Northern Colorado Bears (21-11, 13-3)
Projected starting five:
Sr. G Elliot Lloyd
Jr. G Aaron Hawk-Harris
So. G Paul Garnica
So. F/C Emmanuel Addo
Sr. F/C Mike Proctor
Devon Beitzel: 21.5 ppg, 1.4 steals per game, 87 3-pointers made per game
Neal Kingman: 10.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Chris Kaba: 9.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Taylor Montgomery: 5.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg
Lloyd: 7.5 ppg, 3.3 apg
Proctor: 5.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg
Garnica: 4.2 ppg, 1.1 steals per game
Hawk-Harris: transfer from College of Eastern Utah (6.5 ppg, 2.2 apg, 2.9 rpg)
Fr. Bryce Douvier: 20.5 ppg, 14.6 rpg, 4.1 blocks per game, 2.2 apg
Toughest nonconference match up: at Marquette.
Hardest conference stretch: final two weekends of January, at Montana, at Montana State and at Idaho State, at Northern Arizona.
The media and coaches polls have Northern Colorado in the top four, but the Bears lost four starters, including all-everything swingman Beitzel. Lloyd is a very capable point guard, and Proctor went for 8.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in the Big Sky Tournament, but the roster is very young and inexperienced.
Head coach B.J. Hill struck gold moving into the top spot when Tad Boyle went to Colorado, and he’s a very good coach who has mentored under Boyle for a long time. However, Proctor is the only senior, Lloyd and Hawk-Harris are the only juniors, and the rest of the team is redshirts (sophomores and freshmen) and true underclassmen. It’s not that there’s no talent, but Hill will have to do an exceptional coaching job to get this team back to the Big Sky title game. Like the other Northern, the Bears will win a few here and there because the league is so top-heavy.