CMU’s most recognizable basketball star will be trying to beat his college alma mater, MichiganLive reported.
Central Michigan retired Majerle’s jersey in 1995. He returned for an alumni basketball game in 2004.
The 2014-15 men’s hoops schedule hasn’t been released yet but Majerle, head coach at Grand Canyon University, confirmed that his program will play at CMU this season.
“We’re just trying to make a name for ourselves,” said Majerle, entering his second season as Grand Canyon’s head coach. “We had a really good year last year and this year we’re opening up at the University of Kentucky, we’re playing at Indiana and we’re actually coming back and playing Central Michigan at Central Michigan this year so that’ll be fun.”
Grand Canyon, located in Phoenix, Arizona, joined the NCAA Division I for its first season last year in the Western Athletic Conference and posted a respectable 15-15 record. Majerle was hired in 2013. Prior to accepting the position, Majerle was an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns.
Majerle is CMU’s second leading scorer in the program’s history and enjoyed the most successful NBA run of all the Chippewas that have played professionally. He lasted 14 seasons in Phoenix, Cleveland and Miami. He was a three-time All-Star and a member of the USA’s Dream Team II in 2004.
Majerle hasn’t turned his back on his old school, even though he doesn’t work for the program. CMU is where he got his “Thunder” nickname and developed his work ethic.
“I try to follow CMU, but it’s kind of hard,” said Majerle, a native of Traverse City. “There are people out here (in Phoenix) that are Central Michigan alums and I talk to them and I always try to look to see what they’re doing, so I try to follow them as much as possible. I’m obviously very busy out here but I’ll probably follow them a little bit more this coming year because we’ll be playing them.”
He still considers the 1987 CMU team, with Flint’s Ervin “Lightning” Leavy, to be the best of his college career. That 1986-87 MAC championship team finished 22-8 overall in Majerle’s junior year.
The Phoenix Suns drafted Majerle in the 1988 NBA Draft with the 14th overall pick. He was booed by the fans on draft night but made everyone regret it by going on to have a phenomenal career in which he averaged 14.6 points and 5.0 rebounds with the Suns – including a run to the 1993 NBA Finals with Charles Barkley.
“I knew I was going to be anywhere from 10 to 20 in the first round,” he said. “Milwaukee was supposed to draft me at 13, because they were one of the teams I worked out for, but they passed on me and actually took a guy from Flint, Jeff Grayer.”
“I didn’t know where I was going to go after that because I didn’t work out with the Suns and they were the next pick at 14 so I just remember sitting in the basement back at my house in Traverse City with my parents and got the call right before they announced me and I was drafted by the Suns.”
Majerle spent his first 7 seasons with Phoenix Suns, and also played for Cleveland Cavaliers, and Miami Heat in his career.
He averaged career high 17.3 ppg for Phoenix during the 1991-92 NBA season. Majerle holds career averages of 11.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 2.9 apg in 955 career NBA games, 454 of which he started.Follow @exnbadotcom
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