AUBURN  —  Unfinished business.

That’s why fifth-year seniors Josh Chery and Corey David are finishing their college basketball careers at Central Maine Community College.

They are two of the three players on this year’s team who have experience playing for the Mustangs.

“We have two good leaders and two kids that they know what they are doing,” coach Dave Gonyea said. “They know our system, and they know me, and they know everything that goes on (with the team).”

Chery’s and David’s careers so far at CMCC have been so productive that earlier this year both were named to CMCC’s Men’s Basketball All-Decade Team.

Chery, a Newark, New Jersey native, started his college career at CMCC, playing from 2017-2019, but spent the past two seasons with the University of St. Francis, an National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics program in Chicago, Illinois. In two years with St. Francis, the  averaged 2.6 points per game.

David has spent his entire career with the CMCC Mustangs.

Both received an extra year of eligibility because of the coronavirus pandemic.

One reason why Chery returned to where his collegiate career began was the difficult ending to the Mustangs’ 2018-19 season.

“We were the (No. 4) seed in the (Yankee Small College Conference) tournament, and we were upsetting the No. 1 seed (New Hampshire Technical Insitute) until we lost at the buzzer, and that still haunts me to this day,” Chery said.

The Mustangs lost to NHTI in the YSCC semifinals 83-81.

In addition to wanting to bring a conference championship to CMCC, Chery knows firsthand that the Mustangs helped him get to the NAIA level. He hopes he can be someone teammates can go to when they are looking for a school and a team after they exhaust their eligibility at CMCC.

“A lot went into (coming back). I did what made me happy,” Chery said. “I wanted to make a difference in the program, and I wanted to shed a path on what it’s like to go to the next level to help the young guys to get there as well.”

David is also looking to play one more full collegiate season after a torn ACL during the 2019-20 season.

“I am coming back from injury; that kind of solidified me coming back,” David said. “Like many other kids, I also wanted to go somewhere, too, and I had plenty of opportunities to do that. My experience here with coach (Dave Gonyea) and my (teammates) was the icing on the cake to stay.”

David, who is from Orlando, Florida, said that he considers Gonyea a father figure. He also said the family atmosphere at CMCC is strong, and he feels a bond among all his teammates.

Chery also said that he enjoys the family environment at CMCC. On the court, he has been a dominant force for the Mustangs early this season, averaging 22.3 points per game in four games.

“He’s a major player (for us),” Gonyea said. “A lot of time he’s a man among boys.”

Earlier this week, Chery was named the YSCC Men’s Basketball Player of the week.

He credits everyone around him for his success so far this season.

“They believe in me; my coach believes in me,” Chery said. “Honestly, that’s all I need. God and my family believe in me. I go on the court and do whatever to help my team win.”

David, meanwhile, has changed positions this year and is more of a scorer while playing the three-guard. But he still is using his point guard past to help the Mustangs’ younger players.

“I am getting used to that role on being able to score the ball a little more than I have in the past,” David said. “I am trying to get the young guys involved and understanding (the offense).”

David is averaging 12.8 points through CMCC’s first four games this season.

Both players hope to play professional basketball internationally next season. Chery is looking to play in Australia, while David wants to play in Italy.

“Josh looks like he’s going to Australia,” Gonyea said. “We have connections out there.”

David, while born in the United States, has family members in Italy. He has a general idea of what basketball is like in the country.

“Some leagues are good, just like any other place, some leagues are bad, and some leagues are decent,” David said. “It’s just about finding that right connection to that certain league. Wherever the chips fall, they fall.”

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