Idaho State Bengals (9-20, 3-13)
Projected starting five:
Sr. G Chase Grabau
Sr. G Kenny McGowan
Jr. G Melvin Morgan
Sr. F Abner Moreira
Jr. C Jakub Kusmieruk
Broderick Gilchrest (15.0 ppg, 2.2 apg, 1.1 steals per game, 52 3-pointers made per game)
Deividas Busma (11.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.9 blocks per game)
McGowan: 9.3 ppg, 0.9 steals per game, 34 3-pointers made per game
Grabau: 6.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.4 steals per game
Moreira: 5.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg
Jr. C Jakub Kusmieruk, transfer from Central Florida
Jr. G Melvin Morgan, transfer from Itawamba Community College (15.9 points. 3.4 assists per game)
Toughest nonconference match up: at Oklahoma, at New Mexico or at Utah.
Hardest conference stretch: First four games at Weber State, at Northern Colorado, home against Montana State, home against Montana.
Head coach Joe O’Brien said transfer Morgan “gives us our best true point guard we’ve recruited since we’ve been here.” That’s both good and bad: O’Brien’s ISU record is 54-97, 33-47 in the Big Sky, but the past two years are the first in his tenure that the team hasn’t played at least .500 ball. The Bengals also welcome 7’4’’ 285-pound Kusmieruk, who left sunny Orlando after two seasons to move to snowy Pocatello, the biggest man in the conference. He’ll be challenged by Montana’s Derek Selvig (7-foot, 220 pounds) and maybe just a handful of others in the post, which should help continual growth and development. The Bengals’ growth hinges on the production of Morgan, Kusmieruk and a so-so four-man senior class.
Prediction: Eighth, 3-13 Big Sky record
Next: Montana Grizzlies
Back to Big Sky preview