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Drew Ellis covers Oakland University basketball for The Oakland Press. His news and notes keep you up to date with Golden Grizzlies men's basketball.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Transfer separates lifelong teammates Maynard, Cushingberry

Oakland teammates Drew Maynard and Blake Cushingberry had grown close. Not just because they were on the same college team — they had played together since the fifth grade with three different teams through the AAU ranks and were rival prep stars.
With Maynard's impending transfer, the two will be apart for the first time in more than a decade. The team announced his intention to leave Wednesday afternoon.
"When we were growing up, our dads always said we were that package deal," Cushingberry said. "We went everywhere together. A lot of the schools that recruited us offered us scholarships together."
Maynard was a standout at Lake Orion, where he was an Oakland County Dream Team pick three times. Cushingberry came from Romeo and was also one of the top players in that year's recruiting class. They ended up on the same team, in a recruiting class that heaped attention on the program.
“It’s going to be really weird playing without him," Maynard said. "Ever since we were little, we always saw each other on the court every once in a while.
“We’re still going to be friends and we wish the best for each other."
The AAU teammates eventually met as high school rivals in the 2008 state playoffs. Cushingberry was first to commit to Oakland, when Maynard called him out of the blue to tell him the news he'd also be joining the Golden Grizzlies.
"It'll be a change, I know that," Cushingberry said. "He and I weren't really on the court at the same time (at Oakland), but it was knowing we were always together on the same team."
Cushingberry is recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL. He's started light jogging and hopes to return to practice by the end of the season.
"It's coming along real fast," he said. "I'm just looking forward to getting back into the facilities with (trainer Tom) Ford."
Cushingberry will get a medical redshirt this year and joked his jump shot will be even better when he returns from the sidelines.

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