He may not look like the most imposing player on the court, maybe looking more the part of a linebacker or a fullback, but Northern Arizona men’s basketball guard David Cummard brings a certain mindset to the team that interim head coach Shane Burcar needs.

It’s not just his mindset on the hardwood. It's his familiarity with the Lumberjacks head coach.

Cummard, a redshirt sophomore in his first season with Northern Arizona, was a senior captain on Burcar’s high school Division I title-winning Mesa High School team in 2016. Cummard helped the No. 2-seeded Jackrabbits erase a 12-point deficit to eighth-seeded Sunnyslope and claim the state title.

Just a year after the state championship, Burcar joined the Northern Arizona coaching staff, and then just over another year later Burcar has the reins of the program.

“Man, I was excited,” Cummard said on when Burcar was promoted to interim head coach. “I knew he was going to do a great job here. He works harder than any coach in the country and he knows his stuff. The players love to play for him, and I know that we’re going to turn this thing around and win some games this year.”

Cummard wasn't the flashiest player in high school, resembling the similar blue collar style he plays with now.

He fits the mold of an old-school hockey player, Burcar said -- comparing Cummard to former U.S. Olympic hockey player Buzz Schneider with his competitiveness and hard-nosed style of play.

“He’s someone who we are trying to bring in as a veteran presence, who is somebody I trust and I know is competitive. The guys like him, so it was a no-brainer for me to get him out of his so-called retirement.

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" ... He knows his role too. He is up here to be one of our leaders and get our guys going and have a healthy locker room."

After graduating from Mesa in 2016, Cummard went on a mission for a few months before spending a season at Murray State College in Tishomingo, Oklahoma. Following his one season at the junior college level, Cummard took a year off of basketball.

Once Burcar got to Flagstaff, Cummard tried to join the Lumberjacks staff, but he said that didn’t work out as he thought.

Since then, Cummard, who is 22 years old, got married in March and is expecting his first child this coming April.

“I always wanted to get back into it, and I had to play the circumstances and cards that life dealt. Just had to roll with the punches and I’m excited to be here,” Cummard said.

It’s unclear where Cummard slots in the Lumberjacks’ guard rotation, which has a few impact players in Ted McCree, Luke Avdalovic and Cameron Shelton, along with transfer guard Cameron Satterwhite, but Cummard said he really just wants to do whatever he can to help.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to win,” Cummard said. “If that means passing out water bottles then I’ll be the best water bottle guy in the country. A thousand high-fives, I’m giving 2,000. Whatever it takes to win.”

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Lance Hartzler can be reached at 556-2251 or at lhartzler@azdailysun.com. Follow him on Twitter @lance_hartz.


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