Now that all of the players are on campus, I am going to get started previewing the four Montana State and Montana basketball programs players. This is a look at the Montana Grizzly men’s program players. Part 1 will cover the Back Court,- point guard (1), shooting guard (2) and the small forward (3) positions.
Back Court (guards and wings)
The Griz return only two back court players from last year’s team. To rebuild the back court they will have at their disposal an all conference honorable mention player, a back up returnee, three junior college players and two highly touted freshman recruits. I am confident that the Griz have the type of players to make them successful, but the real question is, which of these players will earn minutes in the regular guard rotation, and which are relegated to the bench or a redshirt.
Will Cherry 6-1 (PG, SG)
As an All Conference honorable mention player and returning starter, as a true freshman, Cherry is the only player whom seems to already have a starting position locked down. The only question will be will he start at PG or SG spot. The rest of the back court will be built around Cherry, and the players who emerge as the best fit with him, will determine which spot he plays. My guess that given a choice Tinkle would prefer to start him at the shooting guard, but if Stockton can not nail down a starting spot look for him to man the point guard spot, and one of the new players manning the shooting guard spot.
Shawn Stockton 6-1 (PG)
Stockton and Cherry are the only true point guards on the team. Stockton is a solid floor general who is tough quarterback on the floor. He knows Tinkles system and can run it to a tee, and I think this will give him a leg up on landing a starting spot. He is not as dynamic as some point guards but his stability might be exactly what the Griz need. If he falters though there are three experienced JC players and two very talented freshmen who could push him for the starting spot.
Art Steward 6-4 (SG, SF)
Steward in my opinion is the best of the three junior college recruits and is the only true small forward in the bunch. As such I think he will lock down the starting small forward spot. Steward is a very balanced player who can score the ball, rebound, and play solid defense. He is the perfect glue type player that can make the players around him better. While Steward is a little undersized for the 3 spot he makes up for it with his athleticism and hustle. He is also a decent three point shooter which is an area the Griz will need help this year.
Kareem Jamar 6-5 (SG, SF)
Steward could get a lot of competition at the three spot from Jamar. Don’t be surprised if Jamar’s Grizzly career path mirrors that of Cherry’s freshman season, and he locks down a starting role come conference season. Jamar is more of a small forward right now but I have heard that the coaches have been very happy this fall with his improved three point shooting and ball skills. The Griz coaches are very excited about their freshman recruiting prize and he is going to play major minutes this season.
Jordon Wood 6-3 (PG, PG)
Woods is a very versatile player who could play all three backcourt spots for the Griz. He is more of a true shooting guard but he was forced to play the point guard last season at Snow Junior College last year so he may be an option at the point this year. He is a good three point shooter, decent athlete and has the reputation as a tough smart player. He should give the Griz some quality depth.
Chase Adams 6-3 (SG, PG)
Adams is nice combo guard with good passing and scoring skills. He likes to over power players driving to the basket, and can also pull up to hit a mid range jumper. He is a very good defender and plays with a high level of intensity. I see him providing additional depth at the guard spot.
Vaughn Autry 6-2 (PG, SG)
Autry is a highly recruited guard out of California, but when Tinkle signed three junior college backcourt players to go along with two returnees and one highly regarded freshman AFTER signing Autry it tells me that Tinkle was not taking any chances that Autry will be ready to contribute this year. If Autry gets playing time this season he will have to earn his time. Autry is most likely the Griz starting point guard of the future, but he has about 4 players ahead of him right now. Autry may need to out play either Adams and/or Wood to avoid a redshirt.
Michael Weisner 6-7 (SF,PF)
Weisner future maybe at the small forward spot, and he may be the best three point shooter on the team. Given the depth in the back court this year if he plays at all it will most likely be at power forward spot.