The next step awaits

March 14, 2019

It was last summer when Bob Richey first noticed Colin Kenney during a player evaluation period.

The Furman coach soon realized he liked what he saw in the then-Marquette Catholic senior-to-be, an interest that would quickly blossom into a scholarship offer for the 6-foot-1 guard.

“We liked him more and more every time we watched him play,” Richey said on the Furman basketball team page. “His competitiveness is contagious, he can really shoot the ball, and he plays the game the right way. He knows how to score the ball from all levels of the floor, but at the same time, can really see the game from the point position. We’ve always valued players that carry a chip on their shoulder, and Colin definitely plays with that mentality.”

Kenney knew little of the South Carolina school at that point, but much like Richey with him, it didn’t take him long to realize he liked what he saw as well in the up-tempo, guard-friendly Paladins.

“I’m super excited about that,” Kenney said. “Just watching their games, I love how they move the ball, how they play as a team. I can’t wait to get into that style. I think it will benefit my game and I hope benefit a lot of other peoples’ games as well because everybody’s playing off each other. Everybody can shoot, everybody can handle the ball. When the ball’s swinging, everybody’s getting shots up, it looks really good out there.”

Furman (25-7) made a splash in November with wins over half of last year’s Final Four, Loyola and Villanova, part of a 12-0 start that earned them a national ranking. It finished 13-5 in the Southern Conference, losing in the tournament semifinals to North Carolina-Greensboro that may have ended its NCAA Tournament dreams, though it undoubtedly will receive an NIT berth.

“I’m coming in at a perfect time, too,” Kenney said. “The conference seems to be on the rise. Wofford is ranked like 20th. UNCG has (28) wins, the same with East Tennessee State.”

Notre Dame was Kenney’s dream school growing up, but he couldn’t be happier with what lies ahead for him.

“The talks we had, they think I can come in and make an impact right away,” he said. “They are always playing two people who can handle the ball. You see a lot of different kids bringing the ball up the court, a lot of movement, so I won’t be locked into the point guard position. The one or two both work for me.”

Kenney spent last off-season working to add some lean mass and it is about where he wants to be weight-wise at 175, 180 pounds.

“The guards who start now are both smaller than me, 5-11, 6-foot,” he said. “On my visit, they said they’re comfortable where I’m at. The strength coach is going to put together a workout routine, some nutritional advice, so I have a heads up on what’s going on when I get down there. The game gets more physical the higher up you get, so I’m trying to get as strong as possible, to keep progressing.”

Furman graduates just two of the nine players who saw time in its final game, so Kenney will join an experienced team that will have just one senior.

“Getting to this stage was a big goal of mine, now I’m setting new goals I’m looking to accomplish,” he said. “I want to make an impact right away, help the team out any way I can. As we go along, I want to take on a higher role, eventually be a big player for the team and in the conference. I’m excited about starting the next chapter.”

Marquette coach Fred Mooney is excited to watch it unfold.

“You get out of life what you put into it, and Colin has put a lot into basketball and his academics,” he said. “He will receive a top-tier education from Furman University and continue playing the game he has a passion for and is really, really good at.”