Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Montana State Outlook

It's time to get ready for the Big Sky season again with some overviews of each team this month, and then eventually we'll get into more detailed looks at everything.

What They Lost: The change starts at the top, as head coach Brad Huse is out, and Brian Fish is in. MSU fans had been frustrated at times with Huse, who seemed to have the players to push the pace and force tempo, but they never seemed to put that into practice. I expect that to change under Fish.

The biggest losses will be upfront, where Paul Egwuonwu and Flavien Davis. Egwuonwu was one of the best defensive rebounders in the nation, which was one of the big strengths of MSU. He was solid offensively as well, and will be a big loss. Davis was a skilled player who was a bit inconsistent at times, but was a big part of the offense. A third loss is guard Antonio Biglow. He perhaps never lived up to the big hype, but he was a good passer and pesky defender.

Who Returns: They return some experience and talent in the backcourt. Marcus Colbert will be in his third year of starting, and he's an efficent lead guard that was a lot better in the paint last year, as well as bumping his assist rate. He is a good outside shooter as well, and if he can cut down on some turnovers he can be one of the best point guards in the Big Sky.

Terrell Brown was good for them as a wing last year, and should be even better as a junior. He can shoot a bit, but is mostly an efficient offensive player who doesn't turn the ball over. His free throw shooting suggests he may be able to improve on his 28% from downtown. Michael Dison will be a senior, and can provide offense in spurts for them. Stephan Holm is a guy to watch, as he contributed more as a freshman than I thought he would. He can be an excellent shooter for them, as he made 39% from three last year and should get more playing time.

Eric Norman and Danny Robison return in the frontcourt. Neither was a significant contributor last year, but they were not bad when they did see the court. Production from guys like them will be the key for the Bobcats.

Newcomers: Fish has reportedly been impressed with new guard Joey Frenchwood, who is 6'1'' and hails from Oakland. He averaged 17 points and six assists last year, and should help to make PG a strength for the Bobcats. At 6'4'', Zach Green should provide Fish with an athletic wing after signing this spring. He averaged 17 PPG as a junior, and broke his leg his senior year. Quinn Price should provide some talent up front, averaging 15 and 10 last year. Bradley Fisher is a big man from England who committed to the previous regime, but stayed with his commitment to MSU. He may be a bit raw and not quite ready physically, but could be very good in time. Last, Ryan Shannon redshirted last year, but he is a forward with a ton of skills and versatility. He has the ability to hit from outside, rebounds well, and can block shots. I would expect to see him get some time.

General Outlook: The Bobcats will have a young team in Brian Fish's first season, with three seniors on the roster, though none of them perhaps as centerpieces. This means there will likely be many growing pains, but also the chance to evaluate guys and get them valuable experience. It will at times be a frustrating year for MSU, but I think there will be some seeds for the future planted that will pay dividends later on.

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