UPDATE: Roadrunners sign locals

Published 1:07 pm Thursday, December 23, 2021

DOWAGIAC — Local players have signed letters of intent to play basketball at Southwestern Michigan College when the Roadrunners revive their program in the winter of 2022.

Former Niles standout Demarien Nichols and Edwardsburg senior Isaac Merrill are set to join SMC Coach Rodell Davis’ first Roadrunner men’s basketball team.

Nichols is currently playing at CBG Preparatory in Benton Harbor. Merrill has helped the Eddies get off to a 3-1 start this season, including three consecutive victories.

“Demarien is a quick lead guard that really understands the game,” Davis said. “He runs the system and keeps his teammates involved. His combination of unselfish play and his ability to score the ball will make a difference on the offensive end of the floor. His quickness and competitive spirit on defense allow him to pressure the ball without getting beat off the bounce. He will be one of the best defenders on the court every game.”

Nichol’s coach at CBG, Justin Webb, said he is an excellent athlete.

“He is a leader on and off the court, coachable, and he has taken every opportunity to get better,” Webb said. “Demarien was a three-level scorer for us. His talent will transfer well to the college level.”

Edwardsburg Coach Steve Wright calls Merrill one of the best players he has ever coached.

“He is tough, smart, and a winner,” he said. “SMC is lucky to have him.”

Davis likes what Merrill will bring to the table for the Roadrunners.

“Isaac is a high-character person with a great academic background,” he said. “He is also a high IQ player who brings a level of maturity to the game. Since he communicates so well on the floor, we expect him to take a leadership role. As a lead guard, he excels at setting his teammates up and is also an efficient shooter from 3-point range. As a physical player from the guard spot, he will be expected to defend good guards every game.”

SMC men’s basketball announced its third signing Thursday afternoon.

Mikel Forrest, a 2020 graduate of Niles High School currently playing for CBG Preparatory, has signed his NJCAA Letter of Intent to play for Coach Davis and the Roadrunners.

“Mikel was searching for an opportunity and proved that he belongs at the college level,”Webb said. “Mikel started off as a role player and worked his way into the starting lineup. He is excellent at scoring in the paint and proved the ball belongs in his hands at the end of games. We’re thankful for Mikel showing pride in playing for CBG Prep.”

“Mikel is a guard that is always in attack mode. He scores the ball in the paint and his ability to make shots from deep will keep defenses honest,” Davis added. “His best basketball is ahead of him and he works hard at being the best player possible. He is a strong physical defender capable of guarding closely without fouling. He will be a good two-way player for us.”


This post has been updated to include information about the team’s third signee.