Anyone who has seen Elijah Knudsen and James Shiers on the basketball court together can’t deny their chemistry and effectiveness.
This fall, the Mead graduates will continue their collegiate hoops careers together when they both step foot onto Colorado Mesa University’s campus, and their court charisma is coming right along with them. It’s already proven to be quite the dagger.
“We have been able to score off a dropoff pass to him with an easy dunk or me coming off the screen for an open (3-pointer),” Knudsen said. “We had a game in Vegas where I was able to come off a screen from James and he rolled so I hit a three to tie the game with seconds left. Our chemistry has given us some big-time plays to save and win games.”
Knudsen and Shiers recently wrapped up their illustrious high school careers, which included a state championship in 2021 and Great 8 status in 2022. At 5-foot-11, Knudsen served as the lifeblood from the outside for the Mavericks as he netted 98 3-pointers his senior year and averaged 18.2 points per game.
Shiers, on the other hand, utilized his gargantuan 7-1 height to dominate the inside game with 15.4 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game. The two boys only serve to complement each other, an effect that’s come naturally after years of being neighbors and best friends.
They’ve graced the court together since fifth grade, so it was a no-brainer when Shiers received his offer from CMU a year after Knudsen did.
“With us playing together for so long, we both know each other’s game styles, as well as where and when we want the ball,” Shiers said. “This helps us be calm on the court because our styles of play complement each other perfectly.”
Throughout the summer, the two Mavericks have spent their days working out together and improving their games. They’ll join a CMU team that finished its 2021-22 season with a 26-10 record. They’ll even get to join ranks with a few familiar faces — once foes — in Longmont’s Eddie Kurjak and Centaurus’ Owen Koonce.
Knudsen looks forward to seeing what the deadly duo can accomplish at a higher level. They’ve had a lifetime of preparation for it.
“We both push each other to be the best we can and we both are able to help each other with our weaknesses and to develop our strengths,” he said. “We have been able to succeed on the same team for a long time and our big and guard combo has been killer and unstoppable against most opponents we play.”
Now, the real test begins.