By Carolo Pascale
The afternoon of Nov. 6 was special for the Rider men’s basketball team. Not only was it the team’s first home game since March 5, but it was also the first time that Broncs sophomore guard Corey McKeithan stepped onto the court of the Alumni Gym to play for Rider.
“It was a lot of adrenaline. I was just glad to be back on the court with my team,” said McKeithan.
McKeithan, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in August of 2020, didn’t play for Rider last season. Despite not playing, McKeithan was still able to learn and develop skills from the bench.
Head Coach Kevin Baggett said of Mckeithan’s injury to The Rider News in September of 2020, “I’ll tell you what he was down early on, but right away he turned his attention to saying I’m going to come back bigger, faster, stronger, I’m going to study the game more, I’m going to be a coach on the sideline.”
Baggett could not be reached for current comment.
Having not played at all last season, getting back on the court was certainly an exciting moment for McKeithan. But obviously, not playing for so long came with challenges.
“A lot of it was learning to understand college basketball. As soon as I got cleared, I just went out and said, I’m gonna go play as hard as I can,” said McKeithan.
Looking to the 2021-2022 season, the Broncs and McKeithan were ready to face tough competition and lots of travel. While on the road, McKeithan had his two best games in terms of scoring against Buffalo and Bucknell. The Connecticut native played a season-high of 34 minutes against Bucknell, being a starter for the first time for the Broncs and scoring 12 points in an 85-79 win.
McKeithan has helped the Broncs when needed, averaging just over 21 minutes and five points per game. He scored a career-high 13 points against Buffalo during the Cancun Challenge and has 20 assists on the season.
McKeithan got his first taste of playing against top Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) competition in Iona on Dec. 3 and Marist on Dec. 5. Iona, last season’s MAAC Champions, easily defeated Rider 80-54.
In McKeithan’s second-ever conference game, the Broncs faced Marist, losing by a score of 79-67, but McKeithan had a respectable seven points in 20 minutes of action.
“I was just trying to help to tell the team we just gotta keep going like, we’re already down so let’s just keep playing. I feel like my biggest thing with basketball is like you have to play the whole 40 minutes,” said McKeithan.
Just from his showings so far this season, the young guard has conveyed he is ready to go but still has lots to give to the Broncs.
“I’m telling my team, like hey we got this, we’re still here, that’s just motivating other players,” he said exuberantly.
After a grueling beginning to MAAC play, McKeithan and the Broncs finally have a much-needed break before their next game when they take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Dec. 18.