Boyette the Man in the Big Sky
by James Burns
With seven first-team all-conference players returning
this season in the Big Sky Conference, competition for
postseason hardware should be a dogfight, especially
for the Most Valuable Player award.
Competition should be especially thick at the guard
position, where last yearâ€™s Most Valuable Player,
Jason Erickson (Montana State), returns along with
Weber Stateâ€™s Jermaine Boyette and Eastern
Washingtonâ€™s Alvin Snow.
Erickson, a junior, wonâ€™t be able to hide behind the
play of his teammates this season. Last season,
Erickson rode the coattails of center Damir Latovic
and the rest of the Bobcat bunch, which earned a berth
into the N.I.T.
The 6-foot-3 juniorâ€™s play was mediocre at best,
averaging only 10.1 points per game during the season.
Erickson was held scoreless during the Bobcats loss to
the Richmond Spiders in the N.I.T., totaling only
eight points for the tourney.
As the floor leader for the Bobcat offense, Erickson
failed to register among the conference leaders in
This seasonâ€™s Most Valuable Player award should go to
the conferenceâ€™s best basketball player – a player who
excels at both ends of the court. This seasonâ€™s MVP
should go to Jermaine Boyette, whose guard play sets
the bar for others around the Big Sky.
But for his effort, Boyetteâ€™s name has carried very
little weight in conference MVP ballots. The
Indiana-native has lived in the shadows of other
less-talented guards, especially Erickson.
Boyette enters the 2002-03 Big Sky season as the most
highly touted basketball player, garnering a laundry
list of accolades during his three seasons with the
Wildcats. Last season, Boyette led all conference
scorers with 17.1 points per game and 2.14 steal per
game while earning his second-consecutive first team
All-Big Sky nomination.
And he has done all this on one of the conferenceâ€™s
premier basketball teams. Weber State advanced to the
postseason a year ago as a No. 3 seed, behind
Boyetteâ€™s deft shooting touch.
The 6-foot-2 guard led the Wildcats to a quarterfinal
route of Portland State, punching home 14 points. In
the semi-final round, Boyette tallied a game-high 17
points in the loss.
Boyetteâ€™s toughest competition comes from EWUâ€™s Snow,
who is built and plays just like Boyette. Snow
possesses all the mechanics Boyette does (6-foot-2,
205 pounds) and his team wins too.
For the second consecutive year, the Eagles were a
game away from advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
Snow, a junior, was also named 2001-02 Big Sky
Defensive Player of the Year, although he finished
second to Boyette in steals (1.79 per game). He also
averaged 11.3 point per game.
However, Boyette should get the nod this season, in
what looks to be â€œThe Year of the Guardsâ€ in the Big
Boyette is a senior. And, unfortunately, seniority
matters in every awards presentation whether itâ€™s the
Heisman trophy or the Big Sky MVP. Plus he can score
and he can score in bunches.