Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How Will Idaho St Replace Broderick Gilchrist and Deividas Busma?

We are talking about replacing stars this week, and the next team to look at is Idaho State. They had one of the worst teams in the Big Sky last season, finishing 9-20 on the year with a 4-12 conference record. They accomplished this by being one of the worst defensive teams in the country (Opponents had an ORtg of 111.7 against, 311th worst in the nation), and being not that much better offensively (44.6 EFG%, 318th in the country).

To add insult to ineffectiveness, they will be losing arguably their two players in Broderick Gilchrist and Deividas Busma, both Big Sky Honorable Mention selections a season ago. So how will they replace them and fill their event space?

Gilchrist was their leader last year, playing a team high 35. minutes per game, though he had a bit of a disappointing senior year after a stellar junior campaign. He was not a very efficient player, shooting 45.6% on 2s and 32.9% from 3s. He dominated the ball but had more turnovers than assists. But he will be important to replace simply because he played so much.

The onus on replacing him, it seems, will fall on two different guys. One is Kenny McGowen. McGowen had the second highest shot rate on the team, so he will be able to take over that role for Gilchrest! He also needs to improve efficiency in all facets offensively... he had very similar ARate and TORate to Gilchrest, and his shooting percentages were slightly lower. He shot more 3s than 2s, so it will be interesting to see if he can get into the paint more next year.

The other guy is newcomer Melvin Morgan, a JUCO Transfer from Mississippi. Morgan averaed 15.9 PPG while dishing out 3.4 APG, and looks to have a great chance to start from Day 1. Says coach Joe O'Brien:

“Melvin gives us our best true point guard we've recruited since we've been here,” O'Brien said. “He is a guy we have been watching since high school and someone who looks to pass first and score second. His stock really went up this year.”
Look for Morgan to take over primary ball-handling responsibilities, and the fate of the Bengals may rest in his hands.


Busma was a 7-footer, so it will be a little more difficult to find someone to replicate that. He led the team in rebounding per game, and was one of the better shot blockers in the conference (with 56 on the season).

Abner Moreira will be counted on to pick up a lot of the rebounding slack, and he seems to be up to the ask. At 6'9'', he had the best rebounding rate on the team last season. He was also solid at getting to the FT line, and was an 80% shooter once he got there. He will be heavily relied on down low in his senior season.

After that, there is uncertainty. Brandon Glanz redshirted last year and should be in the mix, but at 6'6'' is a bit of a tweener. Jakub Kusmeriak sat out last year after transferring from Central Florida, and at 7'4'' figures to get some good run. In his last year at UCF, he averaged 1.8 PPG and 1.3 RPG in 6 MPG. He will likely be in line for some solid minutes. Incoming players Dejan Kotsur and Garrett Swanson could have a role, but I am not sure how that will play out.

The good news for Idaho State is that things can't get much worse than last season. The bad news is that I'm not sure they're going to get a whole lot better.

Would love to hear any Idaho State fans chime in on how they see these guys getting replaced.


  1. I think most ISU fans have given up on the O'Brien experiment. This is the last year of his contract, and if it wasn't for the fact that ISU is paying off the previous football coach, then I believe O'Brien would have been gone at the end of last season.

    O'Brien has killed a lot of interest in the program, but you can still get a feel of what fans think (or don't) based on the comments from the message board or from the local newspaper blog.


  2. No doubt, O'Brien is a dead coach walking if there ever was one.

    Thanks for the links! Yeah I have been on the message board a bit, and just discovered that site (but haven't had too much time to check it out), looks pretty solid!

    Thanks for the comment... It will be interesting to see if the ISU players will be fighting to save the coach's job, or if it will affect their attitude the opposite way, that they figure their coach is gone so they'll stop listening to him... it will be an interesting season.

  3. The problem is, even if the players do fight to keep O'Brien's job, they just don't have the talent to do it consistently. Most of the players he has recruited weren't even counted on to score at their previous schools, so it's no wonder they can't score consistently here. Chase Grabau's younger brother, Riley, was being recruited by ISU, but he chose Wyoming instead. That was pretty telling to me that he didn't see long term stability here and gave up the opportunity to play alongside his brother, even if for just one year.

    Back to the original post. I think Morgan coming in for Gilchrest is a wash. Nothing lost, but nothing really gained either. Kusmeriak will at least plug up the middle on defense, but from what I've heard, he just doesn't have the body to play more than 20-25 minutes a game. The redshirt year probably helped him, but I'd be surprised if he averages 10 ppg. Kameron Pearce is coming in from a Colorado JC, will be a sophomore, and if he can adjust to the NCAA level rather quickly, then he might provide a steady scoring threat as the 2 guard. What's even more sad is that O'Brien and his staff are still recruiting this summer for THIS season. You can only imagine what talent is left at this point (academic risks or otherwise).

    Enjoy this blog and have already added it to my list of favorites! Thanks.

  4. Thanks again for the comment, great info and insight on the Idaho St. program. It is true they don't have the talent to finish in the upper half of the Big Sky, but one place the effort should show up is on the defensive end. They were wretched defensively last year, and while some of that falls on talent, some of it (usually) falls on effort too. In this was some of the roster turnover could be a good thing, to get some new faces in there.

    Agreed about Morgan/Gilchrest... I think if anything it will be a little step down, though Morgan is a little more of a pure PG. Kusmeriak will be interesting... not a lot of 7'4'' guys with even an ounce of talent in the NCAA (let along the Big Sky), so if he has refined ANY post moves and gained any strengths, he could have a solid year. 10 PPG would probably be his ceiling though, from reading reports. Watched some highlight videos of Pearce, looks like he has decent athleticism and shot 39% from deep last year. Might be a little bit much for him to be a consistent scoring threat, but that would certainly be a boost for them.

    I read that on the boards about O'Brien still recruiting guys for this year... almost shocking to believe. Thanks for the kind words, greatly appreciated! :)

  5. Morgan/Gilchrest is no comparison and definitely not a "WASH". Both youngmen are from Memphis and I've had the privileged of watching both play ball over the years. With that said, each youngman style of play is quite different. Morgan is a true point guard who can run a team and score the ball. Gilchrest on the otherhand is merely a scoring guard in a point guard's body. Morgan thinks team first and Gilchrest was only good at building his own stats. Absolutely no comparison there!! Last time I check, this game was a team sport and it takes more than two players to win a game. Bengals fans are in for a treat.

  6. I have read only positives about Morgan, so it will be fun to see how he does and if he can improve his teammates (who do not look like an extremely talented bunch)... if Idaho St can get up to be a middle of the pack team, it would be fair to say that Morgan is getting underhyped for sure.

  7. isu is ready for a change in coaching at this point. isu just couldnt afford to pay 4 coaches at once (2 football head coaches, 2 bball head coaches).

  8. Morgan is going to be fun to watch as well as McGowen and Baldwin. At 7'4 Kusmieruk, the tallest guy in D1 basketball should dominate the Big Sky down low. Grabau is an outstanding, crafty player that will shine this year. Swanson led the Greater Spokane League in scoring with 21 per game. With the 9 returners and some good additions, I think Coach O'Brien put together a winner this time!

  9. Anonymous said...

    You people that are putting down ISU, yal can go $$$$ ##. Yal dont have a clue what these young man are going throught. This guys are working there @@@ off to turn this program around. They are communicating, hanging out with each other, talking to each other about things that happen on the court what they can do better and all the things to make them a good team. So until yal put on a jersey and be on the court shut the hell up. Im sick of seeing people talk down on this team when they cant even do half the stuff they do. Yes they are D-1 players and they are suppose to just be a pro which people are trying to make these college kids but most of them dont even have a chance. How many pro players have had a year like they had last year and come in and work even harder as these kids have? Well these kids arent even getting paid anothing what so ever. So shut it up or you will have alot of me. ISU Men, keep it going guys you are working hard and you guys will make it happen this year. Kenny McGowen is and will be your leader he is a different kind of kid because he is nothing but old school. Going hard , hitting you hard, Playing hard, getting into fights because he just want to make you tougher going all out leaving it all on the court and bleeding it out. This kid has done nothing but play hurt and keep going even from his football days where he was just great at corner. So you guys stop wondering if he can lead the guy has done nothing but win win win so you better follow his lead because he knows how to. ISU get ready for a strong year from your basketball team. Melvin will bring that PG role along with kenny. You will also see both of these kids and if they are on the court together OMG lighting and flash. Chase will bring that all out player and going hard all the time, Abner, brandon, kuba, and dejan will bring the big man down low game. Going hard playing tough and being hard nose blue collar bigs, then you will get your great guard play from Andre, nick, sheorrd, vishal, and Garrett. This team will come to play and will put this team in shape to win games and they will finish. They have the guys that will go all out on D like he did his last year at McKinney North, and at San Jose before his hand was broken and just as he did at COS. Kenny McGowen, Chase Grabu, and Abner Morena will get the job down and have this team right on there back doing it the old school way. So O'Brian get ready your going to be fine and its going to be a great and wonderful year for you man.

    Go Bengals