s win over New Hope, Multnomah had to survive a note-worthy 46 point, 10 rebound effort from Robert Knox of the visitors, who as a team, shot an impressive 57% from the field in defeat. Knox made 21 shots in 31 attempts, the same number of baskets scored by Justin Martin last season in his NAIA record-setting 71 point game against Warner Pacific. The 21 baskets by Knox is a 2019-20 season high, breaking the 16 baskets by Martin set just 2 nights earlier in a 41 point, 13 assist showcase performance.
Both Zach Richardson and Justin Martin display skill sets that portend long-term sustainability. By season end, neither should stray far from their albeit early, but lofty perch.
Be sure to check out the rest of Harry’s work at Greg Crawford’s Craw’s Corner: https://crawscorner.blogspot.com/2019/11/prolific-pair-soar-to-summit-of.html
Justin Martin, you may remember, was featured as one of our NAIA Player Spotlight players earlier this Summer. If you haven’t had a chance to watch Multnomah play before, they run a fun system, that I encourage everyone check out!