Basketball season is here. The NBA regular season tipped off last week, and Idaho’s college teams finally get to face competition other than themselves. Boise State, which was voted second in the Mountain West preseason poll, will take on Northwest on Friday night in an exhibition. Here is a look at the rest of the state’s top teams as their seasons begin this month:
▪ Last season: 13-17 overall, 8-10 Big Sky
▪ Coach: Don Verlin, eighth season (110-113)
▪ Big Sky preseason poll: Eighth out of 12 (coaches), tied for seventh (media)
▪ Outlook: Idaho’s top three scorers have graduated or transferred, leaving sophomore forward Arkadiy Mkrtychyan (8.8 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game) the top returner. ... Junior guard Perrion Callandret (6.7 ppg) and sophomore guard Victor Sanders (3.8 ppg) were solid bench contributors who are due for more minutes. Both are solid outside shooters. ... Senior guard Chris Sarbaugh, a San Diego transfer, should contribute quickly. ... Vandals need a shooter to rise after losing Connor Hill (340 career 3-pointers).
IDAHO STATE BENGALS
▪ Last season: 7-23 overall, 4-14 Big Sky
▪ Coach: Bill Evans, fourth season (24-65)
▪ Big Sky preseason poll: 12th out of 12 in coaches and media polls
▪ Outlook: One starter is back for the Bengals, senior guard Ben Wilson (6.9 ppg). ... Junior transfer point guard Ethan Telfair is the younger brother of New York high school legend Sebastian Telfair. ... Returning players shot only 30 of the 148 3-pointers the Bengals made last season. ... ISU hasn’t had a winning season since 2005-06, when it went 15-14. ... Seven newcomers are on the roster, along with three who redshirted last season. ... Evans said this is his deepest, most athletic squad.
NORTHWEST NAZARENE CRUSADERS
▪ Last season: 14-16 overall, 11-7 Great Northwest Athletic Conference (NCAA Division II)
▪ Coach: Scott Flemming, first season
▪ GNAC preseason poll: Ninth out of 11
▪ Outlook: Flemming won 440 games at Division II Nyack (N.Y.) College and NAIA Mount Vernon (Ohio) Nazarene. ... One starter in Nampa returns in senior guard Mike Wright (7.8 ppg, 38 3s), while junior guard Bouna N’Diaye had 8.3 ppg as a key reserve last season. ... Junior forward Detwon Rogers is an intriguing talent who transferred from Dayton. ... NNU signed seven newcomers this offseason. ... The Crusaders need to reduce their turnover disadvantage (gave up 16.6 turnovers per game, created 12.7).
COLLEGE OF IDAHO COYOTES
▪ Last season: 30-6 overall, 14-4 Cascade Conference (NAIA Division II)
▪ Coach: Scott Garson, third season (58-12)
▪ CCC preseason poll: First out of 11 (7-of-11 first-place votes)
▪ Outlook: The Caldwell program is ranked No. 6 in the NAIA Division II preseason poll. ... The Yotes lost six of their seven top scorers, but return a solid two-way threat in junior forward and Boise State transfer Joey Nebeker (9.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg). ... Portland transfer Aitor Zubizarreta and junior transfers Jalyn Turner and Dominique Jordan should contribute early. ... Junior Emanuel Morgan (5-foot-6) will be leaned on to help replace first-team All-American Josh Wilson at point guard. ... No player taller than 6-7 will play this season after the Yotes graduated Joe Vaz (7-1) and Mark Kovacevic (6-11).
COLLEGE OF SOUTHERN IDAHO GOLDEN EAGLES
▪ Last season: 31-3 overall, 13-2 Scenic West Conference (junior college)
▪ NJCAA preseason poll: Ranked No. 1 in the nation
▪ Coach: Jared Phay, second season (31-3)
▪ Outlook: This season’s roster could be one of the Twin Falls school’s most talented, which is saying something. ... Top returning scorer Ar’Mond Davis (10.9 ppg) has committed to Alabama. ... San Jose State transfer guard Darryl Gaynor is a big addition after averaging 9.0 ppg last season as a freshman with the Spartans. ... Five players from last season’s squad signed with Division I schools. ... Sophomore guard Shaq Carr due for more minutes after averaging 7.9 ppg and dishing out 112 assists in 21.3 mpg. ... Lone returning starter, sophomore guard Pape Diatta (6-foot-7), had 7.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg.
- Boise State: at Montana, Nov. 13
- Idaho: at San Jose State, Nov. 14
- Idaho State: vs. Great Falls, Nov. 13
- Northwest Nazarene: vs. Bethesda, Nov. 13
- College of Idaho: Beat Victoria 88-59 on Friday in La Grande, Ore.
- College of Southern Idaho: The Golden Eagles are already 2-0