Markese Mayfield hoping to help Ferris take charge in GLIAC race

Ferris Markese Mayfield (left) drives to the basket against Davenport’s Janeau Jobert on Saturday. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

BIG RAPIDS — Markese Mayfield and Ferris State’s men’s basketball team heads to the Upper Peninsula this week for two key Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference games.

But every game for the rest of the season could probably be counted as critical for the Bulldogs.

“We’re really starting to come together,” Mayfield said. “We’ve had some rough patches at the beginning. But we’re starting to unite. I feel like we’re almost at 100 percent.”

Mayfield, at 6-four-4 inches, is the only returning starter from the NCAA Division II defending national championship team. But the Bulldogs also played most of the first half of the season without former Michigan Mr. Basketball DeShaun Thrower, who was with football team during its national title run.

“I have to be more of a vocal leader,” Mayfield said. “Last year, I didn’t really have to talk. I was just on the court. Now I have to step up and talk and make sure people are in the right spot.

“I’m looking to be whatever we need. If we need a defender, I’m a defender. I feel like I can shoot the ball everywhere right now.”

Coming into January, Mayfield and his teammates were optimistic. They won at Grand Valley 86-79 on Thursdays and struggled against Davenport on Saturday in an 87-72 loss. I snapped a six-game Ferris overall winning streak, and also was FSU’s first loss in 34 contests.

“Everything is coming together,” Mayfield said prior to the Davenport game. “There’s a lot of things I want to achieve, starting with the GLIAC, trying to clinch that again.”

Ferris is 11-6 overall, but 3-3 in the GLIAC, making this week’s games all the more important. Ferris is at Michigan Tech on Thursday and at Northern Michigan on Saturday.

Mayfield is averaging 26 minutes and 10.9 points per game. He’s shooting 48.6 percent from the floor and 48.8 percent in 3-pointers.

Last season, Mayfield played in all 39 contests for the Bulldogs and averaged nine points and 6.3 rebounds per contest. He had 17 double-figure scoring performances. He also played for the 2016-17 FSU squad that won GLIAC Tournament for the third consecutive year and made a third-straight NCAA Tourney appearance.

Before coming to Ferris, Mayfield led Godwin Heights High School to a 25-1 overall record during the 2013-14 prep season in addition to a state quarterfinal appearance.

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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