Monday, April 29, 2013

Keron DeShields and Will Cherry Arrested

I am pretty sure that what a coach wants most for the offseason is for his players to get through it without incident. Unfortunately, that won't be happening for Wayne Tinkle. Per The Missoulian:

Two University of Montana basketball players, Will Cherry and Keron DeShields, were arrested along with a third man early Saturday morning after a disturbance downtown, according to the University of Montana and Missoula police.

The incident was reported at 2:04 a.m. at 125 W. Front St., according to Sgt. Rick Stevenson. Police didn’t identify the business, but that’s the address for Stockman’s Bar.

Cherry, 22, faces misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, while DeShields, 20, is charged with disorderly conduct. A 34-year-old man, Jason Shawn Snyder, is charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, as well as disorderly conduct.
You all know Cherry, who has been an All Big Sky player for the last three years, and was the heart and soul of a Grizzlies team that had a ton of success over the past two years. He is a fringe NBA prospect, though you figure this certainly doesn't help his chances, unfortunately. From the interactions I've had with him and from everything I have heard, he is a good kid, but one bad incident can sometimes make a reputation. Hopefully it won't, in this case.

DeShields is coming off a promising year, and would be a big part of the Grizzlies rotation next season. It remains to be seen what his punishment will be seen, as Montana obviously will need to let things play out a bit:

“Will is still enrolled and is graduating in a couple of weeks. Keron is moving forward with us. The student-athlete conduct code is pretty clear-cut. We have to make sure we have all the facts before we make any decisions. Obviously, it’s a situation we would have preferred didn’t happen with our student-athletes.”

Montana athletic director Kent Haslam echoed Tinkle’s comments.

“I’m certain there will be punishments levied,” Haslam said.

“(The student-athlete code of conduct) has a variety of parameters. We have quite a bit of latitude in what we can do. It does set minimums based on the category of the offense. It runs everything from being put on probation, to a formal reprimand, to notifying the parents all the way up to suspension of games and then the top punishment is removal from the team.

“We’ll want to understand completely what happened and we’ll rely on a police report and other incident reports.”
Hopefully it's a one time, isolated incident. At the very least, it's a reminder to all athletes that they are a microscope, and one mistake, or one time of putting yourself in the wrong situation and doing something dumb can have a huge impact on your future.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Emmanuel Addo Goes to Missouri State

Former Northern Colorado forward Emmanuel Addo will be playing for Missouri State next season.

Best of luck to him, hopefully he can have a nice senior year in the Missouri Valley!

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Rankings Coming Next Week

I have been working on some preseason 2013-14 rankings, and hoped to have them out this week. Unfortunately, I didn't quite have a chance to finish it, and will be traveling this weekend. So be on the lookout early next week for some early 2013-14 rankings!

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New Recruits for Northern Colorado and Sacramento State

With the spring signing period in full bloom, three JUCO guys signed recently that I have not had a chance to write about. With this update, the recruiting tracker is as up to date as possible I think right now... so let me know if I am missing anyone!

- Corey Spence (Northern Colorado) - Spence is a PG out of Casper College, and perhaps a contributing factor to Paul Garnica's departure. The 5'10'' guard apparently also was recruited by Northern Arizona, among others. His former college coach b will be joining him at UNC, after having accepted a job last week. He scored 11 points per game last year, along with 6.3 assists and 2.1 steals. That would suggest he is a great distributor and solid defender - which are the two parts missing from current PG Tevin Svihovec's game. Signing Spence and freshman Jordan Wilson makes sense, since they seem to be trying to move Svihovec off the ball. Spence should be able to contribute immediately.

- Zach Mills (Sacramento State) - Mills is a 6'5'' forward in the mold of Joe Eberhard, and not just because they come from the same community college. He can do a little bit of everything, as last year he averaged 14.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, along with shooting 43% from downtown. Katz says he can play power forward, which is needed because they are losing a lot of size. He will play early and often, and his resume suggests he will immediately be a solid rotational player for the Hornets.

- Case Rada (Sacramento State) - Rada is a 6'3'' guard who appears to have three years of eligibility remaining. He redshirted a year at Boise State, and then spent one year as Walla Walla Community College. He averaged 24 PPG last year, and made 111 threes. He brings some extra versatility out of the backcourt for them:

“We probably have more familiarity with Case than any recruit we’ve ever signed,” Katz said. “We recruited him out of high school before he went to Boise State so we’ve known him and his family for three years.

“In high school, he was a point guard who could score and was an excellent handler and passer. At Walla Walla, he played for Jeff Reinland, who is one of the more prolific shooting coaches in the country. Case had a nice shooting stroke before Walla Walla, but Coach Reinland took him to the next level. As a result, he played a lot of shooting guard this past year and became an excellent three-point shooter.”

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Glen Dean Will Transfer to Idaho

This is not Big Sky related per se, but I am thinking it will be of interest to Big Sky fans.

Glen Dean, who started his career at Eastern Washington before transferring to Utah, will now transfer to Idaho for his senior season. Dean will be a senior but eligible to play immediately as a graduate transfer. He averaged 5.5 points per game last year for the Utes.

His connection to Idaho is obvious - former Eastern Washington head coach Kirk Earlywine is the director of player development for the Vandals, which I am sure was a huge influence for him. After transferring from EWU, Dean had to undergo brain surgery, so I think everyone is happy to see that he has made a successful recovery. Dean has the talent to be a nice player for the Vandals in his final collegiate season.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Brad Huse Officially Extended

From The Bozeman Daily Chronicle:

The Montana State head men’s basketball coach focused on his newest signee, Terrell Brown, while addressing two events that unfolded Wednesday — Brown being added to the 2013-14 roster and Huse signing his own deal with the school, a two-year extension subject to approval by the State Board of Regents, which next meets May 23.

Huse’s current deal was set to expire in July. Montana State Director of Athletics Peter Fields said the new deal is for the same amount — $113,824 — Huse was paid last season.

“I’m just excited to keep at it and move forward,” Huse said. “I feel good about our program and guys we have in it and what we’ve done and continue to try to do. I’m excited about the prospects of things moving forward.”
I'm not sure how happy it makes the fan base, but it does keep continuity with the program after a mostly solid year last season. With a lot of players returning, there is an opportunity for the Bobcats for a top four finish once again.

With Huse returning, chances are looking good that all Big Sky coaches could return next season.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

A Few More Transfers Out of the Big Sky

We looked at three transfers out of Northern Colorado, but let's take a look at a few more that are transferring out.

- Wade Collie (Southern Utah) - This one is probably not a big surprise, as there's no guarantee he would have ever suited up for the Thunderbirds again after his off-court issues during the season. Collie averaged seven points and four rebounds per game this year, though he wasn't the most efficient offensive player. SUU will be short on offensive firepower, so he could have had a big role on the team if he had been able to make it back.I am not sure about his status after his arrest earlier this year... anybody know more?

- Zach Ghormley (Southern Utah) - Ghormley played just 21 minutes as a freshman, scoring seven points and nabbing three rebounds on the year. To be honest, I don't know all that much about him. While it's never good to lose a guy you have just had in the program for the last year, I'm not sure he had a chance to make much of an impact in the program during his year. He seemed to be a versatile player coming out of high school.

- Jeff Budinich (Montana State) - Budinger was another guy that was involved in an off-court incident during his time, which resulted in a suspension for him and Tremayne Johnson being kicked off the team. While he had some range on his jumpshot, he didn't have a huge impact, playing just five minutes per game last season. He is a guy that should be replaceable for Brad Huse.

- Wayne Bradford (Weber State) - I am sure that Bradford is a talented kid, there was just no real opportunity for him at Weber State with the depth that they have, as well as the fact that he seems to have been recruited over with the guys they are bringing in. He played 55 minutes last year, but they were all in garbage time. Hopefully he will catch on somewhere, but there just was not really a place for him in a Weber State rotation, unfortunately. He averaged about ten points per game as a freshman in community college.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Paul Garnica and Emmanuel Addo Transferring From Northern Colorado


In Jeff Goodman's updated transfer list, there are some more high profile names transferring out of the Big Sky. Unfortunately for Northern Colorado, they are losing three players, including two that were major parts of their rotation last year.

Forward Emmanuel Addo, guard Paul Garnica, and forward Bryce Douvier will all be transferring. Per Goodman, Addo will be eligible to play immediately.

Addo's transfer is not all that surprising since he took a bit of a step back in his junior season. Here is how it looks by the numbers:

Sophomore year - 21.4 MPG, 9.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 54% twos, 56% threes
Junior year - 15.1 MPG, 4.9 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 47% twos, 36% threes

He looked for much of the year like he was playing a bit tentatively, and without full confidence. But, there has never been any denying his talent. He has a varied offensive skill set, with the ability to knock down threes or score in the post. If he finds the right situation, he can be a really good big man for a mid-major team. It looks like he will not be short for suitors.

He is a good kid, and I think he probably felt like if he hadn't reached his potential yet at Northern Colorado by now, it wasn't going to happen in his senior year. I hope he finds a lot of success at his next step. It hurts the Bears because he was their first big man off of the bench. With him gone, they have to hope and pray that either Brendan Keane takes a big step (not sure how likely) or that Cody McDavis makes a big leap between his first and second years.

Paul Garnica was a bit of an enigma. He has big-time talent, but I think the coaches seemed to be maddened by some inconsistency, and it showed in his minutes. He had a tendency to go for the flashy play rather than the solid play, and that happened on both ends of the court. Like Addo, he took a step back in minutes in his junior year, and probably saw that there was the chance his minutes could shrink more, with the addition of Jordan Wilson.

Garnica has a big high school resume, and is a very talented player, so I have to imagine he will catch on. He has deep range on his jump shot (two years ago he shot 48.5% from three, last year he was at 42.3%), and the ability to get out in transition. His loss means there will be no experienced alternative for Tevin Svihovec, and that is a bit scary for UNC fans.

Bryce Douvier was a rotational big man who I do not believe was on scholarship. He always gave them great effort, and could help out as needed. He played seven minutes per game last year, and made 20/31 shots, showing he didn't try to do too much. While it is not a huge loss on the court, it is a loss, especially with some depth issues in the frontcourt.

What does this do to Northern Colorado's chances next year? Thoughts?

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Terrell Brown Commits to Montana State

Montana State picked up a commitment last week from junior college wing man Terrell Brown. Brown is very familiar to MSU staff, as assistant head coach Shawn Dirden originally recruited him to the University of South Dakota. Brown redshirted his first year at USD, then transferred when Dirden left, spending a year at Otero Junior College. He will have three years of eligibility remaining.

According to Gidal Kaiser, Brown said he felt the love from the MSU staff:

“They’ve been following me the whole year, and I just felt comfortable when I went on my visit. I’ve never had a head coach of a program really have me as their guy, and Montana State pretty much showed me that love. They really need somebody at that position and they really want me, too. That’s pretty much what went into my decision.”
He had a productive first year, showing that he could score from the outside and impact a game in different ways:

Huse also lauded Brown for production at Otero, where he averaged 14.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists a game while earning First Team All-Region 9 honors while landing as runner-up for region player of the year. “He is a proven player, having earned first team honors in an outstanding region, and he comes from a highly successful program and played for an outstanding coach in Houston Reed. I also like that he has been in a Division I program and the time demands associated with being a player at this level won't require a significant adjustment.” Brown also shot 41.4% from the floor, 35.3% from the three-point circle and 84% from the free throw line.
He was also lauded by his junior college coach for his character, as he talked about his impact on his teammates, hard work, and work in school. He is a lefty that reportedly has a good pull-up game. The fact that he will have three years left is a big plus.

Like many of the junior college signings of the Bobcats over the past couple years, he appears to be a solid player, capable of making an impact on the court. The key will be off the court, where many of the JUCO players have had major issues adjusting. Judging from the quotes from the coaches (both at MSU and his JUCO coach), as well as his history with Dirden, Brown seems like a good bet to have a positive impact on the Bobcats program.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Montana Recruit Brandon Gfeller Gets an Award

One guy Montana will be bringing in next season is guard Brandon Gfeller, who was an early commitment for them. It's safe to say that they are still happy with that after Gfeller's senior year, where he was named the Washington Class 2B Player of the Year.

Congrats to him, and looking forward to watching him in the Big Sky!

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Great Article on UND Recruit Quinton Hooker

North Dakota was very excited when Minnesota guard Quinton Hooker committed to the school last year. As a recent article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune shows, UND will be getting a great player on the court, and a loyal person off the court.

“I could go on for the next 45 minutes about Quinton,’’ said Larry Lawler, Park Center’s athletic director. “He’s a great athlete and an honor roll student. But the best thing about Quinton is that he takes an interest in everyone.’’


Quinton’s talent was obvious by the sixth grade. There was a thought one of the high-profile hoops programs — be it public or private — would draw Hooker by the time he reached ninth grade.

“No names, but I’m sure there were other schools that would’ve loved to have him,’’ Lawler said. “Quinton’s decision to stay at Park Center, to keep playing with kids he grew up with, meant everything to this school and community.’’


Hooker has not dealt with such big-time adoration. He signed with North Dakota last fall.

“I visited the campus, loved it, and the coaches and everyone else made it clear how much they wanted me,’’ he said.

Quinton then repeated the advice offered by John Turner, a former Vikings defensive back and now an administrative assistant at Park Center: “J.T. told me, ‘Love those who love you.’ That’s another reason I’ll be at North Dakota.
North Dakota will have a crowded and experienced backcourt next season, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see Hooker grab some minutes. Either way, he is a huge part of North Dakota's future.

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Clark Wilkinson Signs With Idaho State

In my post of recent commits, I missed one. Clark Wilkinson will be headed to Idaho State. He will serve a two-year Mormon mission, and then come to Pocatello. From the Idaho State Journal:

Wilkinson shot 59 percent from the field and averaged 15 points per game for the Rams this past season as he helped Highland to a third-place finish at state.

The 6-foot-7 senior forward will serve a two-year mission before coming back to Pocatello to play for the Bengals.
A lot can happen in two years, but his high school numbers suggest he could be a solid player if or when he makes it to play for Idaho State. The report that they offered him originally came from September of 2011 under the old coaching regime.

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Weber State's Banner Year

Roy Burton for The Standard wrote a nice article on the banner year for Weber State... not just 30 wins, but great attendance as well.

Average attendance is up dramatically, from 3,577 per game in 2007-08, the last time the Wildcats didn’t lead the Big Sky in attendance, to 6,601 this year.

“It’s an exciting brand of basketball to watch, and we’ve gotten more athletic over the years, so I think that’s all at the forefront,” WSU athletics director Jerry Bovee said of the increased attendance.

“I also think we’ve worked hard as a staff from a marketing standpoint to create more of an environment of entertainment. ... But through it all, that’s not enough to sustain the growth, I don’t believe — it comes down to consistency of play. Those other things just add to it.”
It has been a great run for the Wildcats (other than the lack of NCAA Tournament appearances), and they don't really show signs of slowing down. I haven't heard much in the way of rumors of Randy Rahe for other jobs, which would be good for Weber State. They should be the most talented team in the Big Sky next season.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Some Recent Commits

With everything going on in March (there was some big tournament), it looks like I missed a few commitments to Big Sky teams! Here is a look at some of the recent players that will be coming to a Big Sky arena near you in the coming years.

- Ajak Magot (Idaho State) - Magot is a 6'11'' center from Cochise College, and it looks like he will have two years of eligibility to go. He averaged 6.1 PPG and 4.9 RPG last year, and reportedly had a lot of DI offers on the table. One scouting report I found online had this to say -

Ajak Magot, 6-8 PF Tucson (Ariz.) Cholla. A long and slender post with very quick feet, Magot has a chance to be a terrific defender. He gets a lot of deflections and blocks, due to his long arms and surprising quickness. He's not much of an offensive threat at this time, but his tools are good enough that you take him regardless at the mid major level. And he might be worth a look higher.
I also found this old tweet from the Rocky Mountain Hoop Review from when he gave his verbal:

Bill Evans is a defensive coach first, and Magot has the chance to be a really good player along the back line for the Bengals. For a team that had a huge lack of depth up front, Magot is a nice signing for them.

- Jacob Drage (Northern Colorado) - Like Sage Burmeister at Idaho State, Drage committed to play both football and basketball, which gives you some insight into his athletic ability. He is a 6'7'', 200 pound prospect who also plays TE/DE in football. I wasn't really able to find out a ton more about his basketball stats for style of play, but he could be one to watch for the future with UNC with his athletic talent.

- Casey Oliverson (Southern Utah) -He apparently originally committed to play for Utah State, but spent last year at Salt Lake Community College (where he says his goal was to get a scholarship offer from the Aggies - and it looks like he may have committed to Dixie State at some point there there as well). It looks like he originally was going to go to USU, before he got his scholarship offer pulled, at least from the article I have read. But that is neither here nor there, as he is now a member of the Thunderbirds, according to his Rivals profile.

Oliverson looks to be a physical power forward with a high basketball IQ. He averaged eight points and five rebounds per game last year at SLCC, shooting 64% from the field in 19.4 minutes per game. It looks like he will have three years of eligibility remaining and should be a solid player down low for Nick Robinson - assuming he sticks around.

- Tate De Laveaga (Northern Arizona, Class of 2014) -Jack Murphy and the Jacks are already getting work done for the class of 2014, as they got a verbal commitment from 6'3'' combo guard Tate De Laveaga. He is a good shooter, and recently put on 15 pounds of muscle, according to the linked article. He is a smart player, but probably projects to be more of a two guard than a lead guard. He also had a offer from Hawaii, and interest from Big Sky schools Montana and Idaho State (among others). Here is a scouting report from Arizona Hoop Review:

De Laveaga is a tough, combo-guard prospect that is a winner and has always played at a high level amidst his age group and even older. Tate is capable of playing both guard positions on the floor, but is at this best from the shooting guard position where he is able to score the basketball at a high rate. Tate is also a deadly shooter with nice range on his shot, and is able to create his own shot off the dribble against defensive pressure. He has a quick release on his shot. A tenacious penetrator, Tate drives the basketball hard to the basket and is an excellent finisher for his size. Has a nice mid-range game, which sets up his drives to the basket and scoring opportunities for his teammates. An aggressive defender that forces turnovers. A good passer that sees the floor. More focus on making players around him better will allow for him to continue to develop as a point guard. A very good ball handler that can get to anywhere he wants on the floor. A very good looking combo-guard prospect for the mid-major division-I level currently, but could develop into a higher prospect.

Any other recruits I have missed?

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

A few transferring out of the Big Sky, including Jackson Carbajal

Jeff Goodman annually creates a list of all of the transfers, and in this year's first edition there are some Big Sky names on the list (including at least one name that surprised me). Here are the list of guys transferring out of the Big Sky:

- Jackson Carbajal (Sacramento State)
- Ivan Dorsey (Eastern Washington)
- Nick Mason (Idaho State)
- Blake Hamilton (Northern Arizona)

A quick paragraph on them, ranked by the significance of their transfers:

1. Jackson Carbajal (Sacramento State)
This one surprised me, but it makes sense. In Carbajal's sophomore year, he averaged 11.1 PPG, snagged three reboundes, and shot 36% from downtown. He looked like he had the chance to be a really good scorer on a balanced Sac State team. Instead, newcomer Mikh McKinney came in, and got the start, a spot he will likely hold down for the next two seasons. Carbajal lost his starting job, and only played 11 minutes per game last season. With Nick Hornby coming in, and guys like Cody Demps returning off the bench, minutes would have been scarce for Carbajal. Thus, he will play his senior year elsewhere.

2. Blake Hamilton (Northern Arizona)
Hamilton looked like he had a ton of potential, putting up 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocks in high school. However, his impact as a freshman was minimal, as he averaged 3.8 PPG in 18 games (playing less than ten minutes per game in those contests). He did show some of the potential as a rebounder, posting a solid 14.9 DR% in his limited time. NAU has a big recruiting class coming in, so I am not sure they will miss Hamilton a ton, but he is a player that could have had an impact for them.

3. Ivan Dorsey (Eastern Washington)
When Dorsey signed with Eastern Washington last year, he seemed like a perfect fit. He was junior college teammates with Collin Chiverton, and he shot 46% from deep, which is huge in Jim Hayford's offense. However, things just never really materialized on the court. He played just 125 minutes all year, and shot 24%, including 3/15 from three-point range. With the graduation of guys like Chiverton, Jeff Forbes, and Kevin Winford, Dorsey may have had a chance to be a rotational guard in his senior year, but he will move on.

4. Nick Mason (Idaho State)
As a junior last year, Mason played 9.4 minutes per game, but struggled to make an impact. He was 7/33 on threes, and 6/14 inside the arc. He was a three-point specialist who didn't hit many threes. He struggled to bring a lot on the boards or defensively. A transfer is probably best for all parties, and could allow him to play his senior year somewhere he will get more time and make more of an impact.

Thoughts on the transfers?
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Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Offseason

The offseason is upon us.

Posting has been slow... because I was worn out from the year. But soon here, I will get back on track to posting some thoughts. I have some ideas for what to write about in the offseason... but anything you guys want to read about? I would love any suggestions!

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Weber State Loses CIT Title Game on Buzzer Beater

Weber State got a home game for the CIT Finals, but it wasn't enough for them to bring home the championship. In a wild game, East Carolina got a buzzer beating three pointer from Akeem Richmond to snatch the 77-74 victory.

Weber State trailed by seven at halftime, but they had a lot of chances down the stretch. The Wildcats had a 71-65 with 2:30 left to play, but struggled to put the game away at the line. They finished just 9/19 from the charity stripe, including six free throws in the final three minutes. Davion Berry (76% FT shooter) was 4/6, Kyle Tresnak (72%) was 2/7, and even Scott Bamforth (87%) missed a free throw down the stretch.

Weber State finishes the season 30-7, the most wins in school history. It was a great season for them, and they have a lot to be proud about. They had a nice postseason run, and that should pay dividends for a lot of their young guys.

Seniors Frank Otis and Bamforth ended their careers with outstanding games. Otis was 8/12 for 16 points and 8 rebounds, while Bamforth had 19 points, including four more three-pointers. They had great senior years, and they will be missed next year.

With the end of this game, it means that the offseason is officially upon us for all Big Sky teams.

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Two Named to Mid-Major All-America Team

I missed this when it came out about a week ago, but two Big Sky players have been named to the Lou Henson All-America team, which is one squad of the 25 best mid-major players.

Will Cherry for Montana and Troy Huff of North Dakota made the team. It was the second straight year that Cherry got the honor.

Cherry averaged 13.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game. He was also the Big Sky defensive player of the year, and one of the best perimeter defenders in the country.

In his first year in the league, Troy Huff put up 19.2 points per game along with 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 steals. He will enter the 2013-14 season as one of the favorites for Big Sky POY.

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