Pre-season look at the bobcat men (part 1)


Part 1 of my look at the Bobcat men’s basketball team.

The Losses:

The Bobcats lost only one player, but it was a big one. Divaldo Mbunga was the team MVP last year, league rebounding and shot blocking champ, as well as the teams second leading scorer, but it will be his interior defense, physicalness and his leadership that will be hardest to replace. The Bobcat’s did everything by committee last year and I think they will do the same this year, but will need a player or two to rise and fill the leadership void that Mbunga left.

Returnees overview:

The Bobcats have a lot of talented players back from last year’s team. Bobby Howard, Will Bynum, Eric Rush, and Brandon Johnson, and even Marquis Navarre had extended stretches where they looked like they looked to be all conference type players. Problem was they also had stretches where they could not hit the broad side of the barn to save their lives. The Bobcats need these players to step up and play with some offensive consistency. They also need to find their range from the free throw line. If they can do that and defend the interior they could go far.

Reviewing 4 pre-season publications so far this past month I have seen them projected to finish 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th.

Montana St Montana BasketballGuards / Wings

Marquis Navaree 5-11 PG/SG – I am told that Marquis is one of the players who have had the best off season on the roster. He is no longer tenative offensively and he is now playing the point with confidence and is a leader on the court. Of the three returning front court starters he is the best perimeter shooter. While e is clearly the Cat’s best point, look for the Cats move him to the shooting guard spot at times this winter.

Will Bynum 6-3 SG – Will is one of the other players who has had a great off season. He has the potential to improve on his All-Conference honorable mention ranking of last year. He could lead the league in steals this year as well as being one of the better scorers. Look for the Cat’s at times to move him over to the point guard spot freeing up Navarre to shot and Bynum to post up smaller point guards.

Eric Rush 6-5 PG/SG/SF – Eric will do it all again this year. Play both wing spots as well as back up at the point. He is also one of the better rebounding guards in the league. I am told Eric also had a very good off season and is extremely physical and looks really strong in posting up other players. Eric is most likely the most talented player on this team he has the complete package, but some times he needs too unselfish. He could dominate the Big Sky if he chose to be a little more assertive. Look for the Cats to take advantage of his post up skills, and his much improved decision making when passing.

Austin Brown 6-4 SG/SF – Austin may have been having the best off season of any player, up until he broke his wrist in late summer. His wrist is healed now and the coaches are expecting big things from him this year. The coaches gave him goals to meet this past season and he met or exceeded all goals. He is playing with a lot of energy and aggressiveness and has really improved his ball skills. He is also the team’s best defender.

Danny Piepoli 6-6 SG/SF – Danny blew out his knee at the end of last season and has just recently gotten back on the court. While cleared to play, anyone who has blown out a knee can tell you it takes a while to get back to 100% on the court. He may have a rough Non-conference season, but he should good by the time conference comes around.

Bryan Louff 5-11 PG – When I talked to Brad Huse last April he was concerned about the depth at the point guard spot. To get a guard of Louff’s caliber to walk-on must have been the answer he was looking for. We are going to have to see if he can claim the back point guard role, but he is a solid point.

Larry Swan 6-1 SG/PG – When swan came to MSU from the JC ranks, there was hopes that he could play both guards spots for the Cats. In the end the coaches decided to redshirt Swan and give him more time to adjust to D-1 ball. In the JC’s he was known as shooter. He can score points quickly and in bunches but he I hear he can be a little streaky.

Marco Bourgault 6-5 SG/SF – Marco, is a great shooter, but I really do not see him contributing this year.

Colt Idol 6-2 SG – Colt is going to need a year or his body and game to mature. If he does not redshirt I will be very surprised.


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