Tony Kynard, left, and Clemmye Owens have been pivotal players for Rogers. The longtime teammates have decided to play together at Bethune-Cookman.
Tony Kynard and Clemmye Owens have been teammates on the basketball court since junior high school.
The Rogers seniors apparently plan to continue serving as backcourt mates beyond their final season wearing a Rams uniform. Both gave verbal commitments on Monday to attend Bethune-Cookman University after graduating from high school next spring.
"We've been playing basketball together since the seventh grade, so we decided to go to the same school," said Kynard, the 6-foot-1 point guard who averaged 13.9 points and 8.2 assists during his junior season.
Owens, a six-foot shooting guard, pumped in a team-high 18.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest in his junior campaign.
"I liked the school, and it seems like it's the best [college] program for me," Owens said. "Their style of play fits me."
Kynard and Owens, who have been key members of the Rams backcourt the last two seasons, made their decision to verbally commit to Bethune-Cookman during a recent unofficial visit to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference university. Toledo native and former Tiffin University coach Rodney Martin is an assistant coach on Bethune-Cookman's coaching staff.
"He knows our families, and being that we'll be so far away from home, he can look out for us," Owens said, regarding Martin impacting their commitment to the university located in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The Division I basketball program just missed qualifying for the NCAA tournament last spring when it lost in the MEAC title game 73-70 to conference rival Norfolk State.
Kynard and Owens received some interest from other schools, including Findlay, Youngstown State, and Northern Kentucky.
However, Bethune-Cookman came up as the first to offer the two scholarships. The Wildcats program also offers a familiarity for both players. It employs an up-tempo style of offense and full-court defensive scheme.
"I just like the way they run their program," Kynard said. "Their team is mostly guard-oriented, and the style they play is like what we like to play at Rogers."
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