In his four seasons at Central Michigan, Kevin Gamble has made a notable impact on the program, particularly in his areas of specialization, player development and offense.
Drawing upon his NBA roots, Gamble has overseen the progress and growth of several key Chippewas, including Chris Fowler, who developed into one of the Midwest’s top point guards before graduating after the 2015-16 season, leaving as one of the most highly decorated players in program history.
In 2016, The Chippewas ranked among the top three in the Mid-American Conference in seven statistcal categories, including fewest total turnovers (first, 303), assist to turnover ratio (first, 1.46), turnovers per game (first, 9.2), and second in 3-point field goal attempts (917), 3-point field goals made (324) and 3-point field goals per game (9.8).
CMU ranked first nationally in fewest total turnovers, was second in turnovers per game and set a program record with 324 triples, surpassing the previous CMU best 322 set during the 2014-15 campaign.
In Gamble’s first year at CMU, 2012-13, guard Kyle Randall led the MAC in scoring, averaging 18.7 points per game against conference opponents en route to earning Second Team All-MAC and NABC All-District recognition.
In Gamble’s one season as a member of Keno Davis’ staff at Providence, MarShon Brooks led the BIG EAST and ranked second nationally in scoring with a 24.6 points per game average. Brooks would go on to be selected in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft.
Gamble broke into the coaching ranks at Illinois-Springfield after a 10-year NBA career, primarily with the Boston Celtics. Gamble was the first head coach in Illinois-Springfield history, and he put together a 130-79 record over eight seasons and was twice named American Midwest Conference Coach of the Year.
He then became the coordinator of player development and video operations at Providence beginning in 2010-11.
Gamble played collegiately at Iowa for Dr. Tom Davis, Keno Davis’ father, and was a member of the 1986-87 Iowa team that won 30 games and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Gamble was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in the third round of the 1987 NBA Draft. He played with the Celtics from 1988-94 and finished his career with the Sacramento Kings in 1998.
Kyle Gerdeman has been instrumental in Central Michigan`s success on and off the court during his three years with the program.
Gerdeman’s principle responsibilities include academics and scheduling while, on the court, his focus is on rebounding. He also oversees the statistical analysis of the team, identifying trends and tendencies and then implementing those results on the court.
In 2015, rebounding played a key role in the program’s rapid turnaround and overall success. CMU out-rebounded its opponents for the year as a team, as eight different Chippewas led them on the boards in at least one game. Junior forward John Simons became just the fourth CMU player in program history to lead his team in rebounding in three consecutive years, averaging 6.5 per game.
In his three seasons as an assistant coach under Keno Davis, the program has made major strides in the area of academics.
In the 2015 spring semester, 11 student-athletes attained a 3.0 grade point average or better. Of the players returning to the squad for the 2015-16 season, nine possess at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA and a conference-high five were honored on the Academic All-MAC team. The team cumulative GPA after the spring semester is 3.15. This follows in the footsteps of the 2014 spring semester in which 10 student-athletes achieved a 3.0 GPA or higher and in 2013 when half of the Chippewas’ 12 scholarship players had at least a 3.5 grade point average and CMU was one of only 19 NCAA Division I schools to receive the Team Academic Excellence Award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Prior to coming to CMU, Gerdeman served as a three-year assistant at Southeast Missouri State, in addition to three years as a head coach at Moberly Area Community College.
Gerdeman assembled recruiting classes at Southeast Missouri State that helped the Redhawks more than double their win total in his three seasons on the staff. He helped develop Leon Powell, the nation’s leader in field goal percentage and an all-conference performer in 2010-11. A 1998 graduate, Gerdeman returned to his alma mater after three years as head coach at Moberly Area Community College and nine years as an assistant coach at Mineral Area College (2004-06), Moberly (2001-03) and East Central College (1998-2001).
During his time in the junior college ranks he helped recruit and develop 23 players who went on to NCAA Division I careers, including 2005 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Player of the Year Eddie Smith. He also mentored five NJCAA All-Americans, was part of three Region XVI championship teams and assisted Moberly to a fifth-place finish in the 2002 NJCAA National Tournament.
Gerdeman has a master’s degree in education from Central Methodist University. He and his wife, Angie, have three children, Alyssa, Karson and Harper.
Jeff Smith is entering the fifth year of his second stint with the Chippewas.
Smith’s main focus at CMU has been on the formation and implementation of an organized recruiting strategy as well opponent scouting and preparation.
On the court, his area of expertise is defense. With Smith at the forefront of recruiting efforts over the past fourth years, vital roots have been firmly established throughout the Midwest and the fruits of that labor are coming to bear.
For the 2015-16 season, CMU brought in a highly regarded class that includes 6-foot-11 Innocent Nwoko along with 6-foot-6 Cecil Williams, a transfer from Moberly Area (Mo.) Community College. Also in the class are guards Matty Smith, Kevin McKay and Ellis Jeffereson, along with sharpshooting forward David DiLeo.
For the 2015-16 season, CMU brought in highly regarded big men, 6-11 forward Luke Meyer and 6-9 forward DaRohn Scott. Meyer has started every game of his CMU career, while Scott has developed into a solid post presence, particularly on the defensive end.
Among the other top recruits during Smith’s time with the program is Braylon Edwards, who enters his senior season with a reputation as one of the most explosive players in the Mid-American Conference.
Defense has played a large role in the CMU program’s rise to prominence as the Chippewas have won back-to-back MAC West titles and have made consecutive postseason appearances.
Smith joined the CMU men’s program as a graduate assistant in May 1997 and served in that capacity for two years before being promoted to assistant coach. Shortly thereafter, he helped the 2000-01 Chippewas to a 20-8 record and a Mid-American Conference title.
Smith was on the CMU bench until September 2002 when he joined the staff at Oakland. The Bay City, Mich., native and 1995 Alma College graduate became the associate head coach at Oakland, helping the Golden Grizzlies to a 2005 Mid-Continent Conference Tournament championship and a win in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
He was largely responsible for a 2005 recruiting class that was ranked 23rd in the nation by Hoop Scoop. After a successful five-year tenure that included two Mid-Con Players of the Year, Smith joined Jim Boylen’s staff at Utah and helped the Utes to the 2009 Mountain West Conference title and a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Smith played for two seasons at Alma College before a knee injury ended his career. He then worked with the program for two years as a student assistant and was named Alma’s head junior varsity coach during his senior season. He was an assistant coach at Albion College from 1995-97.
Director of Basketball Operations
DJ Mocini is in his fourth season serving as head coach Keno Davis’ Director of Basketball Operations.
A native of Saugatuck, Mich., Mocini joined the CMU staff in 2013 after serving as an assistant coach at Northwood University for the previous three years.
In 2012, the Timberwolves captured the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division championship, setting a school record for NCAA Division II wins and consecutive victories.
At CMU, Mocini handles the travel arrangements and equipment, as well as the team’s film exchange and budget. He also oversees the team’s managers, assists with the facilitation of camps and aids the rest of the coaching staff in the day-to-day operations of the program.
Mocini graduated from Albion College in 2008 from the Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management. He played four years for the Brits basketball team, serving as team captain his senior season.
Mocini completed his master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Dayton in 2012. While at Dayton, Mocini was a graduate assistant for the men’s basketball program that advanced to the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament. In 2010, the Flyers won the NIT championship.
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